Have you ever hijacked a ferry? I don’t know you, but suspect the answer’s no. Recently, however, a woman from Devon in the UK did just that. You might not have insisted you were a pirate and taken over a ship’s wheel, but we all have our, what shall we call them? Moments. Times when we say or do things we live to regret.
On Wednesday, 23 October 2019, The Telegraph reported a woman who “stole a passenger ferry and crashed into boats shouting ‘’I’m Jack Sparrow’’ has been jailed.”
Alison Whelan, 51, was “high on drink and drugs” at the time — a losing combination in her case. You might think her actions shocking, but what surprises me most is they report she was on a Lambrini bender, and this make of wine has a very low alcohol content. The consumption of the beverage in my youth never led to any illegal adventures.
Have I ever done anything regrettable? You bet — not in the sense I have remorse about the veritable life lesson offered — but in a ‘that wasn’t a good idea’ kind of way. And perhaps you have too.
Events people regret the most
The most serious of regrets anyone has are likely to stem from not saying or doing important things, perhaps, rather than what they’ve actually said or done.
Not telling a loved one how special they are to you when you had the chance, for instance, might play on your mind forever more if the opportunity goes forever.
I now regret, along similar lines, not staying with my cat when he was put to sleep years ago. I was in floods of tears, and imagined my sobbing more distressing to my beloved feline than a calm vet inserting a needle to end his distress, since he was terribly ill.
I wouldn’t leave him in such a moment if I had the chance to do it all again.
At other times, people say they regret getting involved with partners who let them down or turn out to be a bad match. Personally, I class such events as springboards for a better future. After all, each so-called mistake paves the way for happier couplings to follow.
It’s likely, too, we are attracted to relationship mismatches when there’s a lesson in the offing. If you repeatedly follow a similar pattern, for instance, meeting partners who treat you badly, life is re-sending the experience to give you the chance to find your voice and self-esteem. Once you do, you spot bad eggs a mile away and stay clear.
How to manage your regrets
Whether you’ve momentarily imagined you were Jack Sparrow and taken over a ferry, wish you hadn’t teamed up with an unsuitable partner, or find another of your past behaviors questionable, it’s smart to deal with your regrets.
The first thing I do, when I find my mind wandering back to an event I could have handled better, is read between the lines. What, for example, was life trying to tell me that I didn’t know?
In the case of ferry hijacker Alison Whelan, perhaps it was saying “stay away from all alcohol, because if Lambrini can make you do this, goodness knows what a stronger wine will do.”
I jest. She also consumed deadly nightshade which causes hallucinations. Most importantly, the experience was, no doubt, a wake-up call. No one goes on a bender unless there’s a problem. Even if they copy drunken friends, there’s a particular reason they don’t adopt a healthier practice instead of one that might lead to ill-health and other bad choices.
The most significant point to note is we learn all the time, and we do so via our gaffes. If you discover why you did something regrettable by looking beneath the surface of events, you’ll learn the life lesson under your nose faster than if you don’t examine what festers.
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Copyright © 2019 Bridget Webber. All rights reserved