As a new year beckons and another decade turns, it's that time of the year again when many of us go through the annual ritual of self-reflection...and perhaps, regret?
I try to live my life without regret, not because I'm a particularly cautious person, but because I see little use in bemoaning things I cannot change or recant. I prefer instead to learn from hindsight, acknowledge the slipups and hope to not make the same mistakes again.
Unfortunately, with the increasing accessibility to technology and speed of the Internet, it has become so easy to say or do things we will soon regret.
Tiger Woods, no doubt, has much to feel sorry about this year. While his failure to keep his, erh, manhood in his pants hardly surprises me, I am astonished that a guy who spent two years in Stanford University was foolish enough to leave a long trail of tech-imprinted evidence that clearly disclosed his infidelity.
Woods and alleged mistress No. 2, Jaimee Grubb, reportedly exchanged over 300 SMS messages during their 31-month affair, some of which included lusty conversations between the two. Surely the golfer must know Grubb, rather than delete them dutifully, would retain the love notes as souvenirs to be used later during her 15 minutes of fame?
Thanks to technology and the Internet, it has never been this easy to say and do things in the heat of the moment, only for us to regret them moments later.
I recently watched a documentary on cyber bullying in the U.S. that was allowed to escalate to a level that led to the suicides of several teens. These young minds were taunted by their peers not only at school, but also in online chatrooms, social networking sites and blogs.
Despite repeated pleas from their victims to stop the torment, the cyber bullies felt no guilt and continued their abuse. It was only when the tortured souls saw death as their only way out did their cyber bullies eventually feel remorse. By then, of course, it was too late for any regret.
And it shouldn't just take a major culmination like death to serve as reminder that we should never take life for granted, it's the little things too that matter. How often have you sat at a dinner table with friends, only to have everyone staring into their smartphones instead of having meaningful conversations about how their day has been?
Before reaching for your iPhone at your next dinner date, ask yourself first if you're allowing technology to distract you from an experience that you'll one day regret missing.
So, as we bid farewell to 2009 and welcome 2010, I wish one and all a new year of little regret, and leave you with these words from American author Mercedes Lackey: "If only. Those must be the two saddest words in the world."