Today we're linking up with Wedded Wednesday at Messy Marriage, so please visit for some really good marriage tips!
We're linked to The Weekend Brew, as well.
We're also linked with Karen Beth on Tuesdays@Ten. Please drop by her site for some other takes on the keyword for the week...
They're the two biggest happiness-killers in the language.
If only I'd worked harder to help her quit smoking.
If only I'd encouraged him to eat better.
If only he hadn't ignored the symptoms until it was too late to change things.
If only I'd been more patient with her when she was in so much pain, and so needy.
If only he wasn't such a macho jerk, and would accept my help with grace! (That describes me.)
If only things were different.
But they're not.
The life you are living, today, is the only one you have, and none of the If Onlys is going to change anything.
A sneaky excuse I've used to justify them is that they'll act as a spur to better actions and thoughts in the future, but an excuse is what it is. You don't need to invoke the self-flagellation of vain regret to do better.
And in the end, that's what If Only really is, a hair shirt that we put on because it feels good to feel bad. It feels virtuous to feel guilty over our imperfections.
And often, we hope that someone will come riding to the rescue, noticing that we're down in the mouth, and make us feel better about ourselves.
Nasty...but wait, as they say on the informercials, THERE'S MORE!
If Only invalidates what's good in the present, and, truly, everything down stream from the moment "I would have changed".
No one wants cancer, or heart problems, or anything like that. But the challenge, indeed the requirement for both caregiver and patient, is to make the best of the moment at hand...
...and to value the good moments that have passed, even those spent in illness.
Two of those are sitting at my feet as I write. Their names are Josie and Reebok, and they are The Rhodesian Ridgeback Sisters. (Reebok has sneaker-white feet, in case you were wondering.)
If I were not ill, they would be dead. They were saved in the last moments of their lives, precisely because I was not at work, because I was too ill, by then, to hold a job.
Not only does If Only attend to the impossibility of turning back the clock, it is a slap in the face to the survival of these gentle dogs that love us.
It's mathematical, really.
If Only = Ingratitude.