Regret is truly one of the worst feelings known to conscientious man – and the regret of something not done or opportunities/risks not taken is the worst kind.
It’s so bad that some people – myself included – try to organize their lives to minimize regret. But there’s a good argument to be made that if you hate regret, you should hope to feel regret quickly and often.
We all dread the idea of feeling regret on our deathbed, or at least in our later years, but a regret like that (if it emerged at all) would be coming far too late to be of any use. Most of the real life regrets that haunt us in our later years happen in how we spend our earlier ones. To feel this regret only in twilight would result only from willful blindness.
The only way to see the things that will cause us regret later in life is to feel the regret now – to see that even if our mistakes are only of a few months or a few years, they are already costing us tragically. If we allow ourselves to feel that regret, we might choose a different path. And we might then find at the end of our lives that the regret was small and easily dealt with – or we might forget the regret altogether.
All it takes is vision, and a clear understanding of how fast the time goes and how precious each moment is. The clearer your understanding becomes, the more regret you will feel for the ways you are wasting time. But don’t despair: this is a sign of development. If you allow the micro-regrets to change you now, you won’t be stuck with the life-regret on your deathbed.