I believe every single human on earth harbors a regret or two. Since not one person is perfect, that means we're all subject to regrets. No doubt some have fewer...or more...than I do, but regretting something from the past is common among us all.
But what good does the emotion do? Nothing, as far as I can tell, but surely our regrets might teach a lesson so that we don't repeat the action. Even at that, there's no way to duplicate the exact situation.
So, we're left with our regrets. Mine are buried deep in my subconscious, I think, because I live in a kind of Pollyanna world.
"Today will be better than yesterday. Nothing is as bad as it first seems. Unless we have committed a egregious sin, then all is trivia on which we don't need to dwell."
Wow, this sounds good. However, it doesn't work in reality.
We still regret.
While cleaning out our attic and ridding it of useless items, I saw dim writing on top of one of the seven boxes of Mason canning jars.
"For Celia. Six qts pickles, six qts black-eyed peas." Mother always sent food home with us when we returned to Houston.
I confess, because I regret, that I told Mother I did not want to learn how to can black-eyed peas. This was in 1969, and I was a young bride. She insisted we go pick a bushel full of the peas, shell them, and spend the rest of the day canning them in Mason jars.
No, I told her. I don't want to. It would take all day.
Of course, she became angry and told me one day I'd need to can food, but I wouldn't know how.
My curt answer was that I would buy peas in a can from the supermarket.
Did she really want me to learn to can peas? I wonder. Now, in my mature years, I believe she wanted to re-connect that good mother/daughter relationship we'd always had as I grew up. I loved my mother, but on that day, I put a crack in that relationship.
As most humans, I've done things I wish I hadn't, whatever the degree of negative behavior. If you're human, you will make mistakes and some will hurt someone else.
Some regrets are wishing we'd done something earlier, better, longer, or stronger. People have asked me over the years if I regretted getting married at barely age eighteen, and wished I'd gone to college first. The answer is no. I wanted to go, but my parents had not one cent they could give me to attend college.
Anyway, I was in love and wanted to get married. It all worked out fine, and I believed I made the right choice. I still do. Even though at age twenty-seven, the yearning to go to college became so overwhelming I asked my husband if I could. Yes, dear ones, I asked. We had two pre-school children, and the decision had to be a mutual one. Since I worked while he finished his last year of his bachelor's, he said yes, we'll work it out.
And we did. The four years were not easy, but they paid off in the end.
My regret? I probably did not pay enough attention to my children. Yet, they grew up very well, very accomplished, and worthwhile adults. We're so proud of them.
Regrets. Oh, I could list dozens, but they're mainly trivial, not life-changing or earth-shattering. But the thing about canning those peas sticks with me to this day.
One day I'll figure out why this is so important to me.
Why did I turn down my mother? I could have picked, shelled, and canned those peas very easily. But I chose not to.
And I made her angry.
She was angry at me for many years afterwards, too. But I've realized she was angry at the world...not just me. And so, I try to forgive myself of that one transgression.
The subject of regrets comes in handy when writing romance novels. I love to create a character who regrets one thing or another, and maybe that regret makes him/her angry, unhappy, stand-offish, or even intolerant.
Using that bit of knowledge, I can then make the plot revolve around that character trying to overcome his regrets and move on...meet a woman...fall in love...become a better person.
Sigh....a love story in the making.
In Texas Blue, Marilee Weston regrets turning down Buck Cameron's proposal. She feels inadequate, insecure, and inappropriate to become the wife of Buck Cameron, the town's shining star, a young man from a respected family.
In Texas Promise, Dalton King regrets hurting his wife by leaving for a year to work the western part of the state as a peace officer.
In Texas True, Sam Deleon regrets he does not know how to love a woman with his heart and take care of her.
In the fourth upcoming book, Texas Dreamer, Lee King regrets running away from home at age 14, leaving his wonderful family wondering where he is and if he's still alive.
Lee King is the younger brother of Dalton King. He learns that Dalton is one of the richest men in Texas because of his oil production companies and oil refineries in Houston. Why does Lee now look for part of his family? Because, by a stroke of good luck, he owns a huge ranch west of Fort Worth and oil has been discovered there. He seeks out his brother for business advice only, but on that trip to Houston, Lee receives much more than good advice.
The fourth Texas