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The Mathematics of Regret

Have you ever had that moment?  

You know that moment where everything seems so incredibly right in the world and there is nowhere else you’d rather be? I’m not talking about that moment, but in case you haven’t experienced this yet (which I think would be hard to believe), there are these moments in life where the world stands still and you realize you couldn’t have planned a better evening.  Not in a million years.  Or, there are times where the sunshine couldn’t be warmer, where the air couldn’t be fresher, and where you’d give anything (and I mean anything) to stay in that moment.

But then, all of a sudden, that dreaded “responsible” side of you kicks in (which, to be honest, you’d rather kick in the face) and you suddenly have to choose between continuing on with the moment or dropping it all for the sake of  “responsibility”? That’s the moment I’m talking about.  That moment.

If you’ve ever been in that moment, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You have to choose between the moment and responisbility. And what’s even worse is that if you’ve been in that moment and chosen to be “responsible”, leaving said moment behind, you know exactly the type of regret I’m talking about.  It hurts.  Deeply.  It keeps you up sometimes at night wondering things like “How could I have been so stupid? Why did I leave?” and “Imagine what could have happened had I just stayed?”

Heck, I’d only need one finger to count on!  

It would  be easy for me to count the number of times I’ve felt regret because of this.  I could count the amount of times on one finger! That’s what really bugs me, the fact that this has only happened to me once in my life so far.  It makes it really difficult to forget.  Somehow, I’m under the impression that if you have many regrets in life, at some point it’s hard to keep track of them all (please correct me if I am wrong). So, seeing as how I don’t have many regrets, I tend to  think about this one probably a little bit more than I should.

Don’t get me wrong,  I’ve had plenty of those amazing moments in my life.  Staying up all night dancing at a bar after closing time until the wee hours of the morning, watching the sunrise with my closest friends, sitting in a window sill listening to the rain fall as a beautiful piano piece is played by someone so amazing it makes you want to cry. Ahhh…... Yes.  I’ve had plenty of those moments.  I’ve switched off that “responsible” side of me quite a few times, to be completely honest. I’d feel that little tap on my should and hear that little voice saying “Marie, you have to get up for work in 5 hours!  Go home!”.  I’ve responded to that many a times, with “Sorry, Responsible Marie. Take a hike!”

Have you met Responsible Marie?

She’s pretty stubborn, but I’ve been in situations where I decided to listen to Responsible Marie and never came to regret it.  She’s voiced her opinion right when I needed her and she’s saved my ass more times than not.  I’m not saying she takes over my life or anything, but she’s quite a handy girl to have around.  I have to say, I’m usually a pro when it comes to juggling fun and responsibility.  I end up equally having enough of each to enjoy life and to make sure I have a roof over my head.  I’m very proud of that fact, to say the least.  I think a lot of people sway from one end to the other, causing many regrets, but I on the other hand managed to get through 26 years of living with only one of these regrets so far.  Not too shabby if you ask me.

It’s just that stupid, know-it-all, annoyingly right (99% of the time) Responsible Marie! Seriously, sometimes I wish I could karate-chop her in the throat!  The one time I needed her to back down and she didn’t.  I tried!  But she kept persisting that I should think about that work shift I had in the morning.

Looking back to that moment, I have to admit that I put up a pretty good fight. At first, when she told me that I should start getting ready to head on home, I came out swinging with all the typical excuses of “I can work on no sleep”, “Life is too short” and “All you need is love!”  I even continued on with the evening and ate a slice of pizza (the best slice of pizza of my life, might I add), trying to pull the wool over her eyes and fake her into thinking I was cutting the evening short.  It worked for about an hour or so, until I felt her fighting to break free.  That was unpleasant.  I literally felt torn.  I had to distract her by starting an intense conversation with someone about the wonders of life and true love.  That pissed her off even more.  But in the end, Responsible Marie wound up winning. That playing-dirty, backstabbing bitch!  She brought out Insecure Marie.  She’s pretty hard to ignore, I have to say.  All she had to do was shake her head disapprovingly and I knew I had to wave that white flag. What a low blow that was.  I’ll probably never forgive her…

And so, I turned to the moment, apologized for having to leave, jumped into a taxi, and headed home trying to convince myself that it was the best decision I ever made and will probably ever make.

My lips are sealed…

Some things you just can’t talk about, because no one will ever really understand how unbelievably incredible certain moments can be.  You could try to describe them and explain it with flowery words, but in the end no one really gets it.  I find that frustrating, no…..sad, yet somewhat special.  I had a moment that got overpowered by a sense of responsibility and still to this day wonder what could have happened.  All I can tell you is if you find yourself in that moment, the moment where it comes to choose between the moment and responsibility, make sure you think long and hard about it.  Not just for a second, not for 5 minutes, but for as long as it takes to be confident in your decision.  If not, you may find yourself in my shoes, stuck in a “worm hole of old lyrics and diary entries”  (a direct quote from the person who knows me best).

There’s this line that keeps dancing around my mind…

“What if I had just said yes?”


Have you ever had that moment?

Write a post about a particular special moment that got interrupted by your sudden sense of responsibility and I will be happy to reblog it on Good Morning, Joe.  Just leave a comment below with a link to the post!

Good Morning, Joe

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Do Not Let the Evil Inherit the Earth

Title inspired by “So What” by Ani Difranco


4 thoughts on “The Mathematics of Regret

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