Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Funny Thing About Regret

This week has proved to be rather interesting to say the least. While I often speak of the necessity of pushing the boundaries of your comfort and taking that leap, I was forced to put my money where my mouth was.

It started with a little thing known as the 'Ice Bucket Challenge'- you've probably heard of it, it's this little known fundraising trend where you pour freezing cold water over your head (whilst being filmed, of course) and donate to charity. So anyway, it turns out that this challenge which had been circulated around me had finally arrived. I'd been nominated.

Naturally, I wasn't thrilled with the idea. The idea of having to be half drowned for the pleasure of social media didn't exactly give me a warm tingly feeling and, I confess, my initial reaction was nothing short of no.

No, there was no way I was going to do it. Nope, not happening. I was coming up with all of these different excuses that I could use to get out of it- everything to not having the time to being unable to film it (complete lies of course).

The decision was resolute in my mind right up until the time when it came to go to sleep. The only thing was that... I couldn't. My mind was churning over this challenge and all of the people who'd already done it- of all of the money that had been raised by these people who had willingly (or maybe not so willingly) taken part. I felt guilty. No, more than that- I felt awful. I was wussing out of the challenge because I was scared how it would make me look.

Why? Because it was out of my comfort zone.

Ah. Well, damn.

The funny thing about giving advice means that you have to take it yourself or be faced with the label of 'hypocrite'. So, keeping that hard realisation in mind, I did it. I did the Ice Bucket Challenge. It was bloody freezing, admittedly, and having to waddle around after with soggy trousers sticking to my legs was highly unpleasant but I was filled with a great sense of achievement . That night, after sharing the video on my Facebook and settling down for sleep, I knew that I'd done the right thing and that I would have totally regretted it if I hadn't gone through with it.

The second thing that happened this week was to do with driving. Earlier this year, around April if I remember correctly, I started lessons and recently my Dad has been taking me out in my Mum's (good old reliable) Fiat Punto. It is freaking terrifying.

Now, let me add here that this has nothing to do with my Dad. He is more than capable of going out with me and making sure that I'm not a danger to other road users- nor pedestrians- but I just lack the faith in myself yet. So, when the inevitable time came for me to have another lesson with him, I felt pretty sick.

I'd been putting if off more and more, the very thought of me, me, being responsible for this moving vehicle without another set of handy peddles to take over if necessary made my stomach churn and my legs turn to jelly.

In case you hadn't gathered, I really really didn't want this lesson.

My parents could see how anxious I was to the point they gave me the option to leave it. I wanted to (oh, how I wanted to) but I refused to let myself shrink away from the opportunity and stop myself from being able to drive in the future. So, I did it. I went on that lesson and, you know what, I'm glad I did. I fairly enjoyed it...

...Right up until the point it came to driving home. My Dad was encouraging me to do it- he had complete faith I could but I didn't. I was too worried that I would mess up or cause an accident that he had to step in and take us home, driving the way I would have gone to show me what I would have been doing.

I'm not going to lie to you, I knew as we made that journey that I could have done it. I was kicking myself. What's worse is that I knew how amazing I would have felt completing that journey back- I knew how much my confidence would have grown and how elated I would have felt.

The point is this: The funny thing about regret is that once the situation has passed, there is nothing we can do about it yet, once the situation presents itself we can take that chance, give that challenge a go, and hopefully save ourselves that regret.

It sounds like an old cliché yet it's something in my previous experiences I can attest to: you tend to regret the things that you didn't do more than the things that you did.

No one can predict regret- no one can predict how the future will unfurl or how things will go, how many regrets you have will ultimately fall to you and your actions. No one wants to be that person who spends their time wondering what could have been, so next time you're faced with a situation think of this:

What do you think you will regret more? Giving it a shot with the chance that it might go wrong or not trying at all?

Think about it.

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