We all have them.
It’s only human.
But regretting those regrets is not O.K.
I regret not becoming a helicopter pilot.
I always wanted to, ever since I was a child.
You know, the person with a chest-mounted walkie-talkie, flying into the mountains for search-and-rescue operations.
That kind of pilot.
How cool would that be?
But guess what — I think I will go my entire life and never actually do it.
I will regret that.
I’ll regret never learning to build a wagon wheel, never restoring an old Land Rover and never installing my own solar panels (though I still hold out hope that I may get to that one).
I could reel off a hundred more things that I want to do, but most likely won’t.
Again, that’s O.K.
What I want to avoid is the compounding effect of regretting those regrets.
Because there is nothing regrettable about having them in the first place.
In fact, regrets are the sign of a well-lived life.
Just imagine what a life with no regrets would look like.
It would mean you never screwed up, that you never had to make tough choices and that you were never limited by time, energy or money (which basically means you’re really Superman).
While that kind of life may sound nice at face value, just pause for a second to think about what it would mean.
If you never screwed up, you would never learn.
If you never made tough choices, you would never have been interested in more than one thing at a time.
If you never had limitations … well, you’re not Superman, so just forget it.
You can regret your regrets all you want.
But without them, you wouldn’t have lived much of a life.
I know plenty of people who have set the goal to live a life with no regrets.
I think I have even seen #NoRegrets on a T-shirt or bumper sticker and I know I’ve caught myself saying it before.
But as of now, I am granting myself permission to let go of that goal.
And as self-appointed King of Permission Granting, I am hereby granting permission to you as well.
Go ahead, let go and embrace your regrets!
If you’re having a tough time, it’s O.K. Embracing your regrets is hard to do.
And besides, the last thing I want is for you to start regretting the fact that you are regretting your regrets.
Don’t even get me started on that one.
This article originally appeared in The New York Time