Time of Great Regret
Monk Renshō Riding His Horse Backwards (to avoid turning his back on Amida, the Buddha of the western paradise)
c. 1784 by Matsumura Goshun (1752–1811).
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Howard Mansfield Collection, Purchase, Rogers Fund, 1936

I generally call myself a forward thinker, but just lately I’ve been thinking backwards. It’s been a time of Great Regret.

Especially given my recent transplant rejection scare, the last few weeks have been stressful and overly emotional, I’m feeling tired and regretful. And quite frankly, I’m a bit stuck.

When I was planning 2019, I mentioned Dean Wesley Smith’s annual cycle.

  1. Excitement (Jan – Mar), when you dive right in and you’re having a great time, achieving your goals.
  2. Great Forgetting (Apr – Jun), other things become more important, and you just forget to keep up with your goals.
  3. Great Regret (Aug- Sep), you’re looking backwards wishing you hadn’t lost track, and beating yourself up for being so stupid.
  4. Restart (Oct – Dec), you get back on track and get all excited about doing it differently in the new year.

And I’m starting to think he’s right. As we edge into August, I am wishing I hadn’t lost track, or given this post’s illustration, fallen off the horse. And I am beating myself up (a bit) for being so stupid.

So what to do about it…

How to Get Back on the Horse

When I look at all the ways my life sucks right now, it’s overwhelming. You might think the same.

And given I’m tired, I need to generate some excitement and energy, and that’s going to need a little more than magnesium supplementation.

1. Have a tidy up

Not sure about you, but when I get tired and dispirited, one of the first things to fall behind is the cleaning. And Spring is nearly here in the Southern Hemisphere, so it’s about time to think about Spring cleaning anyway.

As well as cleaning and tidying, sit down and write another list of all your unfinished business. You know, all the half-finished stuff; knitting and clothing projects, photo album sorting, the filing, house painting. And then decide if they’re things you still want to finish or whether you can just let them go. And those that are staying need to go in the calendar

2. Review your schedule

In my mid-year review, we saw that I’ve fallen behind in some of my goals. And that I dropped some, revised others, and reprioritised them.

So it’s time to take another look at what the structure of your ideal day might look like. For me, for example, writing in the morning, business administration in the afternoon, and cleaning in the evening.

And how those daily eating, sleeping and moving goals fit within that context.

Then look further ahead with some longer-term goals (like a trip to Korea).

And then put all of them into the planning calendar.

3. Redesign your environment

Part of the fall out from both the transplant scare and review was the need to redesign my space and in particular my working and sleeping environments. And let’s not forget that the garden is still on my agenda.

So I’ll be thinking more about colour and comfort, and how to make this place a better match for my needs right now. And of course, adding that to the calendar too.

4. Start daydreaming again

By which I mean, add some uncommitted time to the schedule – some quiet space for ideas to appear in. They generally avoid people who are too busy or stressed to listen to them.

You could try meditating, or failing that napping. Either way, you’ll be a little less stressed, and a little more relaxed, and ideas love that.

5. Commit to minimising regret

And of course, in order to move on, you have stop giving yourself things to regret. Commit to making a plan to doing all those things you’re regretting not doing, and put it in your calendar.

Give yourself the opportunity to feel content with your progress.

Or satisfied with the way things are turning out.

Or pleasure at what you’ve achieved.


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