I have been at a loss for words or more specifically, the right words for the last two weeks. Certainly, I have been busy juggling - I presented at a large New Jersey lawyers conference to hundreds of attorneys continuing their educations; I put the final touches on my novel, Queen Makers and created a loose publicity time line with my amazing publicist; I am creating programming for yet two more conferences; and I have been rehearsing for my upcoming recital in addition to shuffling my little peanut to her dance rehearsals and social engagements.
To add to that, this Monday, I suffered a rather surprising and debilitating injury to my right eye. Naturally, I chose to share my misfortune with my friends and family on social media because, dammit, I wanted sympathy and also I needed a public announcement that a) I couldn't see, b) whatever people were asking of me would have to wait and c) I could use a ride...anywhere.
For those of you who need a good laugh, I took a tennis ball in the eye - directly in my eye. Literally, did not see it coming. Gives "keep your eye on the ball" a whole new meaning. Terribly embarrassing and worse, painful. Although my vision is still quite blurry, turns out I will live and hopefully see just fine once this steroid wonder-drug kicks in.
In between the busy stuff and temporary blindness, during those rare quiet moments, I have been thinking about regrets. I have more of them than I did a year ago and they haunt me. It is unnerving. And I'm not including rushing the net for a volley in the eye as a regret, yet.
I was a big, big fan of "Ally McBeal" when it was on television. One of the lines I adopted was "bygones." The character, Richard would say something off the cuff or without diplomacy and follow the statement with "bygones." So, for whatever reason, I picked up the phrase. It became a way for me to articulate that I had moved passed a particular issue or that I didn't really care that someone was spreading rumors about me, for example. "Really? She said that about me? Huh. Well, bygones." Everyone deserves a free pass once in a while, right?
One of the reasons I have been able to live with so few regrets is my deep and full mental adoption of letting go. Not always forgiving and forgetting, but more like a refusal to spend too much energy worrying about negative events or people. Of course, I don't ignore bad things or bad people, but bygones had become my way of looking ahead and moving on.
The last few weeks have been a challenge to my bygone methodology. My regrets came upon me like that contagious stomach virus I suffered through in March - suddenly, violently and traumatically. All of a sudden, I was faced with all of the consequences of decisions I made all at the same time. Trying to tackle them all at once became impossible because one seemed to feed off another. I couldn't offer "bygones" to anyone or any thing because I couldn't see the other side of the problem. I was unable to push forward.
Instead of trying a little harder to move on, I went with plan B; listen to Adele records (yes, I said records. Of course I have her on vinyl), sing loudly and pretend all of the demons attacking my well being never existed. I wished them away. I wished X never happened; I wished I never met Y; I wished I never said Z; I wished I hadn't gone to A; I wished I hadn't done B... Poof! None of it ever happened. Automatic bygones. No need for regrets. No need for overly solicitous apologies. Just moving on.
Well, plan B is a failure. First of all, some Adele songs are kind of hard to sing. I just don't have her range - even in the shower where I am a true rock star. But second, I realized I can't really wish away this pack of regrets because they aren't true regrets. They - the events, the people involved - are actually the catalysts to the changes coming in my life. Without the most recent chaos in my life disrupting my status quo, I wouldn't have moved toward this goal of a more satisfying and fulfilling life. I would have continued marching forward in quiet misery, disregarding my most basic emotional needs.
I don't want to wish any of it away after all. I'm not willing to hand out free passes this time either. I am willing to close the door - I'm not throwing away the key so fast, but the door is closed so that I can open the next one. I may be half blind, but I'm smarter. I'm stronger and in the musical words of Elle Woods, "I feel so much better than before." Bygones.