The Fear of Regret

photo credit: Danger...Danger via photopin (license)
photo credit: Danger…Danger via photopin (license)

Do any of us have the luxury (curse?) of never being required to change? Is it possible to choose static? To never expand, bend, elongate? What does this rigidity look like, this staying small within ourselves?

Regret. Probably in the top five on my greatest fears chart. The fear of regret, the unknown consequence of choosing wrong. Who can win when this is life’s motivation?

This cusp of change I’m perched upon feels precarious. I have had this particular life path for enough years that it is a comfort to me, the determination of my days as wife and mom. However, I am sensing a call to take steps in a new direction. Probably to the outside observer, one would not notice much, but the internal environment is like shifting sand. I have been awakened by a tinge of general resentment trying to rise, not toward anyone in particular…yet.

I recognize how tempting it is to choose predictable, familiar, safe. The voices speak regret. Or, rather, fear of regret. The what-if of regret.

The life I lead is a good one. I have decided well, I have birthed beauty, I have partnered with remarkable, I have learned wisdom and discernment in many ways. Life is full, but many days are too quiet, too restful, too predictable. The babies need a mother where it’s not just about them. The babies are too reliant on this bored mom, who has few excuses why she can’t do it all. The babies need to learn to fly, too. Are they pushing? Yes, they are pushing. They need to have enough independence to make their own mistakes, to grow, adapt, and change in their appropriate ways.

I have to risk not being needed. I have to risk that maybe they will survive and thrive without me here all the time, as a regular back-up. I have to risk that someone might screw up while I’m doing other things. I have to risk that my marriage may become one of equals, one of partnership, not indebtedness. I have to risk bringing my desires, my dreams, my hopes to the table…not just buying into everyone else’s. I have to examine my own calling, responding to the inklings before they reach fever pitch and I’m reacting poorly. I have to risk being tired, cranky and possibly difficult. This people pleaser has strived for years to be amenable, adaptable, low maintenance. It is time to let her go, as the primary method of gaining approval.

I do not want to choose busy as my purpose, but I do want to recognize that some seasons are naturally out of balance. To seek constant balance is short-sighted and additionally stressful.

What is the price of silence? Good question, unknown answer. I know the price I will pay, too scared to live, too scared to chance, too scared to change, resentment toward those I treasure. The price will be me uniquely showing up, owning my story, my journey, missing out on the collective sharing of beauty made possible through uncertainty.

The excuses are too easy and they are running out. The excuses are growing up, gaining independence and driver’s licenses. The excuses, my deepest loves, should not be excuses, but joys. I want my family to launch, even if it means I work myself out of a job.

Regret. Who the hell knows if we will feel regret or not. It seems like a silly motivator, but can be a powerful dictator.