For some reason that not even I can put my finger on, I have been thinking alot lately about regret. We seem so reluctant to admit that we have any regrets in life, saying things about lessons learned and the movement caused by those actions leading us to better things. And I am one to use these statements, but still I can't say that I have no regrets. As I don't intend to make this a therapy session, I won't get into all of that, but I can see regretting things, and still being able to appreciate the movement that has come from them. I went to see Norman Mailer speak last night at my friendly Union Square Barnes&Noble. In response to a question someone asked him, that I can't remember, he said something along the lines of failures sometimes being more important than successes. In success we often become so euphoric that we miss the importance of things around us, but in failure we absorb alot trying to find a means to move on.
I tend to dwell on things. I'm a ruminator. This makes me good at my job, and at discerning the meaning of world events, and probably alot of other things that require deep and lengthy thought. But it also makes me do silly things like remember fights with friends that occurred nigh on ten years ago, and regret so many things that maybe are not worth regretting. My friend Brian and I have a system referred to as "Cross 'em Off" in which we delete people from our lives. When we retire from our careers, we're going to make millions off the system. Generally the people involved are people with whom we have toxic relationships or with whom a friendship has begun to wane, and cannot be easily resurrected. It includes first deleting this person from phones and address books, then doing away with all correspondence, thus making it impossible for you to attempt to revive the relationship in a moment of weakness. That last step is for me, because, though I am one of the originators of the system, I am slow to complete it. It generally takes me years, people being quickly deleted from my phone, but their e-mails remaining for many years. I was reading another blog today and the writer talks of finding and deleting a particularly difficult set of e-mails and responses, and feeling free of the conflict at last. I long to do this. Most of the people I have had painful e-fights with are still in my life, and are my dearest friends. These conflicts were part of creating these lasting friendships, and this is why I have kept them, to remember what we've been through to get to where we are. But really, do I need to relive it to know that it existed and was important?