Monday, 27 August 2012

Je ne regrette rien?

Regretting the past is a waste of energy, even though it is occasionally understandable. I was listening to a woman on Radio 4 this morning, however, whose regrets ought to have raised a bigger question than they seemed to.

She was, by her own account, a lesbian, who had married some decades ago when that was the 'done thing' and had four children.

Now divorced, and content in her new found 'identity', she nevertheless felt that she had 'wasted' half her life.

Interestingly, though, she said (as I recall) that it was her children that had 'outed' her. Subsequent to her divorce, they had apparently observed to her that all her friends were lesbians and asked her if she was one. And when she replied that was indeed the case, their response was along the lines of, "That's fine, we don't have a problem with that."

So far, so cool. However, what doesn't seem to have crossed the minds of her children, at least, was that had she 'come out' earlier - indeed had she lived 'authentically' rather than got married - they would not have been there to tell her how OK they were with the whole thing. Her authenticity would have come at the price of their existence.

Now of course the notion of the 'non-existence' of what palpably is may be simply a matter of philosophical concern. Nevertheless, it did occur to me that one of her children might have said, "Thank goodness you didn't discover this sooner, mum!"

Or maybe they did. Maybe that bit just didn't get mentioned. Or maybe we should be thankful that the unintended consequences of our actions may actually be to the good. Or maybe, just maybe, she was more right in her earlier choices than we might have been led to conclude.

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  1. The ongoing propaganda assault continues as this rush to rewrite the institution of the family proceeds.

    In reality what are you going to say when a significant member of your family "comes out" as they say? In this day and age speak what might be in your heart, or to maintain family polity and serenity put on a brave smile and utter the expected but empty platitudes?

    The striking thing about this of course is how much it is all about meeting the desires of the individual him or herself and how good it is to have those desires validated - the impact upon others phttttt. We are after all entitled to our happiness regardless of the consequences to others

    Andrei Paraparaumu

  2. A very similar argument to those that I have recently read regarding abortion. Funny how those who dwell on the idea of "lost" years or who are thankful for having an abortion because "it wasn't the right time to have children" never consider the implications that these actions have on potential/actual life.
    I was quite disturbed to read an article (unsurprisingly in the Guardian) of the writer declaring that their mother should have had an abortion. In it, the writer declares themself (I forget their gender) to be a net loss to society! It is a very worrying thing when people remove the innate value of life from consideration.