We all regret and we should not regret that we regret. I regret buying that pair of pink sneakers that I'll never wear. I can't take the sneakers back but I can call the brother that I regret not speaking to for several months.
Most of us feel a twang of regret in those quiet moments when we wonder what might have been if only we went to a different school, taken the other job, or stuck with that old love that we were to young to appreciate at that time.
To regret is human, despite self-help books that tell us to get over it and move on to a regret-free life. Yet, the point of regret is not to dwell, but to revisit the past to better understand our present.
We might even discover that nothing we could have done would have changed the outcome. We're uncomfortable with regret because it forces us to consider that we may not have much say in how the decisions we make play out. Maybe, we shouldn't assume that life would be better if only we'd made a different choice.
- Jonathan Goldstein - Writer, humorist, and producer of Heavyweight, a podcast by Gimlet Media. He’s a former radio producer for This American Life, and former host of Wiretap on CBC radio.
- Carina Chocano - Author of You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Trainwrecks, & Other Mixed Messages. She is also a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine
- Alice Gregory Journalist and a contributing editor at T. Her writing has appeared in several publications including The New Yorker, The New York Times and GQ. Her articles have been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting and The Best American Travel Writing.
- Darin Strauss - Author of several novels and a memoir, Half a Life, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for memoir in 2011. He’s a clinical professor of Professor of Fiction at NYU’s creative writing program.
Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.