Rethinking Regrets (Using Bus Stops)

by Caroline van Kimmenade

I sometimes catch myself thinking: “in retrospect, such and such that I did then wasn’t so useful. A waste of time and money” And once I start down that track, I can usually think of many many ways in which these activities were a waste of time and money.

How silly. Really.

Silly because, would I think that way about backpacking through Europe? Would I retrace all my little steps and criticize myself for taking a cab when I could’ve taken a bus, getting lost when I could’ve asked for directions and getting food poisoning because I was willing to try an unusual dish?

If we’d want to go on an adventurous journey from Paris to a small Russian town (for example), we’d likely travel using a combination of various kinds of transport. Bus, train, hitch-hike, plane (?), walk… and when we arrive at our destination, we’ll be very unlikely to look back at those times we had to walk a few miles of the way (to get to a bus, to catch a lift, to reorient ourselves and ask for directions…) and say: “Man, that was such a waste of time and effort!!” We wouldn’t say that, because we’d realize it was just part of the journey. Sure, the truckride later on was faster and more comfortable, but had we not walked part of the way, we never would’ve been able to get to the gas station from where we were offered the lift. Of course, once you get to your destination you might discover there were many easier or cheaper alternatives. But you only know that because you literally have a different perspective, you are standing somewhere else!

And so it is with many things. Trying to get to “somewhere” it is likely that one “seeming solution” turns out to be no more than a bus stop for the next opportunity to arrive. And one thing, one experience, one experiment, one disappointment, one loss, one gain, leads us to the next part of the journey. It’s all part of getting there. And while, in retrospect, we might have done things differently, that is only because the journey we took got us to a new place, with a new perspective.

(and that too is a place and a bus stop…)


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