Hissy Fit - February 2024 - No Ragrets: Not Even a Single Letter
...because everyone needs one every once in awhile
January 2024 Issue
by Elizabeth Skenes Millen
One of the funniest and most ironic scenes in the movie
We are the Millers is when Scotty P. Scotty, a typical, traveling
carnival ruffian, shows off his tattoo that covers his chest from
shoulder to shoulder. The tattoo, in large, old-English lettering,
simply reads: No Ragrets, which is not a typo here, but a permanent
typo on confident Scotty P. Scotty’s chest…
ya’ know what I’m sayin’? The great thing about Scotty P.
is he doesn’t have one ragret, not even a single letter.
Regret is sorrow aroused by circumstances beyond one’s control or power to repair. (Merriam-Webster) It’s an oppressive, dismal task to carry regret and the heaviness that comes with it. It hurts your heart and burdens your soul.
As unlikely as one would think, Scotty P. is on to something with his mantra of “No Ragrets." Living with regret is as exhausting as it is useless. Usually, regrets are for something you did, that you wish you didn’t, or for something you didn’t do, that you wish you had. How many times have I heard someone say, “I wish I would have bought beach front property on Hilton Head back in the ‘70s. Don’t we all?
Here’s a classic example of regret probably used by a zillion people every Saturday and Sunday morning: Dear Lord, If you help me feel better today, I swear I will never drink again. Even people who don’t pray, negotiate with the big man for relief from their regretful hangover and pounding headaches.
However, regrets come in all shapes and sizes. People regret not studying for a test and failing, or what they ate that made them bloat. They regret spending too much money on unnecessary stuff, but on the flip side, regret can come by missing the last pair of gorgeous boots in your size that you would have loved forever. Of course these are small regrets, but nonetheless, even small regrets bombard our brains with thoughts of shoulda, woulda, coulda and drain our energy.
It’s exhausting to second guess practically everything you do. If you are an over thinker or a second guesser, do your wavering confidence dance before you make a decision you think you might regret. Look back to Merriam-Webster’s definition and thoroughly comprehend “beyond one’s control or power to repair.” REPAIR! Clearly, regret comes once you can’t fix it. Regret does not arise before the deed is done. You have a choice…try your best to make a good one.
Regret also zaps any fun or positivity we may have had along the way. For instance, what if instead of studying for that test, you went out with your friends and happened to meet the love of your life. A onetime “F” is a small price to pay for a soulmate. Maybe regret needs to be reframed as the price you pay to get, to do or to be something you want. Regret comes when you think the “price” was too high.
And there are regrets where the price is absolutely too high—big, serious regrets. Saying hurtful words to someone that can’t be taken back, drinking and driving and possibly hurting or killing someone in the process, being at odds with a loved-one and not making amends before their death; forgetting to blow out a candle and burning your house down—all are examples at how life can go from good to bad in a split second. And we just wish we could have that second back and get a do-over. Unfortunately, that’s not how life works. Enter regret.
Once a thing is done, or not done…it’s done. Of course, regret, guilt, remorse, sadness, distress, and maybe even anxiousness or panic arrives on the scene because the past cannot be changed, and some things we do—even unintentionally—are difficult to live with. Once a minute is over, it is what it was—a stinging thought when you deeply contemplate the gravity of its permanence. Right now, as in this moment, and the moments to come, a.k.a. the future, are the only things we still have a choice in.
How often are you riddled with regret? The little stuff? I didn’t do this, and I didn’t do that. This is the stuff to let go of. Remember the little, powerful book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”? It stated, “It’s all small stuff.” And most of it is. Train your brain to think in the now. Don’t ride around town looking at all the opportunities you missed. Look for the opportunities still awaiting. Make your thoughtful choices and then decide to live with them.
Whatever you decide, do it with all your heart. Life becomes full through a menagerie of relationships, experiences, conversations, lessons, cultures and environments—both good and bad. Drink them in without regret. They are simply tuition paid for a well-rounded, full, wise, and exciting life.