How can regrets be positive?

I read somewhere that if you are going to write about regrets, and missed opportunities, you have to put a positive twist on the matter, otherwise people will get bummed. I couldn’t quite believed what I’d read. The whole point of a regret is that it’s a negative thing, it’s something that if given the chance, you’d change your actions/decisions etc.

How can you possibly put a positive spin on a regret? How can you turn making a mistake that you can’t possibly change into a good thing? How can I possibly be happy about the fact that I can’t turn back the clock on the last few years and take the opportunities I missed?

Yes I changed from ‘you’ to ‘I’ there. I have plenty of regrets. Mostly from the past 3 years of my life, and my time at University.

Yes, looking back it’s been a pretty good 3 years, and I’m sitting in a fairly comfortable position right now. I got First class honours in my degree, and I’m sure that I will soon be able to get a kickass job from it all. But I can’t help but look back on those 3 years with regret.

Now it’s not entirely my fault. My mental health has been a big block over my time at University. Like many will know it stops you from engaging and wanting to engage, it stops you from doing things you want to, and weeks and months can fly by without a fleeting feeling.

I didn’t drink much at university; and I didn’t socialise much either. Most of the first year I stayed alone in my room in halls, and until second year I didn’t even really make any friends.

Towards the end of final year I had an amazing day with a group of people (which included a lot of drinking), and I sat down in the evening and thought I have missed out on 3 years of this. Now no part of me wanted to drink for 3 years, but I wish I had socialised a lot more, and had spent more days sitting on the grass laughing and drinking.

In the first week of my University life I decided that I wanted to be the course rep for my course, a position within the Student Union. I literally forgot to apply. And the rest is history. One of my friends on my course became the course rep and from there went on to take on many various roles within the union. I wanted to scream “it could have been me!”

I would have probably gone into many of the same roles and without sounding arrogant would have probably been brilliant (not that he wasn’t). As many will know I’m also a big follower and fan of politics, and I would have love to have been involved in the union.

In recent times politics at all levels has become a big part of my life, and something I’m becoming more active in all the time. And this is probably the least substantial of my regrets, but I wish I had become more active earlier, and had done more canvassing, and had met a whole new group of people a lot earlier.

So what’s the point of saying all this? What good does it do? How can I put a positive spin on it all? The answer is that I can’t. I will always likely look back at it all wishing I had done something differently, and taken opportunities.

But I can also use it.

I can make sure that I take all the opportunities right away. I can try to overcome the moments when my mental health weighs me down, and take the world head on. I can go to the Labour party conference in September, meet new people, canvass, get that kickass job, join societies/groups, expand myself and my knowledge, socialise more, do all I missed before.

I guess that’s your positive spin.


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