I’ve started reading a book by Matt Haig called The Midnight Library. It’s about regret. The main character Nora has access to The Book of Regrets. Here she can see all the regrets she’s had over the years. She has the opportunity to test out different versions of her life as it could have been if she’d made different decisions. There are infinite possibilities. Maybe she’d kept up her swimming, maybe she’d treated her brother differently, maybe she’d pursued a music career.
Although I’ve only read the first few chapters, I’m already discovering that the life you thought might been better, having made different or better decisions, isn’t necessarily the case. Things might not have actually worked out better another way.
“It can drive you insane, thinking of all the other lives we don’t live.”
I’ll find out what the overriding moral of the story is when I get to the end. But for now what I’m taking from it is that there’s not too much point regretting the past – without doing something about it now. Day dreaming about time travel and doing things differently won’t change anything. But, we can start doing what we’ve always dreamed of, now. Maybe in a smaller, simpler way.
Or, remind ourselves that we’ve kept ourselves small. Or listened to others instead of to ourselves in the past. And that from now on we’ll be listening more closely to ourselves.
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Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash