Regret Keeps Us from Moving Forward

Funny thing about the past. It tends to keep us trapped. Sometimes, our memories can be our worst enemies. It is the remembering. The regretting. Feeling guilty for what we’ve done.

Failing to instead look at what’s ahead…

I’ve led a charmed life in so many ways. Blessed… I’ve also had dark moments where I wondered who on earth I was. As we cruise into the twilight of our lives, we tend to wonder how we got where we are. We have our regrets – moments that left us different people than we were before. Regret is the hand cuffs that keep us from moving forward because excessievly looking back has never been a healthy option.

Life is a series of chapters and events. When we are so very young, we are a blank canvass – a clean sheet of paper – with our future stretched out ahead of us. As a child, I used to gaze out into the night sky through a frosty window wondering what was out there waiting for me when I reached adulthood.

I couldn’t wait to grow up.

Suddenly one day you’re out of high school wondering what to do with your life. I remember my last day of high school in my hometown of Bowie, Maryland. I took the wheel of my 1967 Mustang and pulled out onto the main road that ran past my high school. It was a sad moment for me though I hated school with a passion and was a terrible student. I don’t even know how I graduated.

That chapter was over.

I’d find my way into adulthood one step at a time. I knew I loved aviation and determined that’s what I wanted to do. I decided to join the United States Air Force and learn how to work on big jets. I saw this as a life passion. I believed I would separate from the USAF and be working for the airlines. I would learn miserably after four years getting experience the house was full. There were no airline mechanic jobs to be had.

Life had other unrelated plans for me.

What I didn’t know then was, my life was about to change from bending wrenches to writing about how to bend wrenches. I had a deep passion for automobiles. I also liked writing. By pure dumb luck, I stumbled into automotive journalism in a start-up publishing house in Florida specializing in niche publications dedicated to the coming muscle car craze. It wound up being an opportunity I will never forget.

I took my experience as a mechanic and turned it into a writing career.

I thought this classic muscle car craze was a flash in the pan and would be over in a matter of time. That twist in the road became a career lasting more than 40 years. We don’t always recognize the significant moments in our lives when they happen and what they mean to our future. I sit in my shabby little office at 66 remembering that moment in time at age 28 when life changed forever.

I have my regrets. We all do. I’ve had two failed marriages. Made my share of foolish mistakes typically when I thought only of myself. With any luck, our mistakes and foolishness are few and we find a way to learn from them.

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