But above all things, I am not a regretter.
I've been asked a number of times (always to my surprise) if I have regrets of any sort. I invariably answer "no." I am fortunate (I think) to be able to look back on my life at this mid-century point, and answer so concisely.
This does not mean, however; that there are decisions and choices I would change if given the chance. That't the thing about regret that most people do not understand. Regret is not the acknowledgement of things you would do differently. Regret is the resentment, sorrow or anxiety of the decisions once they are made. And I have none of those symptoms.
Obviously, with the clarity of hindsight and the knowledge gained from many yesterdays I would likely select options and opportunities I didn't realize at the time they were presented. But I have to ask myself, what would I have missed if I did?
Would I have missed my son, who has grown to one of the finest young men and fathers I've known?
Would I have missed the great love and agonizing loss of a husband who prepared me for a greater love, years down the road?
Would I have missed a career that, although it took me far and long from home, provided me opportunity few women have had and travel beyond my wildest dreams?
Would I have missed a passion for music, art and culture beyond my years as a young girl, preparing me in ways I am only beginning to realize?
Would I have missed the birth of my own grandchildren, so small and bright, so delicate and heart-shatteringly delightful?
For that is the problem with regret: If you would choose to do over those things you resent or mourn for, you would never hold in your hand all that have now. You would never know today because of giving up some yesterday. You would never appreciate the flavor of the life you've lived, because you never would have lived it, you would never be here, now, if it weren't for yesterday.