Letting Go Of Regret

Tender Horses Let Go of Regret

Image courtesy of Dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Something happened to me today that I’m still digesting, but it promises to be a heavy weight lifted off my shoulders. After 20 years of regret, someone told me something today that allowed me to let it go.

Many moons ago, I was riding a horse on the last stretch towards home, along a paved road. A nearby sprinkler system fired up, sounding eerily like a hissing snake, and spooked my horse. He proceeded to throw me, resulting in my landing flat onto my hip (and elbow) in the middle of the concrete. Ouch.

In the ensuing circus, my teenaged riding friend dismounted, captured my bolting horse, and came close enough to me that her now-also-freaked-out horse could take a big, splattering pee on the road, up slope from me. Which then proceeded to trickle downhill towards me. I, of course, couldn’t move. Talk about adding insult to injury.  Although it sounds like a semi-comical scene in retrospect, at the time it was a hot mess of pain, chaos, and general unpleasantness.

I was in my early 20’s at the time, with no health insurance, and a Colorado-to-Seattle road trip planned with friends just two days away. I had never experienced an injury like this, and thought I was just banged up and sore. So I didn’t seek any form of medical care, and four of us piled in to a car to drive 28 hours straight, through four states. By the time we got there, I was vomiting from the pain.

Actually, before we left one of the guys offered, “I can pop your hip back into place, I do it for my dad all the time.” “No way. You’re not touching me, Dan.” By the time they poured me out of that vehicle I was begging him, in tears, “PLEEEEEASSSE, DAN!!! PLEEEEAAAASSSE POP MY HIP BACK INTO PLACE!!” Yeah. I’m not proud of it. But at least it allowed me to keep up with my friends during our [most excellent adventure] trip.

Fast forward 2 weeks, now I’m back in Colorado… but with a move on the horizon. I need to pack up and move back to South Dakota, so another few weeks are about to pass by without any kind of treatment. And although some of the initial aches have died down, I’m experiencing some pretty serious hip pain. And also I can feel my hip bone sticking out from my body like an inch or two farther on one side. Is that supposed to be like that?

Finally settled back in South Dakota, I sought treatment. But come to find out, it’s not really that straightforward. Why was this not straightforward? Why was this not just a matter of adjusting my hip back into place?

I was told that the muscles had shortened over it in the *wrong* place, and that now even after being adjusted correctly – the muscles were pulling it back out. Long story short, I’ve struggled with this injury ever since. I have had pain, and sought continual and varied treatment on and off, for nearly 20 years.

Hence, my hip injury has become the bane of my adult existence. I describe the “getting bucked off a horse” incident, and specifically my lack of seeking prompt treatment, as one of the biggest regrets in my entire life. I have always assumed, and never been told differently, that had I gone to a doctor right away… I would be walking around with a normal hip, and no pain.

Until today.

Today, when I told my sad tale to a chiropractor and he looked me in the eye and said, “You need to stop beating yourself up over that. You could have sought immediate treatment after that happened, and it may not have made any difference to the outcome. Some injuries just affect people for life.”

Is it crazy that I found this to be a huge relief? My pain and limitations from this are NOT my fault. Simple as that. It happened. I don’t need to continue to regret and blame myself for the course of actions I took afterwards.  I’ve been literally blaming myself for the pain I have.  For years.   And now I’m done!

As someone who’s good at carrying around a lot of guilt (close cousin of regret), I found this extremely liberating. But why did I need one person, in one conversation today, 20 years later, to tell me something that allowed me to let go of this regret? Really? That guy? My regret wasn’t serving any purpose anyway. Eeeesh. Light bulb.

So if there’s anything you are truly regretting in life, something that continues to bother you… can you maybe let it go? What is your regret actually accomplishing? Probably nothing at all.

And since I feel kind of bad that you just read this entire, non-funny, semi-boring blog post, I’ll leave you with one cute thing that happened at the chiro office. I overheard this conversation between the office girl and an elderly gentleman scheduling an appointment at the counter:

“Will Friday the 26th work?”

“Well, I’ll probably be DRUNK! It’s my 85th birthday!”

*o*    *o*    *o*

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About COMtnMom

Hi, I'm Tami! Writer, Influencer, and mom of two who loves travel, the outdoors, staying active, photography, reading books, and eating desserts. We are pretty much always planning our next trip to Disney World.


  1. I am so glad you are feeling relief now instead of blaming yourself. It is so nice to let go and move on and not to regret the past. I do hope the chiropractor can help you with some of the pain. It really is not fun to have pain all those years.

    • Thanks, Maryann… I appreciate your comment! My pain has been nothing in comparison to people who have “true” chronic pain. It seems to come in waves, and I’ve been limping lately (yikes!) – so I’m hopeful he can help me out. 🙂

  2. “You need to stop beating yourself up over that.”

    At points in my life, that has been my mantra. It’s such an easy concept, yet it can take so long to figure out. Thanks for writing this.

    • Sounds like you’re a step ahead of me. I think it needs to be my mantra now, too! You are right, it is an easy concept… but it DID take me a long time to get here. Felt like a light bulb moment that I wanted to share with others, because I’m thinking most of us probably carry some regret around, to some degree or another.

      Thanks for reading and for your comment, Ken. I appreciate it.

  3. The next step is not to beat yourself up about beating yourself up, lol. Guilt and regret do go hand in hand but they are both aspects of your past that hinder your present happiness. You are incredibly accomplished and capable, and at the time you were just a kid. Everyone wishes for a “mulligan” every now and then, but the amazing thing is, without those moments you would have gone your entire life without learning anything. Now when I mess up I usually think, “Getting smarter and wiser every day!” It makes me laugh and helps me not to hold onto things too long. 🙂 Hope the chiropractor helps!

    • Loved this comment, Erin. I just started a new job, and I’m doing a lot of floundering lately… I’m going to tap into your “getting smarter and wiser every day” approach when I mess things up! Good advice. 😉

  4. Hey Tami. This post particularly hit close to home as I read it today. You see, our son, who is 12, just had major hip surgery last week. He was injured at school almost 2 years ago playing football, and we just thought his hip was out of place, and treated it the best we knew how at the time. As it progressively got worse, we sought out more answers. I was just told last week, by a “friend”, someone with no children, if you had just taken him in to this surgeon right away, this extensive surgery may not have had to happen. As I was standing holding my son’s hand in the PACU, trying to calm his tears of pain, the regrets came weighing in heavier than a 2 ton truck. But as parents, we just do the best we can with the knowledge we have at that time, and your post is helping me to try to remember that. Over the coming months, as he recovers and goes thru therapy and all gets better, I will continue to try to remind myself not to live with regrets. It doesn’t provide a positive attitude of healing, for any of us. Thank you for your insightful post.

    • Oh Laura, I’m so sorry you and your family are going through this! Poor guy. Hopefully the worst is over – sounds like he’s on the upswing road to recovery. I’ll be thinking of you guys and praying for a speedy heal.

      Yes, please know that this is not your fault in any way! All we can do as parents is exactly as you describe, “do the best we can with the knowledge we have at that time”. I have no doubts that you have nothing but love and concern and putting your son’s best interests at heart, at all times. As an added vote of confidence in your reputation and nurturing abilities – remember that *YOU* are the one I entrusted my firstborn to, as a tiny baby, when I had to go back to work! That was HUGE for me… I know you know that. 🙂 And I’m grateful to this day. Sending love and a hug!

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