Regrets are senseless. Forethoughts I couldn’t possibly have. Wisdom I can’t have yet learned. All I know is what I feel right now, all I can act on are the urges of my gut feelings, compelled forward by what I know is true and what seems to be right. All I know right now is that I would’ve rather slept next to you last night than go home. And maybe that makes me a bad person, I don’t know. I’ll accept the judgement of history. I can’t concern myself with the feelings that will emerge when it’s far too late for me to do anything about them, I’ll drive myself to madness.
My map is laid out in the beating of my racing heart, in the dark urges of my lapping mind, in the things I know to be true in some intrinsic, intangible place. And I follow it precisely. I do, after many hard lessons learned, exactly what it compels me to. But I don’t believe that it eliminates me from rueful choices. I am as erroneous and fatuous as the rest of them. No, I am not assured a future free of wrong turns. I am simply assured the fortitude to make them in the first place. The steadfastness to sleep at night. The affirmations that I did the best I could, given the circumstances.
And so, for my way of life, regrets are senseless. I can always do better. And so I shall. I’m all too aware of the fatal flaws in my emotionally driven life. How could I possibly be certain that my choices are correct or that I won’t one day wish I’d chosen differently? What a pointless question. In “The Left Hand of Darkness”, Ursula K. Le Guin writes: “To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.”
I think many others are expecting me to feel certain ways. And maybe so am I. But emotions are the least reliable of all our pawns. They don’t spring when you expect them to, they ambush when you think you’re alone. I grasp for them in a place that feels numbed by exposure. I’m sure they’re out there. But I can’t summon them at will and I can’t parade them for the benefits of others. I can only tell you what I am now.