On Memorial Day weekend, I was crazy enough to pack the family up and head out to Clinton Lake for a little picnic.

The place was packed. I’ve not seen that many people out at the lake in a long time. We only planned to eat lunch out there and then play around a little, but once we got there Ember, my oldest, saw the beach, and wanted to explore a little further. My wife and I didn’t pack any swimsuits for us or our two girls, but we took off our socks and shoes and walked down the shoreline of the sandy, manmade lake. After a bit of fun, we packed up and headed home, but I told Ember we’d come back to play again in proper form.

Sadly, we never made the time to make it back out. Life got busy for us this summer. We purchased our first house in May, moved in, and then spent a lot of time getting the place ready for my wife to launch her new in-home preschool, Tiny Tykes Playcare.

And before we knew it, the summer was over.

On Sunday, I took my motorcycle out for a ride around Clinton Lake, and decided to stop in at Bloomington Beach where we had picnicked. It was cold and overcast. I spotted a lone sandal, left behind like a talisman for warmer, more enjoyable times. The cold wind coming off the water cut through me. The grey of the sky make the place look bleak. There were only a few others out there, stopping only for a second to see if the bathrooms to open or let their dogs out to run around a bit. They all left quickly, perhaps deciding, liked I did, that the fun times were over for this recreational spot.

I felt terrible, but not from the cold. I was filled with regret that I didn’t make good on my word that we would come back out and enjoy some family time at the lake.

Regret is one of those things that people don’t seem to want to admit they have. You hear it all the time, that familiar phrase, “I’ve lived a life without regrets.” Or perhaps another one, “I don’t have any regrets.”

I think that’s crap.

I have plenty of regrets. I regret how I gave in to peer pressure and failed to treat a half-black biracial classmate with dignity. I reget taking out student loans when I didn’t need to so I could purchase band gear, gaming gear and other stuff that’s long gone. I regret waiting so long to be part of my local community; 10 years to get to know this town more intimately was way too long.

And now I regret not taking Ember back to the lake. Words really cannot adequately express the reget I have about this.

The idea I’m trying to incorporate into my mindset these days is how finite time is. Time cannot be saved to be stored up for a rainy day. Time burns on for each of us until it doesn’t. I’m really trying to be more cognizant of this.

And yet, I won’t shy away from reget. I feel it’s important to embrace the things I wish I would have done differently, with the hope it’ll lead me to make better decisions with the time I have left.

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