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  • Writer's pictureJeremiah Ritchie

500 Words - Day 3: If you could hit the reset button on one area of your life, what would it be?

Do I have regrets? That's what this question is asking. More specifically, what is my biggest regret? What one thing would I change about my life if I could? I know my response immediately. I don't even have to think. It's there like the sun is there in the morning or the way the aroma of coffee hangs in the air for hours after the beans are ground and the water has filtered through the rich powder.

But I hesitate, not sure if I want to put it on the page.

The hesitancy is not because I'll put these words out into the world for anyone to read. It's not because I'm ashamed or embarrassed, though both have been true in the past and I must regularly do the work of self forgiveness and self compassion to ward off such feelings. I hesitate because to reset one thing in my life could mean the destruction of so many other beautiful, magical things in my life that I would not risk for anything.

Our lives are a tangle of trying and failing, of big swings and strikeouts, of pushing into the stream and riding the current, avoiding the hazards as best we can, but often still ending up wet, standing knee deep near the shore with our boat full of water and a bag of soggy pretzels under our arms. It's not all successful ascents up the mountain. Sometimes it's falling fucking flat on our faces, knees skinned and bleeding, small stones stuck to our palms and the dry dust of the path choking in our throats. Life is beautiful and brutal, and there is no way to separate those strands of being. To pull at one is to unravel the whole tapestry.

I will tell you my regret. Will you tell me yours? I regret so many financial decisions, the ways I allowed hurts and pain that were no one's fault to cloud my judgement, drive me to impulse and gratification, to bury my sadness and fear and desire to be worthy beneath student loans and the swipe of a credit card. If I could reset my financial history, if I could go back and teach my young 18-year-old self what was at risk, that's the reset button I'd push.

But I would only do so if I could keep all the lessons I've learned, all the growth that's happened in working my way out of that dark place. I would need to know all the tears I've cried, the helplessness of needing to experience the generosity and grace and love of others. I'd need to know that I would still be the man I am today, the husband and father who I am today, that loves so deeply, that is more aware of his hurts and scars and strength because of all the ways he's had to get back up, helped up by those around him. I'd need to know that those strands of being would be unbroken. I have regrets, but my life as it is, with all of the good and the bad, isn't one of them.

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