I am an active follower of the Delphic Maxims, and they are standard reading material for me. The one that always cuts the deepest, and it one of the most valuable ones in my life is number 90: 'live without sorrow' (Αλυπως βιου). I have struggled with that in my life, an it's good to have a reminder.

I should try to describe what I read when I read this maxim. To me, living without sorrow means to not dwell in the past, to accept your own actions, and to move past them if they were somehow shaming or less than up to par. For me, living without sorrow means to accept my own faults and strive to better them, without wearing myself down over events I cannot change.

In a Hellenistic perspective, this maxim goes hand in hand with a lot of others, mostly those which describe perfection. 'Control anger', for example, or 'make just judgements'; these type of maxims call for a perfect way of being. Yet, we are all human, and in some ways, that will always make us imperfect. What matters is that we strive to be the best we can be, to practice arête. If we fall or struggle in this quest sometimes, accept that it happened an move on. Better yourself.

It seems that, in this interpretation of the maxim, it clashes with another of the maxims: 'regret falling short of the mark' (Αμαρτανων μετανοει). It doesn't; 'live without regret' comes after regretting to accomplish what one sets out to do. Regret is a valuable and powerful emotional response. No only does it signal that our ethical framework is intact, it is also one of the ways we learn. Regret is a signal to examine events and draw conclusions from them. It offers a chance to learn. Getting stuck in that regret, however, is counterproductive.

Once lessons are drawn, it is time to move on, to leave the situation behind and put what has been learned to the test. You set new goals, once more, you will strive for perfection. You forget the regret, because you have a new purpose, new inspiration, to do and be better.

I have tried all my life to be perfect, and there are only two events in my life that I truly regret. These events still hurt to think about, although my examination of the Delphic Maxims has lessened the sting. After each event, I examined the situation and my behavior, and located the warning signs. I haven't relapsed into them so far, and I doubt I ever will. As such, I can live without sorrow that the original events took place... although there are still moments I wish they had not happened at all.