It’s been a rough couple of days for me. I’ve been unfair to a few people in more ways than one. I’ve been unfair to myself as well. I should say that I regret it; I won’t. I don’t. Why? Because, I think regret is a state of vacuum – a grey expanse, if I may say so. It is a stand-in for coherent thought and action. It is during this phase – for lack of a better word, that the unraveled, crestfallen mind begins to gather the fragments from the woe-drenched state and sews them back soundly.
It is during one’s period of affliction that one’s perspective broadens, one sees things sans rose-colored glasses and most importantly picks one of the two – response or repose. This act defines a turning point in most people’s lives. Someone who decides to act with alacrity will no doubt make amends sooner or later and move on stronger, wiser and more content than before.
On the other hand, someone who decides to wallow in misery, reliving the painful moments in his mind incessantly will surely lose focus of reality and his mind will disintegrate into the abyss of delirium. It will take copious amounts of strength and immense concentration on the part of the regret-inflicted soul to make peace with the situation – it may even be too late. Or worse, the person may slip into a curious state where the regret surrounding him will start to conform him existentially. Pining will soothe him. Tears will be his most favored bedfellows. Pain will make him feel alive in a way exultation has never made him feel. Hopelessness will comfort him.
They say it is better to feel pain than to feel nothing at all. I disagree. An existence bordering on apathy is far more acceptable to me than a morbid life run on self-inflicted pain while inching closer to insanity every day. Depression is an illness far underestimated for its potential. Like all things, this potential is also two pronged. If fact and fable alike are to be believed, some of the most erudite work in art, literature, science and philosophy has been churned out during phases of depression and bewilderment.
Though this may appear to be a silver lining, it must be pointed out that on a majority of the occasions the protagonists are either dead and long gone or in no sentient state to reap the fruit of their labor. I mean, I love Van Gogh’s work – ‘The Starry Night‘ evokes melancholy yet, the promise of freedom and serenity in me in terms indescribable – but, I can’t help but wonder would he have been more productive had he been happier? Or would math be radically revolutionary today were it not for John Nash‘s dissolution into delusion post the Nash Equilibrium and the Nash Embedding Theorem? Would Virginia Woolf have affected society with more than ‘A Room of One’s Own‘ and as a result, would it have sparked the proto-feminism movement sooner and thus, made life as a modern woman more successful today?
I agree these are dichotomous questions and we may never know what could or could not have happen – we never do and never will know the future, nor can we predict accurately what could have happened in the past had the equation been tweaked ever so slightly. Chaos theory has a way of creeping up on us and muddling up the best thought out plans and most exhaustive conjectures! However, if a rudimentary comparison is done, I believe those who have been in a happier state of mind have been more productive and their work has created great impact.
In conclusion, I believe regret to be a crossroad of sorts. But, with the caveat that there is one absolute path – one which will definitely lead to closure, renewed vigor and vim, happiness and peace and, the other path which possibly may or may not fork out later to perhaps lead to a better end. I for one, am grateful for this regret I have felt over the past few days and the fact that I have made it to the other side (Quite like the chicken who crossed the street narrowly missing being run over!). As I write this I find myself inching closer to closure and all those wonderful feelings and emotions which propel me higher and higher, one illuminated step at a time.
‘Til next time, then.