Never Expected

Tombstone StatueFor those who have haunted The M3 Blog for a while, you are familiar with the tributes we pay to those who die. A number of memorials are tucked amongst the posts. I have lost many over the years, both here and before. Another joined those ranks recently, but a memorial is not on the menu for today.

The subject of this post is one of expectations and the law of unintended consequences. Truly, the latter was on tap for today, an expectation. Its combination with expectations is a direct result of the law of unintended consequences, a show of interdependence for which no plan could adequately account.

Yeah, But…

Each and every day we make choices. These seemingly innocuous choices are neither fraught with danger nor foolhardy. Each of them have the potential to cause unintentional consequences for those who are not present at the decision-making.

Most of the time, the consequences are equally innocuous or only mildly inconvenient; however, there are enough which are fatally disastrous. Some of the fatalities are friendships and marriages, but others are the traditional definition.

Yeah, but I never meant for that to happen.”

Intention does not mitigate the fatality. Those words are as meaningless as “I’m sorry.”


Decision-making is not the easiest of skills for anyone to master. Some people make snap decisions which almost always appear to be victimless and entirely spot-on. Some people belabor choosing and seem to never make a choice which does not include a body count.

In between the two is a vast field of well-thought-out decisions which weigh the unintended consequences to prevent the “Yeah, but…” scenario. The markings on the field are education and experience.

We all know the dangers of the activities we often engage. Everyone has seen a picture of a car beneath a tractor captioned with how texting and driving is dangerous. It is one of the hash marks on the field.

We have a scar to remind us how we are not always in control of our own bodies. Another hash mark.

We remember standing beside a grave knowing we left important things unsaid. Another hash mark.

We know the statistics of drinking and driving. Another hash mark.

We know what domestic violence does to its victims, their families and friends. Another hash mark.

We have witnessed the train wrecks of our friends. Another hash mark.

We know because we listen and watch and learn to use the hash marks as a guide us to the safer middle of the field where all the action is the material for our memories. We stay away from the frayed edges of the field where the mud is deeper, the cliffs are steeper and the bottom of the abyss is shrouded in fog.

We expect to navigate the center of the field with alacrity and grace. The more often we do it, the safer we feel, the less diligent we become. In the loss of diligence, we sometimes fail to expect the unintended consequences which inevitably follow. Accepting the culpability is not an easy pill to swallow.


red checkboxEach day we make decisions to live, to do more than merely exist amidst the consequences of others’ actions. We shield ourselves from the unintended consequences of the thoughtless and those incapable of making good decisions. With practice, we more easily sidestep the wake of other disasters or hurdle those piles which are small enough.

Beyond living, we owe ourselves the privilege of choosing happiness. To go beyond the everyday requirements of survival, embrace the ideals and activities which bring us unfettered enjoyment. Be it visiting with a friend, spending time with our pets, tinkering at hobbies or simply relaxing without sacrificing a moment to the workaday, worrisome world, these devotions of time are essential for avoiding the worst of all unintended consequences: regret.

In the quiet moments, we are prone to relive our day and lament what was not accomplished. Never is the moment quieter than when it occurs at a funeral. We relive all of the moments we passed in favor of something we felt more pressing, more deserving of our time, more important than proffering our feelings to someone we love, more convenient than settling a petty difference. Regret.

We remember every cross word, every brush off, every time we ducked a chance to help. Regret.

We ponder what we charitably deem the “lost opportunity”. Frankly, it is not lost; it is denied. The opportunity knocked to no answer. Regret.

No more poignant unintended consequence exists than the result of times we choose not to act when our action would put a hash mark on someone else’s field, cause a moment of happiness for one who may be struggling, save ourselves from moments of regret. With every regret, we give up a piece of soul.

Can you save yourself from a regret by choosing to live deliberately? When was the last time you made the first move and call for no other purpose than to tell someone you love them?

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© Red Dwyer 2015
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  1. Hi Red! 🙂

    Yes our lives are replete with ‘What If’s’ and ‘But’s’, so all we can do is make note and do better next time.

    If you wake up in the morning, then congratulations: You get another chance! 🙂

    Love and hugs my friend! 🙂

    Prenin recently posted..Monday – Smoke Alarm Changed.My Profile

  2. Thanks; it’s always good to get a reminder… & thanks for the call…

    To avoid any hash tags of regret for not saying it, luv ya….

    gigoid recently posted..Bill them for the bastardized version…My Profile

  3. These are good reminders Red. and I know I have regretted many things in unspoken words not said..

    On your last paragraph I made that call only yesterday to my sister.. 🙂 to tell her how much she is loved..

    It was lovely to see you at Dreamwalker’s Red.. and Hope all is well in your world..
    Love and Hugs Sue x <3
    Sue Dreamwalker recently posted..How do you view the Future?My Profile

    • I make at least one of those calls everyday. My children lament the number of texts they get saying nothing more than “I love you”.

      It is good to be out in the blogosphere again. After the funeral, I will have more time to see what everyone is up to these days. I am glad to see you. <3 Much love, Sweet Sue. xxx

  4. No matter what you do, I don’t think you can end up with no regrets.
    Binky recently posted..How To GrammarMy Profile

  5. As always, I sometimes forget to say it. But I try to remember to reach out. Life has a way to remind us to be kind.

    I love you

  6. I have few regrets. I’m the one who goes overboard with words of love. Not so much as to make the words meaningless, but I wear my heart on my sleeve. I don’t ever want to assume those I love know my feelings. I make sure they hear it.

    I’m aware I might not get another chance.

    Gail xoxox

    • I think there is a nearly impossible line to reach in making words of love meaningless. Whilst I do get to the stage I feel they may be inadequate to express what I am feeling, the effort necessary to express the sentiment is not lost.


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