I believe the trick to living life to the full is to have no regrets!
Don’t get me wrong; I have done some stupid things in my time. As a young adult I am sure I got a cold sore before I did something stupid; it was usually boy related. As I have grown up I have realized that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and wiser.
I haven’t come by this understanding on my own. In fact, I have learnt the most from the experiences and example set by my mother. My father was an adulterer and violent towards her. He was that subversive kind where the bruises were hidden and control was asserted via fear and mental manipulation. My mother was always very quiet and un-opinionated. She gave up friends and other activities including reading, listening to music, playing sport (of which she was exceptional), family outings, and creative cooking. After they separated I started to see the real woman. Once she regained her confidence, I saw determination, professionalism, creative thinking and a sense of fun. My mother does not take crap from anyone. She has taught me to have confidence in my ability and to be open to new experiences. Whilst I am sure she quietly regrets staying with my father for as long as she did, she has made the conscious decision to act and be true to herself. Mum always tells it as it is. Sometimes it is simply hysterical giggles when I step out of a change room, but honest all the same. She is also in love with my ‘defacto step-father’. Her and my defacto stepfather have travelled the world, socialize and enjoy an equal partnership.
And as for what happened to my father? Karma. He died after a three-year struggle with cancer. I found it difficult to mourn him like my Brother, Aunt and her family, and I refused to sit at the front with a family who had disowned me as too like my mother. Once again my mother showed her strength by attending the funeral and emotionally supporting my attendance and choices. I was not invited to walk with my brother and Dad’s family behind the coffin as it left the building. Much like the actions of my father, my brother ignored me, choosing to turn his back on me when I approached. On reflection, that was the most difficult part of the funeral. My brother and I have since had a disagreement and don’t communicate.
Dad’s death made me promise that I would no longer invite people like this into my life. In this one instance, I do not regret my choices to sit with mother’s family – mum, my aunt and cousins. I do not regret crying because the eulogies were a lie, and I do not regret eventually telling my brother how I felt. It is true that staying true to yourself can be difficult. At least for me, my decisions then meant for a happier today.
Ok, enough of my family story. Have an excellent new year that is regret free! Live and learn!