Thank Goodness for Regret

re·gret
/rəˈɡret/

n.

a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity.

Today, I thank goodness for living with regret.

It’s been three years since my father’s death, and I think it’s time I stop punishing myself and let go of the guilt I’ve been harboring since then, the regret. This is my first time sharing this with anyone, so here goes:

My dad was receiving treatment in San Jose and because I was in San Diego, my visits were few and far in between. I even reasoned that it was best to put my would-be travel costs toward his medical expenses.

I flew up in April and June, and was planning another trip for late July, but my family encouraged me to visit sooner. The sense of urgency was thick, but I pushed it aside. Call it denial, or maybe blind optimism that there was more time. Regardless, I stayed my course.

On July 21, I was out when my dad called. I let it go wanting to call back in a quieter setting, but he rang a second time. Panic set in; I missed him again while rushing outside, but immediately called back. My uncle picked up and said my dad was already sleeping. He really wanted to talk to me, but was too tired, so I’d have to try again after he wakes up.

He never did wake up again, and I never got my phone call. He passed the next morning and in the seconds after hearing, “He didn’t make it,” the regret and guilt set in, and it never left.

Regret is typically a shameful word. We hide it deep in our closets, and hope it never rears its ugly head as a reminder of our transgressions, but today, I move that we embrace regret.

We’ll always wonder the what ifs of paths not taken, but so long as we fully commit to our decisions and their consequences, we will come out stronger.

Living with regret doesn’t have to be a bad thing because at least you’re still living.

I miss you, Dad. It’s Comic Con weekend, so I hope I can still have a #HappyFriday. Have fun watching my shenanigans and if it’s of any value, I think our last conversation would’ve been a great one.

I love you,

Việt Ca

Regret

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Schrödinger’s Cat’s Drum Roll

There is a special quality in uncertainty that no other state of being can claim; anxiety, excitement, worry, and hope exist simultaneously until the reveal. The anticipation during this ephemeral drum roll can be calming, dream-like even:

  • A flipped coin hanging in the air
  • Awaiting the decision after a job interview
  • The moment the ball leaves the shooter’s hands
  • Passing a note with the option of circling “Yes” or “No”

A popular explanation of this purgatory-like state is Schrödinger’s Cat, a thought experiment that, to me, was the scientist’s sarcastic response to the Copenhagen Interpretation. For those unfamiliar, you can watch Sheldon Cooper’s explanation (just started watching–and finishing–The Big Bang Theory), or you can read my simplified version below:

A cat is locked in a box with a vile of poison that may be triggered to release, so only upon opening will we know its state of being. Until then, there exists, simultaneously, life and death.

These middle moments are almost romantic, holding our breath at the edge of endless possibilities, but, unfortunately, they’re fleeting. The “no news is good news” limbo state offers a respite that is comforting and, oftentimes, a necessity. It’s nice to want to sleep, let the world fall away, and although the dreams may be sweet, you have to drink in a new day that could offer anything.

It’s unhealthy to stand still out of fear of an undesirable outcome as it shouldn’t outweigh the hope for a silver lining, whatever it may be.