My book If Only: Letting Go Of Regret released a year ago. I’ve been humbled and gratified by the wonderful response from readers and reviewers. A number have told me the book helped them recognize, confront and release their own long-standing regrets. This week, in celebration of God’s faithfulness, I’m re-running some of my favorite posts from the last year on the topic of regret.
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I reflected on the regrets we carry from “the best days of our lives”, our high school years:
When I tell people I’ve just met I’ve written a book about regret, many of them have an account of something from their past haunting them to share with me. New acquaintances aren’t prone to share their deepest, personal painful stories of regret unless they are sorely lacking any sort of social filter. I’ve been surprised by how many people have stories ready to share about one particular era of their lives. They’re stories about their high school years.
“I wish I wasn’t so boy-crazy,” one woman told me. “I focused all of my energies on making sure I had a boyfriend. It was the only thing that mattered to me back then, and I didn’t give two thoughts to developing any other parts of who I was. Having someone to make out with between classes is where I got my worth.”
Another woman told me that she wished she would have stuck with gymnastics. “My parents were going through a divorce and neither of them seemed to have time to attend any of my meets, so I quit the team. I’ve always regretted that choice. I think my high school years would have been a lot different if I’d have stayed with it.”
“I had a ‘little’ eating disorder and convinced myself I could control it,” a new friend said. “I spent half of middle school and most of high school managing my binge habit so no one would know. Now I realize I missed so many experiences and possible friendships because my secret controlled me.”
Before I started high school, a guidance counselor came and gave the freshman class a pep talk. “You’ll remember these days the rest of your lives,” she said. The thought horrified me. My strategy was to do all I could not to remember by stuffing as much weed as I could into the Zig Zag rolling papers I purchased with my babysitting money and getting high every single day. [Read more]