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This never happened. It will shock you how much this never happened.
Regretting is a well lit road to perdition.
The process starts with a specific dissatisfaction; with time it assumes mass and you look for its roots in events in the past. Past is the wellspring of the Present, so is the conditioned thinking. You will look for causal links: direct and indirect. You are bound to do a ‘what if’ analysis: you will rearrange and negate your decisions. The more scenarios you generate in your head in this manner, the more you are unsure of the one chosen reality you are living in. Now, the shadows of doubt begins to creep in, mix in some worries and soon enough you are ready to drown yourself in regrets.
Regret is such a powerless response to the perceived flaw in the reality — it doesn’t just invalidate your decision in the past, it downright pins you there permanently. Your existence today becomes hollow, devoid of all vigor and courage. You are constantly looking back to your ghost in the past who you long would turn around and usher your redemption. But past is immutable. And this leads to suffering of the greatest sort.
I never regret. I have to remind myself of it constantly. But that is the position I have chosen.
One of my favorite onscreen heroes has said something to this effect which rings in my ears.
In one of the scenes of Mad Men, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) speaks to Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) who is lying in the hospital bed, broken mentally after an unwanted pregnancy, just as she was starting her career as a copywriter.
“Get out of here and move forward. This never happened. It will shock you how much this never happened.”
— Season 2, Episode 5
Move forward. Redemption, or whatever else there is, is only in the Future.