Custodio: Regrets

MAKING decisions can be difficult. We always want to be right but know that that is quite impossible. Nobody is perfect. Besides, temporary setbacks (sometimes called failure) teaches us so many things about life as well as ourselves too. I am sure that all of us have had light bulb moments and realized that our experiences teach us how to deal with future challenges. We may not understand nor appreciate it at first, but we do get moments of epiphany when the time is right. And you do know that it will come right? It does! Until that time comes, well, we will have to deal with regrets.

Ah regrets. We are afraid of it. At least I know I was. I admit to not wanting to find myself regretful because it reminds me of my failures in life. I have quite a lot of them! Out of all that I have, there are 2 that particularly still makes me cringe whenever I remember it.

I remember a time when I was ten years old and spending the entire summer in Manila. Exciting di ba? That summer I was taking swimming classes at the YWCA. I actually already knew how to swim but my Mom wanted me to learn how to swim properly (not just langoy-aso which was fine with me) so I was enrolled. It was a big class and there were lots of kids my age so in the process, I became chummy with this particular girl. We hit it off almost instantly. I was thrilled of course, who does not want a new friend? I had a swim buddy and I couldn't be any happier! We did everything together-- eat, swim and chat; it was indeed a fun way to spend the whole summer! It certainly made my summer swimming lessons more fun!

Then one day, while we were chatting and swimming in the pool, my friend lost her footing and ended in the slightly deeper part of the pool. Because of this, she had let go of the rope/divider that we were holding on to. She reached out to me for help but I panicked and swam away. It was a good thing that one of our instructors saw what happened and pulled her to safety. I was so relieved that she was okay but I felt ashamed that I had not done the saving myself.

And that was the end of us as friends. I never went near her after the incident and she never talked to me too. To this day, 37 going on 38 years after that fateful day, I regret not going up to her after it happened. Why? Because I could have said I was sorry for not being there for her. I realize now that I was a child then and it was normal to get scared. But I felt that I had abandoned a friend when she needed me most and I continued feeling bad about it.

That’s not what friends do. I still sigh when I think about it. I should have talked to her and told her how I felt but I never made an effort to do so. I lived with that regret all these years. The regret comes from not being able to set things right when I had the chance. No matter what, I should have said something to her after the incident. I would understand if she did not want to be friends anymore.

What this has taught me is the value of friendship and how one should never let fear, shame or whatever it may be, hinder us from trying to make things right. I had lost what could have been a good friendship because of my hesitation and I will probably forever regret it.

Despite the regrets though, I learned so much from it, especially the way I treat my friends. It taught me to be more open and to always speak my mind. It has also allowed me to accept the things that I cannot change when challenges become insurmountable. I learned to move on despite that uneasy, disconcerting feeling that I have whenever I find myself in similar situations because I know now that you can't always win but you can always learn from it. Do not let regrets get you down. Use it to rise above your challenges to become a better person!

Happy Sunday Everyone! :)
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