We go through life trying not to regret choices we’ve made.
Whether we like it or not, though, life is full of regrets.
When I think about regret, I tend to think of lyrics from the musical “Rent” — “Forget regret or life is yours to miss.” That, of course, is later followed by, “No day but today.”
Living in the moment and forgetting regret aren’t always easy, at least for me. I’m always wondering if I said the right thing and made the right move. It’s true we can’t predict the future and only can learn from the past.
I’m about to embark on an adventure where I try to do my best to not worry about the future, while, at the same time, treasuring the past — all without crying (too much).
My best friend dropped a proverbial bombshell last week when he announced he was uprooting his life to another city for a job; leaving his family, dog and friends behind. And that he was doing it by the end of the month. I’m not yet OK with his decision, but know that, over time, I will come to terms with my best friend — somebody I refer to as my big brother — living many hours away from home, far from everything that he knows and loves.
My mind instantly began firing off thoughts like fireworks on the Fourth of July — Will we be as close as we have been for the last several years? How do we keep our friendship just as strong when we’re so far apart? What the hell am I going to do now on weekends? Will I ever see him again?
Friendship means a lot to me, as you might have guessed.
So, I asked him if he regretted anything in our friendship. He said no.
He never asked me if I regretted anything in our friendship. But had he done so, I’d have said, “Yes.”
I regret all of the times I was angry at him and thought he didn’t care about our friendship. And, man, that’s a laundry list of moments — including the many, many times he was late to anything we had planned.
Whether he admits to it or not, my friend is habitually late to damn near everything. So I always took it personal when he was late to dinner, movies, sporting events and other plans we made — like the night earlier this year when he was 90 minutes (he claims it was 60 minutes, and blamed it on a wreck on the highway) late to my birthday dinner.
I always wondered if him being late was because he just didn’t care about our friendship.
I know better than to really think that.
Had he asked if I had any regrets, I’d have said I regret not telling him more often how appreciative I was of him being there for me when I needed him most.
Over the last several years, and through life’s usual roller coaster of emotions, my buddy has offered so much to me — a shoulder to cry on, a friendly hug and an ear to listen.
He’s believed in me when nobody else has, supported me when I needed a lift and trusted me when others had doubt.
It takes a lot for me to consider somebody a good, close friend. Even I’m not sure of the process I have for that to happen, but I know it didn’t take long for him to pass those tests and make his way to the top.
Had he asked if I had any regrets, I’d have told him I regret all of the times I didn’t think I supported him enough. I wonder if I was there for him enough in those moments when he needed a friend, and I question whether I said the right things when he needed somebody to talk with.
If he asked if I regretted anything, I’d have told him I regretted not making more memories over the last several years.
We’ve made a lot of memories in that time — Christmas season events, mini-golf nights, random trips, professional sporting events, birthday dinners and other moments where our friendship grew even stronger. But I’ve always felt there was so much more for us to see, do and accomplish. We never attempted a “just guys” extended vacation. There could have been many more random road trip weekends. And we rarely just bummed around and did nothing.
I’d never trade a second of the time we spent together and the memories we’ve made to this point. I just wish there was more time on the path I’ve grown used to. Life is too short and too chaotic to say that the way things were over the last several years are the way things will be in the future. Nobody knows what tomorrow holds.
Sure, we’ll continue making memories — his visits home, my visits to where he is and (hopefully) some of the old things we’ve grown so accustomed to doing over the years. But those times will be limited now — relegated to brief visits with one another when schedules align.
The one thing I’ll never regret? Considering him the best friend anybody could ever ask for.
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