This one is going to well and truly be a blog post, where I write about my personal issues and touch not at all on writing or fiction or review anything.
A couple of nights back, my wife and got to talking about regrets. It came to pass as we were discussing how to handle my daughter’s schoolwork when she enters grade four in September. We have slightly different views on how independent she needs to be, and that got us talking about our own childhoods and our own education and then regrets.
And my wife couldn’t believe that I have no regrets.
This needs a heck of a lot of qualification. I’m not saying I haven’t made mistakes in my life. I have. Some of them have been huge and a couple of them have actually had hefty repercussions – things I remember to this day and which shaped my personality to a certain degree.
I have also half-assed things that I should have full-assed, like my university education. Too much drinking and fun, not enough studying. In my final year, I actually pulled off all As (mostly A- with one actual A and nothing approaching an A+, but all As, of which I am duly proud). By that point it was too late to get anything but conditional recommendations from my academic advisors – each one pointed out that I lacked discipline, which I did, even in that final year. I was never accepted for an MA course.
But are these regrets? I guess they are, in that I regret them, but I consider regrets to be things we want to change. If we could go back, we would change those things.
In a way, I do want to change them, but I have the geek’s knowledge that any ripple in the time line can have massive effects.
Let’s say I full-assed my university education and went into an MA course. I would never have travelled to South Korea to teach after university. I would never have met my wife. I would never have had my children. I would have been married and had children, sure, but not this wife and these children.
And I almost certainly would never have the job I have, which I pretty much ended up at through a series of coincidences and chance meetings that led to opportunities.
We all have things of which we aren’t proud, things which we regret, but how much of your life would you be willing to alter for a chance to change them? Everything I have done has led me to this place and I would be worried that any alteration would lead me somewhere else.
This is where I want to be.