Never smother your sorrow, but tend it and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. ~ Henry David Thoreau
I left him three weeks ago. He was my high school sweetheart and this is what’s left of the closing hours of what would have been our two year anniversary. He taught me how to open up my heart again, how to let someone in close to you, how to make and be a best friend. He was a lesson learned.
I regret nothing.
Love is like a campfire. There are two people who have made a commitment to keep the fire burning high enough to keep them both warm. Each person has a responsibility to the other to gather wood and kindling and add it to the flames. The difference between this campfire and other fires is that once you stop collecting the fuel, the fire quickly burns out; it’s a constant process. As soon as one person stops putting forth effort and merely squats by the fire to rub their hands together and enjoy the wafting heat, it’s starts to wane. At first, you barely notice a difference. As the minutes pass by though, you can see that the flames don’t flicker as high or that, even though you haven’t moved, the heat isn’t strong enough to drive the chill from your fingers anymore. It’s dying. The other person can try and put in more and more effort but the actions of just one person will never be enough to revive it. Inevitably the fire will burn out, be reduced to nothing but a smoky ghost of the flames that once were raging high; all you have left to remind you of what was is the pile of ashes and smoldering cinders that remain.
Part of life is learning the best process to build such a fire. You practice on others before ever really finding the right one; you learn which tactics work for you personally and you discover what type of partner will best suit you and your working style. In my own opinion, I do not think that any learning process should ever result in regret. Even if the situation did not end the way that you wanted or expected it to, it does not mean that there was no tidbit of knowledge that could not be taken away and used on another occasion. Such experiences teach us about who we are and what we want our future to look like. They reveal what our true goals are and what we want to see in the future. Those moments are the ones that define who are to become.
Why would I regret any of that? Those lessons learned have taught invaluable skills that I could not have learned any other way. I understand how painful it can be when you stand across from a dwindling fire with an armload of kindling and finally it dawns upon you that you can never rekindle the pile of embers on your own, how crushing it is to realize that this person that you chose as your partner in this endeavor has stopped living up to the promises they made, how devastating it is to lay in the fetal position in the soot and feel the tears stream down in ashy rivulets down your cheeks and the only sound is the word “alone” that echoes in your head with every beat of your heart. I understand that pain. But that does not on any account means that I regret it.
I realize that two quotes in one post might seem a bit excessive but I cannot resist spouting the wisdom in Princess Bride when Wesley relays the truth of existence to his fair Buttercup and quips: “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something.”
Truer words have never been spoken! For what is more consistent in life than pain? The main difference between squandering your life in the smoke of what your life used to be and learning to build a new fire even higher is this: being able to move on without regrets. Every piece of your past will be taken with you in your life and will be used to define who you will become. With this in mind, there is no need to regret what made you who you are. Any actions that you have taken are stepping stones to the future that you have chosen.
These are my thoughts in the minutes after the day has passed, those 24 hours that I once awaited with great anticipation, a few shared moments that I dreamed would give me extreme happiness. But alone in my big queen-sized bed with my countless thoughts to keep me company, underneath a fuzzy blanket and curled up next to teddy bear that comforted me from my childhood until now, I realize that I only have one more thing to say.
I regret nothing.