The Irony of Regret

Over the past few years, my wife and I have made a lot of decisions which weren’t exactly easy ones, which we took purely because they felt like the best ones at the time. Things like buying a farm, or, then turning around and selling the farm. Things like jobs we’ve taken that weren’t exactly the jobs we wanted. And, most recently, things like buying a business.

In a recent conversation with a friend, they noted that my wife and I are really good at embracing change instead of fearing it. While I like this idea of being brave against the fear of change, the reality is not that we aren’t afraid of change, it’s simply that we see a lot of things we want changed in our lives, and are just stubborn enough to face the stresses necessary to get to where we want to be.

In fact, very often, when we make these big changes in our lives, we reach a moment of huge regret. Like, when we bought the farm and immediately felt regret about moving from our comfortable neighborhood in the middle of town, where we had access to all of the amenities of our cozy little downtown area, and friends within walking distance, and bike trails and dining and, well, all those comfortable things we had become accustomed to. But, we had always wanted a farm. We wanted animals, we wanted to work the land, and we wanted our kids to experience a life which respected the food cycle.

While there were regrets, we also loved our time on the farm. So much so that when we decided that our kids weren’t getting what they needed out of the school system there, we struggled with the isolation of being so far away from anyone we knew or any activities, the time spent just getting groceries because of the half hour drive to get to an actual grocery store, and all of the other issues we found in owning a hobby farm, and we sold the farm to move back to town, we again had regrets.

We loved the farm. We loved having the freedom out there to do the things we wanted to do. We had an amazing yard where we could play baseball and ride 4-wheelers and explore our creek and go fishing in our creek and, honestly, even my 4 hours of cutting grass weekly was just a part of this full enjoyment of farm life that I didn’t want to give up. The regret was huge, and our kids still talk about how much they miss the farm. My daughter noted how much my wife was missing the farm and she suggested we get a big canvas print of one of the shots we had taken when we were selling for a birthday present for Mom last year.

And I catch myself staring at it often.

At the same time, immediately after moving back to town, we found ourselves getting all the things we felt were missing during our time at the farm. Our kids were getting the attention they needed in school, making friends, and becoming much more capable of dealing with life. We had access to people and activities again, and life felt, right.

Fast forward to today, a week and a half out from buying a bakery, and my regrets are huge. I’m not going to speak for my wife, but I asked her about regrets about halfway through our first weekend, and she agreed that she had them as well. Not that we don’t want it. In fact, I’ve had some amazingly happy moments in these few days of being a business owner where I’ve been completely ready to quit my day job and just spent my days slinging coffee and packing up baked goods. But, we had found our routine, or had gotten pretty darn close to it, at home, and now, well, the routine is completely busted up. A weekend where we didn’t get to see our kids at all was a bit much. The enormous pile of things that we need to get done just to get the place running smoothly enough so that we don’t have to be running out there every day for these last minute things that crop up feels overwhelming.

But, even if running a bakery hasn’t exactly been my dream, it has been my dream to support my wife’s culinary genius. And I’ve always loved my time in the food service industry, far more than any other industry I’ve worked in. And, there is so much we could do as a part of a community that I honestly can’t stop thinking happily about. I’m excited, and I know my wife is excited as well…but we’re exhausted. Back in the day, the dream was to do this in a way that was completely ours from the start, where we would be immediately dedicating all our time to the process. Now, instead, we’re still working our normal 9-5s, while trying to slowly morph the current business strategy into something that more aligns with our dreams and is far more streamlined to work better. It’s a lot, but the future is incredibly exciting.

So, while we may have regrets, there are no complaints, and we both know that after this first period of adjustment, we can get things into a routine that works for us and the business, and build something that we’re truly proud of.

But for now, it’s still really exciting to see all the people who are excited about what’s already happening in the business, and the people who are excited for what we’re going to do next.

Published by Adam Oster, Adventure Novelist

Husband, Father, Creator/Destroyer of Worlds

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