I am sitting in the kitchen looking out the window, mind drifting from from work emails. Am thinking about something that strays into very dangerous territory – the ‘what if’ scenario. What if I had done that differently, what if I had made a different decision, what if I had not done that.

The ‘what if’ consideration is kind of pointless and futile and a lot of people would said it was a waste of time because you’ll never really know but I think you can have a good guess and I also think that it is good to be very aware of the impact decisions can have on the way your life goes. Sometimes even the smallest decision can completely change your life – a decision to not go to the gym and instead go out drinking can result in you meeting a guy who turns out to be no good but you fall in love and change your life completely trying to be with him -I have seen a close friend who had everything going for her – gorgeous, great career potential and confident – meet a guy who was a bit screwed up and 6 years later they break up leaving her with huge debts, a small child and a complete loss of confidence meaning her career suffered and she looks stressed and tired. If she just had not gone out that night when she met him, if she had just said no when he pressed her for date, if she had ended it one year in when he was being abusive things could have been different. Who would she be now? Or maybe she is who she is now because of that experience and that is a good thing. Perhaps if she had chosen differently she would be married to some really boring banker type guy and spend all her time on some career that doesn’t really mean anything. The only known thing is that she has to take responsibility for her decisions and to accept how it may have put her life on a completely different track to the one it was on. Ownership of decisions is really important otherwise you will just end up on a very fast ride to somewhere you didn’t want to be.

Obviously we can never know what that other life looks like but thinking about what might have been does not have to be a terrible thing. When I was 18 I was travelling the world modelling and yet I did not take it seriously, I missed castings, refused to live in model flats in strange countries. If I had seen the opportunities then that I see now I would have lived wherever I needed to live and I would have gone to every casting until I got the job. So maybe I would have made it or maybe not because there is a large chunk of luck needed as well as work. If I had made it I would be wealthy, maybe a bit famous and I would have seen the world, been invited to the parties, and worn all the top designers for years but would I be happy, would I have missed out on other things, would I now be sitting here wondering if I could have done something else. The answer is most likely yes but the point of the ‘what if’ consideration’ is to hopefully become more aware of opportunities and to realise that within everything there is the chance for huge potential and huge disappointment and all you can do is try to make a judgement. I have another friend who has made a clear lifestyle decision to only date seriously wealthy men and I mean very very rich and she will probably end up marrying one of them and living a very opulent lifestyle. Sometimes when she comes home from a regular shopping spree loaded with Dior and Vuitton bags showing off her new Cartier necklace I think very briefly about the rich men who have asked me out and who I have declined (most of them have been hugely unattractive and not very nice people to boot!) and I wonder if I would like a life of luxury and no work married to one of those men. But when you consider that you find the huge potential is just material and the huge disappointment is very likely with a man you may not truly love, probably a few affairs, some spoilt children and a life of trying to buy happiness then you know what the right path is.

So I will sit for a bit and imagine my glamorous life as a top model, or my exciting life as an investigative journalist or my opulent life married to a squillionnaire but I won’t do it with regret, just with interest. You cannot change what has been and you cannot undo a decision but you can use what has been and what regret may exist to drive better decisions and to help you work out what it is you want from your life. All you can do is try to live life to the full at the time thus limiting regret as much as possible. So instead of getting to the point where you sit there wishing you had been in shape, had walked down the beach in a bikini without feeling self-conscious, had looked the best you could, had been confident enough to ask the hot man out, had avoided ill-health through bad nutrition and being overweight you can take control here and limit any of these regrets at least.

If you have regrets right now, use them to empower yourself and move forward so that you don’t gather more. Spend a moment thinking about what you would have done differently and how life might have worked out and then move forward leaving that regret to fade into the past. Time does heal, life does go on and you can achieve your goals.