“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much… The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.”
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Typically when we write about time in a romantic way it’s to describe its fleeting nature: Time is finite, irreplaceable and escaping.
Recently I’ve come to think the opposite. For most of us, the passing of time helps us see things in a different light; It helps us recover from trauma and pain; It helps us save what we want to, forget what we want to; It changes how we perceive our own lives.
More time can be a wonderful elixir for regret, which is simply sadness at the passing of time. Whether we regret something we said, did, or didn’t do more time would allow us to correct our mistakes (or so we think). But to live life with regret is itself regrettable.
In recent years I’ve come to love the music of John Prine, who sadly passed away in 2020. But while many of his songs are tinged with sadness, there is hope in “I Remember Everything” which describes brief periods in his life.
Got no future in my happiness
Though regrets are very few
Sometimes a little tenderness
Was the best that I could do…
I remember everything
Things I can’t forget
Swimming pools of butterflies
That slipped right through the net
It’s a pleasant reminder that we can remember all the good in our lives free from regret, if we try.