In Others’ Words: A Single Regret

Beth Vogt In Others' Words, lifequotes, quote about identity 6 Comments

A Single Regret 2016

When I was in high school, I was involved in drama, both acting and directing plays. It was always challenging to decide whether to try out for a lead part or a secondary role. And directing? That was a whole other kind of fun.

Once I decided which role I wanted, I had to prep, audition, and then wait for the director to post the list announcing who earned what role. I celebrated when I got the role I wanted. Adapted when I didn’t. And then I dove into rehearsals: memorizing my lines, learning my cues, discovering what my costume would look like.

I loved becoming my character — having the chance to be someone else. And the sound of applause from the audience? Nothing else like it.

There have been times since those high school plays when I’ve played the expected part. Sometimes I heaped the expectations on myself and other times the presumption was placed on my shoulders by someone else. I performed … and waited for the virtual applause. Over and over again.

And then I realized that performing is a lousy way to live.

That realization was hard-won, but so worth the fight to drag myself off the stage of pretense.

Acting a part, especially when it’s dictated by approval-driven expectations, destroys individuality. There’s no chance to be yourself. No, it’s all about being who you have to be or who you think others want you to be. You’re saying the right thing, not the honest thing. You’re playing a part, not being yourself.

I don’t want to look back on my life and wish I’d been someone else. I especially don’t want to look back on my life and realize I hadn’t been me, the person God created me to be.

In Your Words: Regrets cut deep into our heart, don’t they? Is there anything you’d change in your life so that you don’t wish you’d been someone else during your lifetime?

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Comments 6

  1. Being both lazy and this morning quite ill, I will let Edward Arlington Robinson answer in my stead…

    Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
    We people on the pavement looked at him:
    He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
    Clean favored, and imperially slim.

    And he was always quietly arrayed,
    And he was always human when he talked;
    But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
    ‘Good-morning,’ and he glittered when he walked.

    And he was rich – yes, richer than a king –
    And admirably schooled in every grace:
    In fine, we thought that he was everything
    To make us wish that we were in his place.

    So on we worked, and waited for the light,
    And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
    And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
    Went home and put a bullet through his head.

    1. Post

      I remember reading this poem back in high school and being shocked by it.
      I never forgot it.
      It was eloquently and brutally honest.
      How many people live and die like that? Because they are living one way … and inside they are someone else entirely?
      We grieve suicide … and oftentimes there are the statements of “I had no idea.”
      And how many times do we allow ourselves to “glitter” when we walk and talk … when inside we are aching and crying?

  2. I wish I hadn’t taken so long to figure out who I am. If I’m not careful, I’ll begin to wallow in regret.

    But I believe God is in control of my life no matter where I am or who I am. I have to think that God used all those years of wandering to make me who I am, so I can minister to those who have done the same.

    Regret should be a catalyst for change, not a mirror in a closet.

    1. Post

      So well said, Angie.
      “Regret should be a catalyst for change, not a mirror in a closet.”
      Such a profound truth.
      And sometimes it takes knowing God, embracing His truth and the truth of who He says we are, to help us figure out who we are. And the timeline of that is different for everyone.

  3. I have many regrets, but would I change anything in my life? On the surface it sounds good, but when you go back and change something, you lose what you have right now, because the sum total of who you are right now is your past. And I like who I am and my relationships in the present.

    1. Post

      There’s wisdom in what you say — and it makes me think of the TV show, The Flash. Barry Allen, who is The Flash, can go back to the past and change events. But when he does that, he also changes the future — he just doesn’t know how his actions affects the future. It’s been interesting to watch his (fictional) choices and see the fallout of them. That said, I think we all need to be making choices that are true to ourselves — and hopefully we are becoming our more true selves more and more as we mature.

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