Last evening upon completion of an exceedingly appetising meal at the end of an equally remarkable day, and after unbuttoning the waistcoat and pushing back from table, I smugly proclaimed I haven’t any regrets. It wasn’t a somatic response to a perfect meal and a brilliant day. It was a summary of all that has commissioned itself to the mechanics and perpetuation of my existence. It is the abbreviation of what has transpired from my youth to old age.
The reflection continued. In the event of misconstruction or other force of contradiction, I sought to strengthen the admission poetically by adding that to pronounce otherwise would amount in my opinion to breaking a link of the chain. The thrust of the metaphor – which I have no doubt you’ll recognize instinctively – is the nexus of all that is within the fleeting history of our lives. Nor might I further add is that nexus one which warrants any degree of dismissal whatsoever. The fibres of our lives are as delicate as a spider’s web – and just as critical to the entirety!
No doubt there are those among you who would not yet hesitate for any number of reasons to challenge the authenticity of my prosaic assertion; or, at the very least, suggest that it is irresponsible or somehow unrealistic to pretend that one hasn’t any regrets. Respectfully it is I who must disagree with you.
Were I at this moment perhaps under the influence of a fine wine, an elevating Cognac or the waft of a nefarious combustible, I might be inclined to agree or maybe to suspend my proclamation until the elapse of a reasonable period to allow for digestion of the otherwise spontaneous eruption (pardon the dreadful figure of speech). But I am under no predatory influence. My mind is clear. My spirit is distilled and pure. For me to presume to qualify my life by any modulation whatsoever would by contrast amount to unparalleled ingratitude. At every turn of my life – whether as a young man, as an adult or an old fogey – there has been nothing but bliss and unmerited fortune. Oh, yes, I have endured what some may think of as a fall from the pinnacle of fortuity, but they credit not the zeal of my spring back to the erstwhile heights! Nor, I hasten to add, do I for one moment say this facetiously or from mistaken view of enchantment. The truth is, I have no need for regret. Like the man with one leg or one eye I have learned to accommodate. Not because I felt that I must; life enabled me to accommodate my failings, my injury, my loss, my inconsequence. Mine is the (perhaps dubious) ability to rise above, not to placate or pretend. And if this were a talent of its own, I shant disagree. I am not about to translate the gifts which I may have been given. No, my sole direction is to address the matter of regrets. And, to speak bluntly on the matter, I haven’t any!
One final point. Complacency. While the meanng of the word is contaminated by things like gloating and self-approbation, it is however spared complete reproach by being as well not so much an expression of triumph as a statement of self-content. I hope you’ll agree that in this complicated world enhanced as it is by burgeoning curmudgeonly behaviour, it is indeed no small compliment to say that one is self-content. I view it not as the victor’s hoot but as the soldier’s howl. It isn’t a matter of winning or losing. What profit is there in any other conclusion? Do we imagine there is some hidden achievement to complaint? Or by what peculiar innuendo do we suppose that prolongation of anything other than satisfaction is the path to improvement, change or any other form of alteration? I can safely say without fear of contradiction that anything other than the most cursory examination of regret is tarsome to the Nth degree! Who among us has a preference for regret? And if so, for what purpose again I ask? Regret is a dead end street. Nor is it otherwise anything as exoteric as a pyschological victory. The victory is not submission to regret; rather omission of regret. Generally speaking it is pretty much assured that either way you’ll end up in the same place – but with one important distinction; namely, you’ll be on the opposite side of the river. So take your pick. For my money, I am as I say quite content to be on this side of the river! With no regrets.