What Is Your Biggest Regret?
A few week’s ago I saw this clip about a chalkboard that was placed in New York City for a day asking people what is your biggest regret. As pedestrians walked by the chalkboard, they wrote their regrets and it quickly became an accumulated pity of self reflection.
Watching the clip made me really sad. It reminded me of myself, how for nearly two decades my one and only focus was my career and advancing myself through the ranks. Health, fitness, family or a social life were virtually an invisible aspect of my life. As we all know, that didn’t get me far because corporate america made me sick and I’m still paying the consequences of chronic stress. When you something bad happens to you in life, you think about all the things you would have, could have, should have done. It’s a wake up call.
Unfortunately, I think many can relate to this. You’re thrusted from high school either into college or the real world expected to know at a young age what matters most to you. Then when you finally figure things out, you feel trapped in the life you’ve created. You’re afraid to change, fear failure and feel regret. Not to mention there’s that heavy expectation on our shoulders from our parents expecting us to do more and better than them. So instead of saying yes to things you really want to do, you say no. You take the safe route longing for something different yet holding yourself back.
It’s easy for priorities to get jumbled in day-to-day life and that means the majority of your time and energy are consumed by things that are not as important to you. This makes it unclear how to give the things that matter a priority. A few simple steps will help make that clear for you.
What Do You Want To Do Before You Die?
I want you to close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and relax. Imagine yourself many years from now. You have lived a long and full life. I want you to reflect upon your life from this mature vantage point. What did you experience and enjoy in life? What did you most appreciate accomplishing? Write it down.
Next imagine yourself today, at your current age. Imagine you have just learned you have a rare disease and you have six months to live. In those six months, what do you want to experience, change, do, accomplish and have? Write it down.
Take a look at your two lists and compare your answers. Are they the same or are they different? Most likely your answers will be different because when faced with illness things take on a new meaning and your perspective changes. Take the lists you created. Rank your answers from most to least important. These are your values.
It’s Never Too Late
Why would I live any differently if I had six months to live or thirty years to live? All life has a timeline. Some longer, some shorter. Everything always comes has to end. Just because you do not know when your end is, why would you live today like you had all the time in the world?
It took me a long time to realize that I had a choice. A choice about how I treated my body, a choice about who I let into my life and a choice about how I live my life. I choose how I live and so do you. It’s never too late and you’re never too old to do something you’ve always wanted to do.
Whether it be losing weight, running a marathon, saying “I’m sorry,” changing careers or taking that bucket list trip, don’t put it off. Take one step in the direction you want to be and just do it. You’re only a failure if you don’t try.
What is your biggest regret? Mine? Not taking control of my life sooner.
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Linking up with Amanada for Thinking Out Loud
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