Recently I have been thinking quite a bit about the risks I’ve taken in my life and the regrets I have because of those risks or because of those risks not taken. Do you have regrets? Have you taken risks?
Yes, I will admit, most of my contemplation about this particular subject has spawned recently from horse related woes, but it encompasses so much more. So very much more. I am not a rich person, nor will I ever be. Nor is my husband, nor will he ever be. Yet, we spend money excessively and carry with us an obscene figure of credit card debt, which I will admit is well over $50,000. I regret this. Mostly I regret that we have absolutely nothing to show for it, either. There’s a ton of back history regarding that debt, but I’ll leave it at that. Some it involved risk, most of it involved regret.
10 years ago, I was riding regularly and I was good. I was also brave (on the right horse). Some horses I couldn’t ride very well, but the vast majority of ones I was riding, I was good with. I was seriously eyeing upper-level compeition (money winning competitions, too) and contemplating getting a high-level horse. Maybe that’s where this all went wrong – I CONTEMPLATED moving up. I thought about it, considered the risks and decided not to do it. Maybe I should have just jumped in neck deep when I had the chance. That was it, my moment of glory- my shot at doing something with my life that was good and meant something. I passed it up.
My dad never really supported my horse endeavours, and my crazy psycho mom never supported anything at all about me. My Dad did by me a “half-way horse”. A big, black thoroughbred jumper that I schooled at 3’6″ pretty consistently and did a few 4′ fences with. He was not upper level material, but he was a good intermediary horse, at least I thought. Every show my dad went to (which was only 3 or 4 in the course of 5 years), my dad would ask me if I win any money. I mentioned to him last year that my husband was showing his pony and winning constantly and doing better than I ever did, and had a much nicer horse to do it. My dad’s only response – Does he win any money?
In my dad’s mind, nothing is worth doing at all if it doesn’t involve earning money. To him, I am a black hole that costs hundreds each month, and have never found my way to my feet or even a shadow of financial freedom. I regret that.
Everything you do, really is a risk- from stepping in to the shower to driving your car, to spending money on “needless” items – getting married. Everything. It’s all a risk. How many risks have you taken in your life that you regret?? How many risks did you miss out on and regret? I have hundreds.
But then I think – would I really be better off? Really? If I could go back – way way way back to my very first risk/ regret, would my whole life path change completely? Would I like where I would have ended up? Would I hate it?
When I was younger, I thought I KNEW EVERYTHING. I know, most teenagers do, right? No, I was like 8 and though I knew everything. I hated the world and had a chip on my shoulder, because by the time I was that age, I knew a lot of abuse & solidarity. That kind of things takes a toll on a person. I was bitter, nasty, and unfriendly to absolutely everyone. I still am, but I’ve changed with time. I don’t get so rocked when things go wrong in my life, and now I just realize I don’t know everything and never did. I’m almost 31, and I have a lot to look back on already. What’s next?
I cannot help, when I get like this- thinking about every regret I’ve ever had- to think about a Star Trek episode- one of my favorites because it serves as a good reminder…. If you’re not a Trek fan, let me explain..
In Star Trek The Next Generation, Captain Picard is a great captain, in charge of the most elite ship in the Federation, the Enterprise. Picard, though, when he was a young academy boy, was a risk taker even then. He caught a race of aliens cheating at a bar game and challeneged them. In return, one of the aliens ran him through the chest with a blade and severed his heart. Fortunately for Picard, a synthetic heart was put in and he lived on to become one of the most daring, most respected captains in Starfleet. In this particular episode, Picard gets hit with an electrical overload – something really really stupid – and it fries his heart. So here he is laying dying and he receives a visit from an alien that has the power to stop time and change the very fabric of the whole universe with a snap of his fingers just because he’s bored. Q, as he is called, offers Picard one chance to go back to his academy days and take it all back – to never be stabbed through the heart – so he would not lay dying some 30 years later just because of a stupid power overload.
Picard jumps at the chance and Q sends him back. Instead of challenging the aliens, Picard stops and plays it safe, stopping his friends from getting in to the fight, and stopping his own heart from being cut in half. Immediately, the whole course of Picard’s life changes. Fast forward to 30 years later, and Picard is an absolute no body. He’s barely a lieutenant, and his ship-board service is mostly limited to reading survey reports. He asks to be promoted to command level and gets denied because he’s never done an exemplary thing in his whole life to prove he could perform well at command functions. Because he’s not willing to take risks, make hard decisions, or do anything out of the mundane, Picard never sees captain, or even Commander. He never does anything.
Needless to say, he goes back to Q and begs Q to put him back in the bar – back getting his heart stabbed out. Picard decides that even if he dies because of some pointless power overload, it would be better than leading a sheltered, unexemplary life.
He was able to see it from both ends. For the rest of us, we can only imagine. I like to believe that I stayed on the track I was on, that I would have ended up competing in higher levels. Perhaps I would have gotten the opportunity to be a working student at a top level barn. Perhaps right now, I’d be competing somewhere (winning money), or I’d own my own barn – something I always dreamed of. Maybe I would died trying to jump a huge fence. Maybe I would be worse off than I am now. Who knows.
All I can do is dream, wonder, hypothesize, and theorize. But, at the end of the day, I am still leading this particular life. Unable to pursue my dreams because I passed my chance. Unable to pay my bills because I have more than I do money. Unhappy with so many decisions I’ve made in my life and uncertain where I’ll end up tomorrow.