So let’s settle down for one of those reflective posts that this space is becoming known for, the ones where I illustrate where something went wrong, I’m sure you’re familiar with them. This one feels like it’s needs to be accompanied by a cuppa and a piece of cake, but maybe that’s just because I have both beside me as I nestle under my blankets. The cake, by the way, was generously provided by my darling friend Chris at the end of a pretty terrible day.
Ah today, that day, the day that inspired this post. Today, Monday, was less than ideal. It started okay, but around lunch time I received some disappointing news and it took a nosedive from there. Fast forward a few hours and you would find me sat on the floor of the library bathrooms, sobbing. The incident that inspired the body heaving tears was nothing more than a cup of coffee landing specularly all over my diary, soaking my organised life with Starbucks liquid sweetness. The upside of this is that my beloved diary smells like my favourite coffee, the downside is the stained remains of my pride and joy. Yes, this is how seriously I take my diary. My busy life would not function without it.
Anyway, I digress. The disappointing news at the beginning of the day, which made all the minute annoyances between it and the coffee fuelled fiasco so much worse, was a class choice that I had set my hopes on, one in Buenos Aires. I had mistakenly thought that seniority would win, and instead I find myself spending the month of January here, in Abu Dhabi, albeit with a little trip to Sri Lanka at the end. Now I know that it is ridiculous to despair over this disappointment, for in the grand scheme of things I am lucky. I know this through and through. Furthermore I have done the disappointment post, which came in handy when I reread my own words of advice in an effort to work through these feelings. No, this post is titled towards the world of regrets.
Why regrets, I hear you ask. Well if you cast your mind back to my Ghana days, when I questioned whether it was really the right choice for me, I was secretly wondering if I should have instead chosen the Argentinian study abroad option. I have long loved Spanish, but by the time this had occurred to me it was too late. No matter, I thought, I shall still have a shot at a study abroad experience in the beautiful city. So today, when faced with the reality of my final class away, I came to realise that this will never come to be. Studying Spanish in Buenos Aires isn’t a path for me anymore. I hate to admit the feelings of regret that this drew up deep within me. What would have happened if I hadn’t have gone with Accra?
You've got to make the most of the life that you're given.
Of course there is little point thinking this way. Throughout my time here I have done the best with where I am at and who I am, academically and emotionally. But knowing that this isn’t a helpful line of thinking doesn’t quite stop that trickle of thoughts. What if? What if? What if?
In other parts of my life I recently had the chance to put an old regret to bed. For three years I had lamented that I hadn’t fought harder for the most significant relationship of my life. It’s a long time to spend with those thoughts sitting inside, and so I had sort of made peace with it, but to hear from the other person that we did the best we could with where we were at was liberating. We probably couldn’t have changed the course of fate, not without it coming at a serious cost to either or both of us, and it certainly would have hampered my experience of this place. Finally I can see this as the whole truth. As sad as the situation was, and as much as I still miss him, we can’t regret it.
And so I can’t regret this either. There is a reason here, somewhere. What is not exactly clear to me yet, perhaps it will never be, but I have to find a way to make the most of the path chosen for me. In truth this is not too hard, now that I have had my fifteen minutes of feeling the feelings. It is an incredible class that I have been given - a fiction writing workshop with an author who also writes for the New York Times. He has guest taught me in other classes and I know what an amazing professor he is. I can only hope that my writing improves, and I will have a fun three weeks immersing myself fully in the writing process. When else will I have such a dedicated opportunity just for writing, a passionate side hobby of mine. Plus, did I mention that we’re going to Sri Lanka?
So perhaps it is easy for me to have no regrets, or perhaps it is just my mindset. The love one, after all, is anything but easy, and yet it’s the outcome that makes me happiest. Maybe that’s the real secret to this no regrets lark. If you can’t change it, change how you feel about it.. isn’t that what they say? It’s not the easiest course of action, but then the most satisfying ones rarely are. It is, however, the choice that will keep you feeling good about your life and who doesn’t want that?