Most Sunday mornings I hit the gym and then bounce across the street to stock up on disposable masks and a few bottles of my favorite poison, better known as diet soda.
The store owner is a very friendly Middle Eastern gentleman who always makes me feel welcome.
We were chatting about how relatively cool the weather had been lately and I mentioned that it was supposed to rain today.
“It doesn’t matter,” he replied. “It rains, it’s sunny, whatever it is, you should thank God for the day.”
I paused for a moment. Yes, that’s exactly what you do. Instead of complaining or being miserable, you give thanks for being here to see the day.
His timing was particularly important because I was still smarting from some rather unhealthy behavior.
I had gone to Rockaway Beach on Saturday with one of my Meetup groups, something I had not done in over a year thanks to the Covid-19 nightmare.
It took a while for me to actually commit to going as I did my usual self-torture routine of trying to decide if I should go or not.
I had absolutely nothing else going on that day and I’ve had so little contact with humanity outside of my family, but no matter; I turned a a simple yes or no into this monumental decision.
Out to Sea
This is fear, of course, as the comfort zone wraps its tentacles around me and tries to convince me to stay home instead of doing something new.
I finally pressed the Yes button, got up early to catch the ferry from Sunset Park, and met up with some very nice people. I even took a dip in the ocean.
Sounds good, right?
Well, not really. At one point, when I was trying to relax on the beach, I started thinking about my mistakes and poor decisions.
I should’ve been celebrating my moment in the sun—literal and figurative--but I was being pulled away by an undertow of regret. I was 100 yards from the water and I was drowning.
I have spent a lot time focusing on my anger, but I’m starting to see that regret is one of the sneakiest of toxic emotions.
Anger is loud and explosive. It kicks the front door off its hinges and screams at you. But regret is a slow burning enemy that can slide through the cracks.
If rage if a five-alarm blaze, then regret is an electrical fire that burns behind the walls undetected, doing all sorts of damage.
I have a lot of anger management techniques—some of which I actually apply from time to time—but I have been far too lenient with regret.
Just because something doesn’t explode in your face doesn’t mean it can’t hurt you.
I found an article from Psychology Today that lists several techniques about moving on from regret.
One of them is to focus on gratitude, which is what my buddy at the thrift store was talking about this morning. It’s a good place to start.
I looked out my window a few minutes ago and saw that it was raining pretty heavily.
I made sure to thank God.