I have heard people say that we ought to live so that when we die we will have no regrets.  I have thought about that and wondered how that might be possible.  I have concluded that for most humans, it is an impossibility.

Regret is a word that means "a feeling of remorse or sorrow for a fault, act, loss, disappointment, etc." ( We live with some popular misconceptions that sorrow is somehow a bad thing. Some people think that one ought to live with eyes only on the positive--the gains--the gifts.  

But, who among us has not lost something that we wanted or been disappointed because life didn't work out the way we wanted it to?  Regret is the normal human response to our complex and interesting humanity that dreams of that which is not. Those dreams are our imagination filling in the future with possibilities that have not yet been realized. The greater the imagination, the more dreams one has.  The more dreams one has the more disappointments one will experience.  Not all dreams can be fulfilled.  To fulfill one dream is to lose another dream.  Thus regrets.

So, I don't think we ought to live so as to have  "no regrets" when we die.  To do that is to live a small life. I think we live with dreams, leaning into the unknown future with multiple possibilities, and then learn to grieve the loss of those dreams that don't get fulfilled.  When we do this, we feel excitement of hope and possibility, the disappointment of unfulfilled dreams, the sadness that accompanies loss of possibilities, and in this experience, we discover more about who we are and who we might become.

And then we grieve, we allow our discoveries to form our imagination for our future, and we open up to the limited reality of tomorrow. We learn from our regrets and we create new visions for our future.