Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Personal Regrets

Everyone has something that troubles them, a missed opportunity or a life decision that they'd like to change.  Anyone who says they have no regrets are lying, either to you or to themselves, with rare exception.  The vast majority of people can point to something in their life and think, "I wish I'd done that," or "I wish that could've been different."  Some are our own choices, and some are simply the way the cards were dealt.

Most of the regrets in my life seem to have been beyond my ability to change them.  The things that happened were influenced by those around me and my own personality, and it was next to impossible to create a different outcome.  Such is the way with regrets; they are often inevitable, but we would like to dream of what might have been.

In my own life, the greatest regret I have is not knowing my extended family better.  I had only limited contact with my father's family over the years, and while I did have a few insightful conversations they were far too infrequent, and I never really got to know these people.  Much of what I know comes from my father's stories about them, and in some respects I realize it might be better that I am left wondering, for to know these disparate people better could mean liking them less.  Dispelling the myth and mystery would probably destroy the more romantic concepts of familial bonds.  Still, it leaves a regret that I didn't have the opportunity to find out.

I suppose some of this regret comes from growing up in a community where there are a lot of big families.  In Robbinston, you have several sizeable clans, each with dozens of cousins and many more distant connections.  Growing up, I was very much alone around here, and it left me with a lingering wonder about my own ancestry.  I suppose that is the main impetus behind my genealogical research.

There are other things I regret, to varying degrees, though this is the only real constant.  Other things are more curiosities, or feelings that only crop up every now and then.  So, here's to absent family, and those I'll never know.

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