Good thread, Keith.
Personally, I’m a firm believer in the butterfly effect; that one small change in the past can result in enormous repercussions in the future, not all of them good.
For a long time I wished I hadn’t given up the saxophone, which I sucked at playing most egregiously. But giving it up let me focus on building my skills as a filmmaker and storyteller, something that led me down a life path I never expected, and gave me lifelong friends who I cannot imagine living without.
The funny thing about regret is that we tend to view it through rose-colored glasses, like everything would be better if we just made this one change here, another change there. But the amount of living that might not be enriched by those changes, the accomplishments we wouldn’t achieve, the friends and family we may never have met, never have loved; for many, myself included, it’d be an unfathomable loss.
My philosophy: Be not regretful of the life that might have been, be grateful for the life that is, for it is a miracle.
Hope that helps.