Friday, September 02, 2005

Chasing Regrets-1

I am not a big fan of regrets. They seem futile, even counterproductive.

When I first began this adventure, I alluded, rather obliquely, to a major regret from my past, and that was when I was injured while in training for the Marines. By way of background, my best friend from high school (who I have discussed here and here) and I joined the Marines in the early 1980's and were put in the Marines' Officer Candidate Program. This program was unique in that one could "join" for a summer of boot camp, and then, if still interested, complete the program a following summer. The "opt out" nature of the program appealed to us both, and I ended up going back for a second summer, and had every intention of becoming a Marine officer in their JAG Corps. This before Marine JAG-types were cool enough to build a TV series around. Two weeks before I was to receive my commission, after 14 weeks of Marine boot camp, and after three years of Reserve duty, I rather severely injured my feet while running in combat boots.

This injury resulted in an honorable discharge, but: no commission, no JAG duties in exotic lands, and, most important, I wasn't really going to be a Marine. I will never forget walking out of the barracks with my "civi" clothes on, my drill instructor nodding at me with just a bit of regret himself, and feeling like an abject failure. Even to this day, during Veterans' Day events and the like, when the "veterans" in the crowd are asked to stand up and be counted, I keep my seat because, frankly--notwithstanding my honorable discharge and my attempt to serve this country--I do not feel I earned the right to be called a Marine, or a veteran.

This is probably the one major regret of my life, and the one I cannot quite shake. My head tells me I should not feel this way, but my heart always has the last say on this particular issue.

But does it make sense to chase this regret? Does it make sense to chase any such regrets?