From now on, I’ll share comments posted by you, dear readers, that have inspired me, in a rubric I’ve generically named “Conversations.” I highly value your insights, and occasionally I’m sure there will be a few that are too valuable to be left buried and forgotten in the comments section, seen by my eyes alone.
I envision this to be a weekly post. There may be irregularities, however, should I fail to sufficiently engage my readers. 🙂
I asked Melissa what she thought of regrets, which Katherine Mansfield describes in her journal:
Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can’t build on it; it’s only good for wallowing in.
Melissa was kind enough to share her inner journey towards the discovery of what she was meant to do: writing.
Sure, regret is a deep desire to change events in the past, mistakes that you’ve made, and it’s pointless to dwell on them since the outcome can’t be changed but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them. If you don’t have regrets then how will you ever grow as a person?
I have regrets, lots of them, things I wish I didn’t say or do but I try to look at them constructively and determine what I should learn from the experience. Even though each mistake was painful at the time, looking back on them, I realize I have gained something from every wrong turn I have taken in my life.
Once I discovered I wanted to be a writer, I thought about this question a great deal. Why hadn’t I chosen English as my major? I had a high school English teacher praise my writing. I placed out of a few English courses in college (although I don’t think that’s uncommon). A college professor asked to share a piece of my writing with future classes.
I reluctantly agreed because I didn’t think it was very good and still don’t.
I bought a book on how to write a novel shortly after I graduated college but never read it until a couple of years ago. I took countless personality tests (I’m an INFP, but sometimes the results showed INFJ1) and “writer” was always listed as a career I should pursue. There were so many signs pointing me in the direction of writing, why did it take me so damn long to figure it out?
I ignored those signs because I doubted my abilities. Doubt: she is a bitch and will try to beat me down on a regular basis but now I have the strength to punch back. I think of the person I was then and I don’t think I had the confidence to persevere in this line of work.
The twenty years I spent in the corporate world, climbing that ladder, dealing with office politics, managing people and the demands of my position changed me tremendously. I grew in confidence and developed a pretty thick skin.
When the thought of writing a story popped in my head (as it had countless times over the years), and Doubt started in with “Me? Write a story? Don’t be silly,” this time I was prepared and responded with, “Why the hell not?”
After writing that first story I had my epiphany. The use of the word seems appropriate here since it practically took a miracle for me to see it. I was meant to be a writer.
I apologize for the long post, Daniel, but as usual, you’ve got me expressing deep thoughts 🙂
Be sure to check, among others, her heartwarming tribute to her husband on Father’s Day.
How about you? Is regret something that holds you back, or helps you grow?
1 For an excellent comparison of INFP vs. INFJ, please visit Psyphics, INFJ vs INFP.↩
Top image by Kira Westland. Used under a Creative Commons license.