Usually BoomerCafé’s Ranter-in-Residence Carrier Slocomb tells us what’s wrong. But this time, writing from his home in Maryland, Carrier tells us how to make things right: Get right and grow.
Can I ask you something personal? You’re a baby boomer, which means you’ve lived a long, long time. So the question is, do you have many regrets? If so, do you ever think, “Man, what I wouldn’t give to go back and totally undo such and such”?
What if I told you that you can go back and start undoing such and such? Would you believe me? If you would, then read on. If you don’t, then no worries; BoomerCafe’s got a terrific selection of Entrees to choose from, so just sit back and enjoy our friendly, eclectic atmosphere. Your server will be right over.
Still with us? Good! Actually, when you parse the onion, we’re very similar. You and I grew up watching the same fuzzy black and white TV shows, breathed the same secondhand smoke, and grew to accept nuclear annihilation before we turned twelve. For the longest time, we believed everything adults told us, and we accepted what the government said too.
And then what? We stopped believing and we rebelled and dressed up in loud, funny clothes and did the opposite of what those over us expected, right? It was such an unusual revolt, they even allocated us our own era -– The Sixties. Sure you were there; I’m pretty certain I saw you.
But the point is, we’ve been around the block a couple of times since then. Lucky us, we’ve been around so long, we now have regrets. To be honest, the old people were right;they even named the most likely regrets we’d have because being older, they knew. While I’m no therapist, I do know this: isn’t it time we left these anchors behind? Give ourselves a shot at relief and peace?
To cut loose from your balls and chain, you should first name your regrets. Besides not having enough money put aside for retirement, maybe you regret not giving that special person in your past a second chance? Or having said no to a remarkable job opportunity, or a once-in-a-lifetime investment.
Are you regretting having made work so damn important that you didn’t make a life? Say your regrets center on your kid(s), a failed marriage, or having foolishly compromised your health? Perhaps you never pursued the arts, became the singer or chef you knew was inside you? No matter, they’re your regrets and they need to go.
What if I told you something the old people did not -– that there are ways to get control of many of your most entrenched regrets. Here’s a common-sense way you can try to get some relief rolling.
Find an old piece of luggage so ridiculously out of fashion that you’ll never use it again. Bring it to your desk and lay it open on the floor. Get out pen and paper and write these lines: “I regret having …” List them. Then write an opposing list: “I regret never having…” And list these as well. Lastly, be sincere; knowing what you now know allows you perfect hindsight, so be totally truthful.
When you’ve exhausted your categories, lock the suitcase, take it out and drop it into your car trunk. You’ve just completed the first phase of this very private ritual.
Stage Two is all about detaching yourself from your regrets. How you get rid of the suitcase is your choice; just don’t go to your favorite dumpster and heave ho. Make itintimate (and only if it’s legal): hike into the woods and toast your regrets over a raging bonfire. Hit the beach and cast them into outgoing surf. Do what I did and leave fascinating reading three feet under for future fossil hunters to discover.
The point of this ritual is to honestly recognize that regrets are ills that cripple us. Harboring emotions associated with regret causes poor health. Getting healthy means facing them head on. Accounting for regrets gives us both the will and momentum to finally cut these disablers loose. But I’m no therapist.
Let’s be frank, qualified people advisethat you must forgive others in order to release your regrets; that is those you harmed, or who harmed you. Forgive others, they add, and you’ll find the strength to forgive yourself.
Forgiving yourself is at the very heart of this ritual, yet it isn’t easy to do. The advice? Seek out experts and literature on forgiveness — learn how to rid yourself of regrets so you can finally live. The essential message being, we’re never too old to grow and get it right.
You’re a boomer, so you likely remember when Lennon said, “Give peace a chance.” He meant worldly conflicts. But still, where regrets are concerned, John’s advice seems amazingly liberating and down to earth.