Life is strange. The most meticulous of plans sometimes come apart or a poorly thought out tactic sometimes works wonders. One has to account for the vagaries of random chance. And after a particularly disappointing outcome, we often think, “If only”…
“If only I had studied a little more”, thinks the boy who failed a test. “If only I had spoken more confidently”, feels the person who has been rejected after an interview. Life is filled with us asking such hypothetical questions. But the most important lesson to learn is, shit happens. Not everything you wanted comes to you. If it did, life would be so boring. To experience the joy of victory, it is critical that we first face the agony of defeat.
You will get hurt in life. You will be loved by some, more than you can ever imagine and some will hate you for what you did to them. There will be those who will never forget you and those who will never forgive you. Life is about learning how to be happy and make others happy as best as you can and somewhere, you will fall short. You will achieve many things which you thought impossible, yet you will utterly fail at some of the simplest tasks put to you.
Some things which were once unacceptable to you will become an essential part of your identity. And you will lose people. You will move on and forget some of your best friends. But you will make others. You will forget the passions you once had but you will find newer ones. You will learn to love and you will learn to hate. You will realize that you were not as great as you once thought you were and you will be reminded time and again that you are mortal. Your idols will fall from their lofty pedestals and you will look up to people you once held in contempt. Because you will change. You will change because you will keep saying “If only…..”. And it’s part of being human.
As Achilles says, “The Gods envy us. They envy us because we are mortal and every moment might be our last. Everything is more wonderful because we are doomed.” Learn from your regrets and live free of the guilt. Life is not about constantly asking yourself, “If only…”. It’s about the moments where you don’t have to ask that question.