The potential to miss our biggest and best opportunities is part and parcel of life. It’s finite nature, our mortality, is what makes life worth living to the absolute full. Knowing I have missed past opportunities, and could let future chances pass me by, fuels my ambition and makes me work harder to achieve the things I want to.
I know only too well the feeling of wistful regret that comes with wishing I had said something that was on the tip of my tongue, but failed to say when the moment arose. I had an experience fairly similar to that of Disney’s Paperman recently:
There is certainly something to be said of the beauty of stories like this. In fact, unrequited love has long been my most coveted element of a good story. It’s that tinge of agony clouding the happiness of my favourite literary characters that I adore – Lyra and Will’s love story is made so much more urgent by their ending, sitting on the same bench in Oxford’s botanical gardens in two distinct worlds.
But how does it feel in reality? Not so good. Even after the most minor of encounters, I can’t help regretting what went unsaid and undone. I wrote about this experience recently for Aliljoy. My good friend and editor took inspiration from one of our favourite Sex and the City episodes. Click through to read my article here: Shoulda Woulda Coulda.