Regrets have no place in the present

“It’s not just other people we need to forgive. We also need to forgive ourselves. For all the things we didn’t do. For all the things we should have done. You can’t get stuck on the regrets of what should have happened.”Mitch Albom

My wife and I are in the process of planning a trip to New Jersey.

New Jersey you might ask? Of all the places in the world to visit?

We spent the first 39 years of our lives there. That’s where we met, got married, bought our first home and countless other memories too numerous to mention. But beyond that, when we moved to Colorado almost two years ago, the most difficult thing to leave behind were some truly amazing people we were fortunate enough to share our lives with.

While my wife is pretty excited about returning, I find myself feeling slightly apprehensive.

For starters, it was difficult enough to say goodbye the first time, to have to do it again is not something I’m looking forward to. The other reality is not all of my memories of the Garden State are happy ones. And while moving across the country certainly does not make you forget, the old saying “out of sight – out of mind” certainly applies here.

I feel like I’m trapped in a popular fiction novel, where the main character is forced to return to his hometown after an extended absence to face his demons once and for all. Okay, maybe I’m being a tad dramatic here, but you get the point.

But as Albom says, I’m starting to realize that you can’t allow yourself to get “stuck” on the regrets – what we didn’t do and should have done are meaningless now. All we can do is change what happens next.

Rainer Maria Rilke once said, “Perhaps somewhere, someplace deep inside your being, you have undergone important changes while you were sad.”

Yes, going back means reliving the wounds of our past – the sadness we once felt. But it also means embracing the invaluable relationships which continue to stand the test of time and distance.