Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Opposite of Regret

Lately, I've had this phrase mulling about in my head: "When I look at you, I see the opposite of regret." This phrase isn't direct to anyone in particular.  A friend of mine recently got me thinking about writing poetry, and this phrase came into my head. I haven't had a chance to work it into anything yet. But I wonder what it means. Have you ever had that happen to you? You'll say or think something and have no idea what it means? So, instead of writing a poem around it, I've spent a good bit of time trying to break the phrase down.  I'll post what I've thought of so far, as well as work as I type, so that perhaps I will come to some conclusion before the end of this post.
First comes the phrase as a whole.  The question is, do I mean that the person I'm looking at feels the opposite of regret? Or do I feel the opposite of regret in regards to him/her/it? Or, is this individual "the opposite of regret" personified?  (I'd love it if it were that last one—it's very much my style). Somehow, I suspect it is the first.  That's the impression I got when it first came to me.  But it really could be any of these.  I suppose it will ultimately be determined if I ever do write that poem.
Second comes the really interesting part, because I'm utterly clueless about it.  As far as I can tell, these are the options for what "Opposite of Regret" could mean (in the second person, because I feel like it):

  1. You not only do not regret anything you've done, but you embrace it.  Every decision you've made is looked upon fondly and with excitement.
  2. You feel the same way that people feel when they say they regret something, but you feel that way about the future.  It is a sort of infinite pessimism, knowing that the future is going to turn out in a way that disappoints you.
  3. You feel absolute optimism and joy about the future, combining 1 and 2.
  4. Something I haven't thought of at all.
Personally, I like option 1 the most. It's an incredibly positive thought.  However, if I were writing to someone about them feeling good, it seems odd to even bring up regret.  The inversion certainly makes a difference, but not enough. Besides which, I feel too melancholic about the phrase for it to be this.  Or, for that matter, option 3, which I didn't care for anyway.  It seems to me that if something is the opposite of something, it only gets inverted on one axis.  If on the temporal axis, the emotional axis should stay put, and if the emotion is inverted, it should stay in the same time.
That leaves 2 or 4.  2 Doesn't feel quite right.  I like it a lot. It's very evocative.  But it seems off. Also, it seems complicated in a way that I'll need to spend more of the poem explaining it.  So perhaps it is 4. Would it be dishonest of me to write a poem with only a vague sense of what this thing is? When the whole poem will clearly be about this phrase, to one degree or another, can I really leave it in a way that tells the audience nothing? Is the confusion part of its meaning?

It seems I'm no closer to a conclusion than I was at the beginning, save a few eliminated possibilities.  In consolation, I offer you this picture of me in a bow tie.

Happy Cheap Chocolate Day, everyone!