Cringes of conscience

At 55, I’m not aware that my life is about to end suddenly, so this is not any kind of deathbed confession. I have, so far, done lots of things which could be considered wrong…like lying in court or physically attacking people who annoyed me or stealing stationery. I have, on occasion, been a selfish fool and even cheated in an exam, once.

I’m not proud of any of that, but there was always some justification for my actions, however regrettable they appear. At least in my own mind, they were more the result of events, than of any significant moral failure on my part.

The events of which I’m actively ashamed are limited in number but not in intensity. In no particular order, here they are:

1) Driving whilst drunk. There is an explanation, but there can be no excuse. In the same era, whilst sober, but distracted, I creased somebody’s Volvo in a Waitrose carpark, leaving no note.

2) Investigating other people’s private parts whilst they were unaware of what I was doing. Childhood curiosity, and I don’t think anyone was harmed but, still, deeply yuck.

3) Running out on a job without talking things through and then hiding when confronted by my pathetic behaviour. Jesus, that’s cringeworthy.

4) Failing to take proper care of somebody I loved when there was a distant prospect that a previous ‘partner’ might not have been 100% sexually healthy.

5) Lying to my mother. It happened very rarely, but it was always wrong. I think she forgave me but she deserved better.

Does this make things somehow all better?


Would it help to undertake some acts of atonement? I mean in the sense of helping others, rather than just to ease my guilt?

Probably not.

My hope is that this entry will act as a reminder to me about how bad guilt really feels and allow me to avoid any further moral screw-ups. I suppose I’m really lucky, at this stage, not to have a longer list. Lucky, rather than virtuous.