Instead of the "if only" moments, think on what you're so glad you did.
The giant flounder latched onto the hook on my husband’s fishing pole. The water churned as the fish tried to get away, but Paul kept reeling him into shore. That fish was huge–the biggest flounder he had ever seen.
Golfers at the course across the lagoon stopped playing to watch. They cheered Paul on as he reeled…and reeled…and reeled, until the fish got almost to land. And just as Paul started to pull him onto the bank, the unthinkable happened—the line broke.
The golfer audience yelled, “Nooooo!” And my dejected husband kept muttering. “It was the biggest flounder I’ve ever seen. I almost landed it.” And that’s when the “if’s” started. “If only I’d had a stronger test line so it wouldn’t have snapped.” And, “If only I’d had a net with me. I could have pulled him in.”
Those “if only” statements were uttered again when we loaded the fishing equipment into the SUV, when we unloaded the fishing stuff back at the villa, when we got inside the villa, when he changed the line to the new stronger one.
At dinner, I’d finally had enough. I said, “Honey, I’m tired of hearing about it. You didn’t have the stronger fishing line on the pole, and you didn’t have the net with you. All those “if’s” won’t make any difference. Don’t let it ruin our vacation.”
But that night after we went to bed, I started thinking about all the “if only” moments in my own life. If only I hadn’t done that. If only I could do it over again. If only I’d spent more time with my mom (or dad or children or grandparents). If only I’d known we didn’t have much time left together.
But as my husband learned with the monster-sized flounder that got away, all the “if only’s” in the world won’t make any difference. Now, instead of “if only’s,” we've decided to look back on moments where we can say, “I’m so glad I did.”