By Nanci Dixon
I come across the question “What do you regret?” many times on the Facebook groups I belong to, but it’s such an open-ended question that it’s hard to answer. Many times the question is from people considering taking the leap to full-timing. But it can also come in the form of “What do you regret getting rid of?” Or, “Do you regret selling the house?” “Do you regret not having family close by?” “Do you regret leaving your job?”
Each time I see that question it causes a few moments of reflection. What do I regret? What good are regrets anyway? Can regrets cause change?
Do I regret selling the family house? Nope, not at all. Do I want another house? No, not at all! Do I want non-ending house cleaning, shoveling, raking, repairs? No. Tied down to one location? No, no and no!
Do I regret the permanence of an address, a place I can say I live when asked? We have the whole world, or at least the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as our address. How exciting! One day our address is Yosemite and one day it is a regional park in the mountains. One day north and one day south, east or west.
Do I regret getting rid of almost all our stuff?. We still have too much stuff and I need to clear out a few more clothes and lots more tools. Do we really need 10 screwdrivers? I only regret getting rid of a few items and only occasionally when I find we need it. But, I always look at that need as an opportunity to go on a rare shopping trip.
About the stuff: I did squirrel away one box of memories, my mom’s china, our photo albums and a container of our most memorable Christmas ornaments in a dormer at the family cottage. My sisters do mention it every once in awhile, but I stay firm on pretending the boxes take up no room at all.
Do I regret not having family and friends close by? I miss family and friends, but missing is a different question from regret. Missing means that I have a warm feeling for the people and places I’ve been before, memories that I treasure. Regret is not warm, regret does not heal, regret usually doesn’t get a do-over.
In the end, I really only regret the things I had a chance to do and didn’t, and I am so glad we won’t regret making the breathtaking leap and embracing this exciting, wonderful, sometimes challenging full-time lifestyle.
If someone asked you, “What do you regret?” or “Do you have any regrets?” how would you answer?