“Hindsight,” wrote my friend, “has twenty-twenty vision.”
It always seems that way, when we think back to what we could have, should have said or done. The witty retort, the other alternative…the thing we did not think of at the time… the course we ought to have taken instead of the one that we took…
Thinking about it, though, perhaps hindsight is a little more myopic than it pretends.
At the time, we did the best we could with the person we were then… and could not have done otherwise. Looking back on the past from where we now stand, we have a unique perspective. We can see how events unfolded, one after the other, from that moment until now. We look back armed with all the knowledge and experience we have gained since the moment in question and we stand as one who has grown and changed in the interim.
Those changes have not been random… they have evolved, little by little, building inevitably one upon the other, until we arrive at this moment… the one where we stand looking back with the alleged visual acuity of hindsight…or regret.
The trouble with regret, though, is that had we taken any other course, said or done anything different back in the then, the person looking back would not be the same now. Had we made the witty retort, would our emotions have been different as we walked away? How would those emotions have changed us? We cannot know.
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