To regret is a useless emotion; it is a wallowing in despair and self pity. Better by far to change, to achieve, to move forward, to put right.
Easy perhaps for the comfortable, the well healed, the well adjusted. Less so for the poor, the sick, the wretched. The billions who live in squalor and wretchedness.
It is a sad and “wicked” world in many ways but I am not entirely convinced that is anybody’s fault in particular. We are all victims of our inheritance and our environment.
Did Adolf Hitler have to murder 6,000,000 Jews? Well he certainly did not do it all on his own. And thus for all violence: it does not happen in isolation, it has cause and effect, it is part of us all, the responsibility of us all. We must all regret it but equally we should all seek better.
There is great regret in my life in an overall sense as well as a personal sense. It is a world of great contrast: good and bad, beauty and intense ugliness, joy and despair. I have not done my bit. I have not done enough.
I could have done better, achieved more, made the world a happier place, seen greater fulfillment.
Or perhaps not. Intuitively the buddhist concept of endless re-birth strikes a chord. Life after life we strive to get it right, live better until at last we are released from the cycle, from the giant hamster wheel that is existence.
But regret, while you still have breath, is a wasteful extravagance, a futile and destructive luxury. Even if you only live one lifetime it is never too late to put it right, to change, to achieve, to soar, to redeem.
Even writing is a redemption of sorts. A catharsis. An admission of guilt and in a sense regret but an effort also to put right. To spread meaning perhaps.