Risks and Regrets

I keep telling myself that I have no control over what risks other people are willing to take; because even though you know it’s true, you still feel bad or responsible if something goes wrong. You can’t control a free-willed human being, especially adults, and especially those you have no direct influence on. Even those you do have some influence over, you can give your opinion but you still can’t control what they ultimately decide to do.

And yet I have taken a few risks myself - depending on how you look at it, I might still do - that might have put my life in danger.

Once, after the end of a temporary work, I walked home alone because everyone was busy and couldn’t pick me up. The walk was about a kilometre long and I was followed by a man on a motorcycle halfway through. It was a Friday afternoon and very sunny - a bright sunny afternoon is not something you would associate with danger or terror or horror; I even walked through a graveyard and saw a group of men digging a grave.

Looking back, something could have happened to me; I had to walk through a few quiet streets; I was alone and practically defenceless; and that pursuer in a motorcycle could have done something to me - he did offer me a ride which I declined; those gravediggers, if they were gravediggers, could also have done something… anything - but nothing happened. I did it, the walk, because I didn’t think there was anything to fear; it was and still is a relatively safe neighbourhood; and for the most part of the journey, I did enjoy my walk. But it could have been the most regrettable decision I made.

And then, there was a risk everyone around me was willing to take which I knew would be a mistake. It was everyone against me. The agony of trying to convince everyone and being ignored, while at the same time you felt a life was at stake, was something I had never experienced before. I never felt so lonely. The decision made by the majority resulted in my brother being hospitalised for the third time in a year. Being right was the last thing I wanted to be.

Perhaps the folly of doing something risky is that the repercussions of an action. It doesn’t only affect the immediate future, it affects everything in every little way - and sometimes permanently.

I’m not saying that all risks lead to regrets. When everything goes well everyone is happy.

They say that you regret the most the things you didn’t do. But in real life that isn’t always true; some people are still paying for what they did do. Sometimes it takes one ‘regret’ to change your life profoundly or someone else’s life or end a life.