I’m starting to really accept the fact that everything in life is a matter of give-and-take. Compromises are tough but necessary. We make decisions in everyday situations that lead us down different paths…and sometimes we regret them. But regret is a mechanism that we blame too often for our faults and our hesitations and regret blinds us from the truth of reality. Rather than regret, it’s better to simply embrace the nuances of it all.
I could have been at a Christmas Party today with my cluster. They’re a bunch of nice, warm people who invited me, a stranger younger than all of them, with such warm open arms. I could have been singing Christmas carols and be sharing verses with them. I could have been connecting, forming deeper friendships with them.
But I didn’t. I backed out at the last minute because I was scared I would feel out of place, because I just didn’t feel like going all the way across Singapore.
Choosing not to has resulted in a divergence in my reality. When I look at the photos they had sent into the group chat, I feel a pinch of regret as ‘what-if’s set into my mind.
But do I really truly regret it? Nah.
I sacrificed this opportunity and yet gained a memorable time with my family. Christmas feasting around that familiar red table, followed by endless rounds of poker. Bumping shoulder to shoulder because the children in my family are growing bigger day by day, and so is the family. We can almost barely fit. So much ‘shh’s going around, because we are all trying to share stories and it’s too loud and we’re scared we’ll annoy our neighbours. So much laughter, oh, the laughter. Fits-inducing, belly-trembling, tears-rolling-down-the-cheeks. Love. Warmth. Acceptance.
Really thinking about it, either path would have been a great experience. It’s really all about perspective.
While I was watching an episode of my drama and a cheesy scene came on screen, I felt a pang of sudden loneliness attacking me from the side. Here, before me was a bunch of girlfriends having the time of their lives. And here I was, lying in bed.
And then, as if my doubts had been heard, Maddy and Shirlyn simultaneously texted me respectively, waking me from my trance. It was soon followed up by my cluster group wishing me Merry Christmas and including me into more meet-up sessions. I smiled at their concern, their excitement, as we formed more plans to hang out. Maddy, for a nature walk. Shirlyn, for our own home concert. Cluster, for Christmas Round Two.
That pang of loneliness was suddenly seized and replaced by gratitude.
Life is a give-and-take.
Life offers you chances, but I believe none of them will lead you to a dead end. There are only longer routes and shorter routes, but if you remain true to your most authentic self, everything will turn out okay.