Thursday, May 29, 2008

Life with no regrets

You can't live a life with no regrets. We are human, and there is no such thing as a perfect life.

There are two kinds of regrets in life, those you can do something about, and those you can't.

It is never too late to say I love you or I'm sorry. Depending on your age, it might not be too late to learn or try something new, visit a place, buy a particular thing. If you have the chance to undo a regret, do it!

The regrets that you can't do anything about are the ones that hurt. But don't get stuck! Feel the pain and then move on.

Thinking about your future feeling may help you to think twice before deciding to do -- or not do -- a particular thing. Here's an example: Your friend is in ill health. You are torn about your vacation that you planned with your family -- do you go to the beach with your family, or take some time to see your friend. Ask yourself, "How would I feel if in a year, my friend were gone?" The answer to that guides your decision about what to do. Another question to always ask yourself is, "What would I like to have done to me?" and then act accordingly.

Also, keep in mind the famous saying: "You only regret what you don't do."

You never regret things you have done, because everything - good experiences and bad-- adds to who you are as a person. You never say, for instance, "I regret that I went to Montana where I climbed mountains and rode horses." But you will probably say, "I regret that I never went to Montana."

Here are a few of my gentle regrets. I share them with you, in the hope that perhaps they might help you to think about your lives.

I regret not having started therapy earlier in my life. I went into therapy at age 33. I lived for so many years, unhappy, confused, lost. If I had started earlier, I might have been more in command of my life at an earlier age. Moral: Don't waste time being unhappy. Take control and deal with it. Do whatever it takes to get to th root of your unhappiness, insecurity, whatever.

I regret that I didn't go into the Peace Corps when I was accepted back in 1975. Looking back now...I can't believe I didn't go! What an amazing experience that would have been! I had been accepted to teach English in French speaking Togo. I had the government physical, they pulled my wisdom teeth out getting me all ready for the adventure...and then...I didn't go! Decades later I now understand that it would have sent my life into an entirely different direction. I don't beat myself up about it too much, because, well, my life took other turns. But it is something I think about. Moral: An action not taken can change the course of your life. Only you don't know it at the time! Another moral: Go for it! Take risks!

I regret that I didn't take music more seriously and make it my career. I am tremendously musical. I had a good voice. I played the piano. Most important, I loved music. I'm not saying I would have been a rock star or a concert pianist. Far from it. But I was talented enough to have had a soul satisfying career in music, a music teacher, for instance. Moral: Take your talents seriously.

I regret that I didn't go to medical school. I would have liked to have spent my life in a healing profession. But the fact is, I never took my acadmic achievements or intellect seriously. It never occurred to me that I could become a doctor. I thought it was something other people did. Now I realize, that person could have been me! Moral: Take yourself seriously.

I regret that I didn't have a honeymoon. Not a life shattering regret, but just something to think about. The husband and I didn't have any money for a honeymoon. Or so we thought. We could have at least gone to Atlantic City for a weekend, or something simple like that, to call something a "Honeymoon" and honor the event. As a result, all my life I've said, "I never had a honeymoon." I'm divorced now...and regret not having a honeymoon even more! Moral: You never get a honeymoon again, so do it the first time!

There is one regret you can't win! I'm laughing here! You've all had this experience. It's when you are shopping on vacation and you see something you want to buy. If you don't buy it, thinking, "Oh, I'll see it again, later on, cheaper," I guarantee you, you'll never see it again. And if you buy it then and there, at full price, I guarantee you, you WILL see it again later, cheaper! For some reason this is a no win situation! My advice after a lifetime of this: buy it, enjoy it and carry on!

1 comment:

mayajuliana said...

Thank you for your candor on this one. I agree that we don't win on the shopping front when we leave something behind when we truly wanted it. It has happened more than once to me!