Memory and Regret

One thing I have tried very hard to do in my young adult life is to lie without regret. Whether I have been successful at this is a matter for debate, of course, but the theory has been in place. I cannot change anything about my lived life up to this point. I can change what I feel about my past, I can change what I learn from those experiences, but nothing I do can ever alter the experiences themselves. Therefore (my reasoning goes) any energy ā€” emotional, spiritual, psychic, or otherwise ā€” expended on feelings of regret over choices made is that much energy wasted; it can do nothing but make my current lived experience worse.

But it is one thing to stick to this kind of philosophy when one is in a live-for-the-now mode; in the process of trying to write a memoir, however, one is dwelling in the past, and dwelling upon all the good and ill aspects thereof. How is one to avoid regret in such an exercise? Is it possible, or is it even advisable? Perhaps regret is an important ingredient in the memoir recipe?

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