VERY few of us live without regret - and that regret often plays out as we get older and realise that we were really foolish, stupid or even stubborn to have actually done the things we regret.
What I am talking about is not the regret that comes from not taking that trip overseas, or buying that memento or travelling to a friend's milestone celebration. No, the regret I am talking about is when you wake up after a big night out, hungover with a massive headache, when someone asks you how your night was and you can barely remember.
Then the pictures start rolling out - you know the "social” media - and that is when you have the chance to realise your embarrassment and the fact that those pictures are now online and pretty much there forever. There you are in all your glory - drunk, stoned, whatever - and obviously thinking you're the funniest thing in the universe. We've all done it in one form or another. For me, fortunately, none of that evidence is online given I was doing that many years ago. However, the regret is still there.
What's your experience? Damage to relationships, to your work, to physical property, to yourself or others? One punch kills and it tends to happen through alcohol and drugs, along with other assaults. Then there's the realisation of the lack of respect you have for yourself if you happen to wake up in the morning beside someone you can't remember even meeting or beside some skip in an alley at 3am, freezing, all your money gone.
Is that really you? No? Then this is just a word of caution as we prepare for what has become Australia's informal holiday where the nation stops to watch a horse race. Where, at the beginning of the day everyone who is keen gets dressed up in all the finery they can muster and heads off to a function or two, or to the various racetracks across the country to take part in celebrating the Melbourne Cup. The girls look gorgeous and the guys are looking as cool as they can, given it's often the only time in the year they suit up.
I sit back now and observe and I love it. I love the atmosphere, the effort and the pageantry that we as a nation are traditionally engaged in. Then the race is done. It's over in three minutes, millions of dollars exchanged and then the party seems to start.
The often broadcast aftermath of debris, detritus and damaged people really looks bad and reminds me of my own folly. Is that you? No?
It's not me either and I am glad about that. I hope you have a great day, on the day, and have wonderful memories to reflect on - perhaps even pick a winner. At the same time please look after yourself and any others that you may be around. Creating regret is no fun.
Nick Bennett is a facilitator, performance coach and partner of Minds Aligned: www.mindsaligned.com.au.