I feel like all my life I’ve been waiting for something. Waiting for someone to tell me what to do. I hold myself back, unsure of myself. Is this the right thing to do? I ask. Maybe not, I think, so I change my mind, and head in another direction, all the while keeping my eye out for that “sign” that will show me the way. That sign will confirm that I am on the right path, that this is where I’m meant to be. Yet it never shows itself. The thing is, I have this feeling deep down that even though the sign never appears, I will discover that I am on the path I was meant to travel the whole time.

And yet that revelation does not console me. I still want my existence to be recognized. I want to shout out to the world and have it answer back. I want to know that what I’m doing is the right thing. Will I really be able to look back with satisfaction on my life? Or will I only be filled with regrets? I used to believe that we should regret nothing in our lives, for we only get this one life to live; we must own up to our mistakes, and keep moving forward, attitude positive. But something has changed within me since I made that decision. Life has gotten harder. There are things that I truly wish I had never done, or that faced with the decision again, I wish I would have chosen differently.

So now I that I have regrets, I must integrate them into my self. Life is full of pain as well as joy, and regrets must be accepted, for they are inseparably part of the fabric of our lives. I will no longer say “regret nothing,” but rather “forget nothing.” In order to live, we must be double-sighted: most certainly eyes to the future, ever-planning, ever-hoping…but we mustn’t neglect to keep the past in our sights as well. Reflection leads to better-informed decisions, and a keener understanding of ourselves. Perhaps it is in reflection that we can validate ourselves. When look back on our own achievements, we just might discover that those accomplishments are the “sign” we had been looking for from the start.

Yet this is a kind of internal validation. By contrast, people typically look to the external to validate their existence. It’s part of being human, has always been. Giving gifts for doing favours, awards for excellence in a field, holding competitions to see who’s the best at something…All of these things are manifestations of acknowledgement: people want to be loved, so logically they must give love as well. Yet if self-reflection can validate our achievements to ourselves, as I proved above, why do we still crave this external validation? My logic winds around in circles, but at the heart of it all, I’m really only trying to figure out the answer to one question: am I loved?

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