|I realize this sounds like a joke, but I am serious.|
Because we all make mistakes. We are human. To my mind, if you have no regrets, it means that you have never looked back at your choices and honestly said, I wish I had done differently. Or you've never had the strength to gain that insight.
I don't mean this in a guilt-inducing or shaming way. I write this, rather, to encourage you to live an "examined" life.
For example, I regret that I allowed the rift between my mother and me to drag on as long as it did.
But I don't regret insisting that I needed that distance. I had been deeply hurt and needed to heal before I could consider restoring any kind of relationship. There were times during that 20-year period when I, or my children, were just barely holding our own heads above water.
There were things I needed to learn and discover before I could be ready to meet my mother where she was. To meet her with love, not judgment or anger or any other caustic emotion.
I say this not as an excuse, but as explanation. I don't feel I need any excuse or forgiveness, but I do beg your understanding.
I repeat: I do regret that I let the estrangement last as long as it did. If I'd been paying attention, I was ready to rejoin her much sooner. Not a lot, maybe a year or two, but I wish I had not waited for this crisis, for her sake, for mine, and for my siblings' and children's sake.
I have other regrets with different, arguably lesser, consequences: selling the house I loved when we moved to Colorado; spending more than I earned when I was at the peak of my earning; not taking my diabetes seriously when I was first diagnosed. I regret throwing a hard-boiled egg at my daughter, in anger. (I am my mother's daughter.)
If we don't look back and examine our choices -- and the consequences of those choices -- then how can we ever learn? How can we do differently when similar choices come along?
I don't know that I agree with Socrates (as quoted by Plato) that "the unexamined life is not worth living," but I do believe that the honestly examined life is well worth living.