When Regrets Replace Our Dreams

Most of the time we are able to put regrets behind us especially the one’s that are not major disappointments. We look around and realize that we don’t have it so bad. But when regrets begin to replace our dreams we become consumed, taking a moral inventory filled with questions that have no answers.

“Is it better to have loved and lost or tried and failed than never to have loved or tried at all?”

We tell ourselves it would’ve been better if we hadn’t smoked, if we had eaten better, if we learned how to cope with stress. We convince ourselves that life would have---could have been better. We would be healthier, wealthier, and happier if we weren’t so weak, so unwise, and so unlucky.

Instead of dreaming what could be we replay what “might” have been, “could” have been or “should” have been.  We are capable of storing millions of images and memories in our minds eye but we can only see one at a time. We recall those images through deep thought, mediation and in our dreams.

Is this part of a midlife crisis? I think so ….

The inability of letting regrets go is directly related to the metaphysical and neurological changes in a person once they reach the age of forty or beyond. We start to question the choices we made and the validity of decisions made years before. The spouse is the first victim. Anger towards a spouse cultivates the feeling of being let down and tied down. Doubts that they never loved their spouse and resentment over marriage replaces the ability to cope with any and all external problems and distractions.

People that have a difficult time during midlife go into a severe crisis mode all fueled by internal and external factors. They compound stress in their life making the transition from adult to senior adult difficult. They may have physical challenges such as menopause, heart conditions or just poor health. Or, unresolved childhood issues that were never dealt with could come to the surface causing more regret replaying past images over and over.

The question is not a matter of if it will happen; it’s when it will happen. For some, a midlife crisis can be more complicated. When a person can’t replace regrets with promising thoughts of the future they loose sight and direction.  They can’t cross over that bridge or see that lighthouse in a storm. Regret clouds our ability to navigate to a safe harbor and ultimately enjoy the remainder of our lives.

It takes courage to really let go of regrets. We are able to move on when we realize that things did not turn out as we expected because of something we did, or failed to do. Only psychopaths have no regrets. They never look back or learn from their behavior * * * the rest of us can.