Is it true that you only regret that which you've not done?
Or: is it ok to feel regret - despite what the chirpy instagram quotes suggest?
This new year's eve was the first time in nearly a decade that I wasn't with my Edinburgh friends - and I missed them, badly. Even though I made a decision to move back to my Kent home town to be closer to my family, and as a result have made a lovely new home and fulfilling working life for myself, as the bells rang at midnight I started to wonder whether I had made the right decision.
That's the thing - in order to say 'yes' and commit to one plan of action, knowing all the benefits it will bring, you have to say 'no' to something else, don't you? This is what I've given up:
city life - the choice of galleries, clubs, bars, restaurants, exhibitions, gigs, beautiful buildings on my doorstep
hanging out with my crazy, gorgeous, loveable Edinburgh & Glasgow friends
cold, windy, rainy weather EVERY DAY
an unfulfilling job with ever-moving goalposts and hidden, impossible-to-achieve objectives
... ok, yes. I'm starting to remember why I wanted to make that move.
The thing is, I haven't actually given up city life or my friends. I can travel to any major European city most weekends and really make the most of what's on offer - because like any city dweller, I had stopped exploring and trying everything that Edinburgh had to give. I still have my far-away friends and we make an effort to communicate in different ways which I love - writing actual letters! Sending random online messages! Skyping with a bottle of wine during a weekend, sitting on the sofa and having a good old natter is way better than being jostled in a crowded, noisy bar where you have to screech to be heard.
What is regret? Sadness, disappointment. In my book, they are powerful and genuine emotions and it's ok to feel them. As long as we recognise what it is we regret and what it is that we've chosen instead.