On Moving Past Regrets and Embracing the Dawn of a New Day

The Wild Word magazine
4 min readMay 30, 2019

By James Prenatt — OTHER FATHER

When I think of the phrase, “A new dawn,” I am reminded of the Broadway musical, Les Miserables. There is a line in the song, “At the End of the Day” that goes, “At the end of the day you’re another day older/ and that’s all you can say for the life of the poor.” I often feel that this is the case with my own life until I think about the third verse which begins, “At the end of the day dawning/ and the sun in the morning is waiting to rise.” It may not feel like it sometimes, but there is more to my life than just clocking in, clocking out, and counting money in the change jar, hoping I’ll actually have something left over after the rent.

Though I know I am blessed in many ways, that doesn’t keep me from feeling bitter and hopeless. It doesn’t keep me from blaming myself for the financial situation I’ve found myself in.

But there’s more to it than not saving up enough money. When I get caught up in thinking about the past, there’s more regret than is healthy. I think about my divorce and drinking too much during college. I think about not keeping my grades up to par. I think about the people I hurt, most importantly myself.

But it’s not just my actions I regret the most. It’s not believing in myself. If I had just spoken out about my feelings sooner, maybe the divorce wouldn’t have been as painful and maybe we wouldn’t have gotten married in the first place. If I had better self-confidence, I wouldn’t find it necessary to drink when I’m in a crowd and if I reminded myself what a good student I had been in the past, maybe I would’ve studied hard my final year instead of doing the minimum to get by.

We don’t get a second chance to go back in time and fix ourselves. We all know how that works in the movies anyway. I may find some dissatisfaction with myself now, but that only stems from the decisions I made, not from my life itself. As I held my child recently for the first time I remember thinking about how silly everything else was, about how if I knew that all my decisions lead me up to this point, I wouldn’t have a single regret.

I don’t have control over my past decisions. But I do have control over driving my future forward.