Opinion Piece: No Regrets, Ever (Street Commodores Editorial Columns)

17 Jun

This is the fourth in a regular series of editorial pieces we’ll be posting here on the blog, originally written by Hosking Industries’ Ben Hosking for Street Commodores magazine and other magazines he’s completed opinion pieces for. This column appeared in issue 170 of Street Commodores:

No Regrets, Ever. (Written 16.03.2010)

Life’s a journey that doesn’t end until you die. So don’t waste time regretting the past.

When you’re young, it’s easy to get caught up stressing about the myriad mistakes that you make along the way to becoming an adult. You waste time worrying about stupid things like wearing the right clothes or having the right hair and generally fitting in to the right crowd. It’s all wasted energy that you could be expending on your journey forward.

There are a number of choice quotes that I could insert here, but my favourites are ‘you don’t stop learning until you stop breathing’, ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ and ‘regret nothing’.

Just let those three sink in for a little bit…

Few mistakes in life constitute something that should haunt you for too long. Instead, they’re opportunities for learning and growth as a human – something that you should take and use as a catalyst for positive development in any way that you can. Always aim onward and upward, never bother wallowing in the past. Hey, there’s another good quote.

When I look back at my life so far, there are a plenty of moments that I could look back at with regret. That’s until I stop to consider the many things I probably wouldn’t have had the chance to accomplish in life if I hadn’t have taken the course I did. It’s that whole ‘sliding doors’ philosophy: at every moment in your life you have various options in front of you. Each decision affects your future.

There’s no way that I’d be where I am today without experiencing and in some cases, struggling through the many episodes in my life beforehand. I spent a number of years broke and unemployed in Newcastle before I made the decision to leave everything I knew and move to Sydney. I was deemed by most employers to be under-qualified for good jobs and over-qualified for crappy menial jobs.

I could sit here and regret my educational choices. I could regret not moving to a larger city sooner to find work. Hell, I could even regret actually making the move to Sydney and not staying in Newcastle where I knew everyone. I could regret breaking up with old girlfriends or going out with some of them in the first place.

It is because of all those choices and all those decisions that I am where I am today. It is exactly because of all those things that I am the person I am today. I wouldn’t change a single thing, even if I could.

When I look at my journey so far, I see that it was my decision to stay in Newcastle as long as I did that helped me find permanent work in the media industry. I worked long hours for a pittance, but it was through that experience that I learned many of the skills I still rely on today. It was my decision to leave my baby-obsessed first girlfriend that prevented me ending up a teenage father with no job training or prospects and it was my decision to leave my first band that saw me end up best mates with the very drummer that caused me to quit in the first place – a friendship that ensures to this day 15 years later.

Even as I’m writing this, I realise that this was pretty similar advice that was handed down to me on more than one occasion by older, wiser folks when I was growing up. Sadly it wasn’t something that immediately sank in to my thick head. I had to figure it out for myself.

In many ways I think that even the smallest iota of wisdom needs to be earned by living, but I’ve met so many people who profess to regret things in their life or ‘wish’ they’d something a different way.

There are countless more examples that I could give you from my life, and I’m sure you’ve all got just as many of your own – probably more interesting than mine. Just try taking those things in your memory that make you cringe, shudder or cry and find a way to turn them into learning experiences – don’t let them remain something that holds you down or holds you back. It’s pointless and we could all achieve so much more if we kept looking forward instead of backward.

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