Regret is inevitable. If we were the kind of animal that can truly live in the present, this would not be such a thing, or we wouldn't spend as much time with it, surely. But we are restless storytellers, ambitious, too. We make plans for the future and we think about the past. The best possible outcome from our tendency to remember is that we can learn from our experiences. Sometimes. In the Reyaverse at least, regret is one way to learn. What could have been done differently? If I'd made a different decision, what might have happened? Good questions!
Human beings take a wrong turn and end up in unfortunate places, like an unhealthy relationship, a soul-sucking job. There are always many opportunities in a human life to make mistakes. When we break free of these situations, there tends to be a lot of regret, as if we could have known better. Or should have known better. (Should: a judgment and a fantasy.)
I hear people talk about how the time spent in these situations was a waste. They wish it had never happened. Can you blame them? I don't. I've entertained those thoughts many a time.
Lately I've been thinking about how, in myths and fairytales, in books and movies, it is so important to break free of the dark thing. Quitting the soul-sucking job, leaving the horrible relationship, is a turning point. It's so important! It's a key aspect of human experience.
In order to break free from the dark thing, we must first become mired in the dark thing. We must take the wrong turns, make the wrong decisions, because otherwise there would not be an opportunity to break free. Paradoxical, isn't it? if we never got stuck, we would never have the chance to become unstuck and what a shame that would be. Also true is that we have to try not to get stuck in the first place. Oh my. There really is no clean, simple way to walk through life, is there?
We try so hard and judge ourselves harshly. Being a human is so complicated!