I have heard the age-old verbiage of living life with no regrets. As ideal and dreamy as that sounds it just doesn’t seem practical. It seems impossible to have a life with no regrets with all that life throws at us and with all the decisions we must be accountable for.
This was my thinking until I realized what was truly meant behind the saying. I take it to mean that you shouldn’t have regrets about things that really matter to you. You shouldn’t compromise your ideals if you truly value them. So, you may have regrets about that $10 haircut. But, you shouldn’t have regrets about choosing family over work. Do you see the difference?
I certainly have my share of regrets, which I am sure you can relate. Here are my 9 regrets I hope to change or to never repeat.
1. Not traveling when I had the chance.
When I was in college I had the opportunity to travel abroad for a semester. I always wanted to try my hand at living somewhere to grow my worldly outlook and for the experience. College was the perfect place because it offered a safety net, structure, resources and like-minded people to share in the experience. Unfortunately, I didn’t study abroad for financial reasons. College was already expensive and I didn’t want to add to the cost. Studying abroad wasn’t a requirement to graduate so I wrote off the opportunity. Looking back, I regret not making the effort because the experience would have been invaluable.
2. Staying in unhealthy relationships.
Relationships are reciprocal; they are give and take. When there isn’t a balance within the relationship it can become unhealthy. One person may feel they are putting more effort into the relationship than they are getting out of it. I, myself, have allowed friendships to fade for this very reason. I realized I had to let friends go when I was the only one working to keep in touch. Some people are in your life for a reason and others just for a season.
3. Caring (too much) about what other people think of me.
I place no one’s opinion of me any higher than I place him or her in my own life. I could care less about what my postman thinks, but I highly value my father’s opinion. I will not base who I am solely on someone else’s opinion, but their perspective may play a part in how I define myself and how I choose to live. At the end of the day, it is I standing on my own two feet, and not the opinions of others propping me up.
4. Being afraid to say, 'I Love You'.
Love is the most beautiful expression. Having love, knowing we are loved and being able to express it is intrinsic to who we are as people. Simply hearing the words ‘I love you’ can make a person beam from within. It lets us know we are accepted and endeared for who we are. Being vulnerable when saying I love you is par for the course and those who truly care will reciprocate, and anyone else isn’t deserving of our sentiments. We shouldn’t be discouraged to express our love for others.
5. Working too much.
When Rihanna said, “work, work, work, work, work” she didn’t mean it literally. Yes, we need to work for our livelihood, but not to the point where we have no time for ourselves. If you don’t have time to rest and recharge you are working too much! People have literally worked themselves to death—scary.
6. Not spending time with those who matter.
Out of all the millions and billions of people in the world, there are a finite number of individuals that we enjoy sharing our lives with. We need them as much as they need us to make this thing called living worthwhile. Don’t make excuses why you cannot share your time, instead find reasons why spending time with them is essential and act on it.
7. Never taking a big risk.
Without great risk, there can be no great reward. I am paraphrasing here but the saying speaks truth. Without taking risk, we’ll always be exactly where we are. There would be nothing to gain or nothing to lose. It is the playing it safe strategy to combat life’s uncertainties, which is fine for the mediocre, but you and I are not mediocre. Now, are we? Yes, a lot can be lost, but think about what can be gained. Of course, do your research and due diligence, but be willing to put yourself out there.
8. Not quitting a terrible job.
Going to work every day can be tough, but going to work every day to a job that you hate is torture. It can negatively impact your mental and physical health. If nothing good comes to mind when you think about your job, then, it might be time to look for other work. When I began getting heart palpitations from stress at work I knew it was time to go.
9. Not realizing how beautiful we are.
We are all unique. We are all different. We all have flaws. We all have scars. We are all imperfectly perfect. And, we are all beautiful. The beauties in me see the beauty in you.
Life is short and tomorrow isn’t promised. Regardless of what you do you are going to make mistakes, so figure out what works best for you and go for it. If not, you may always wonder ‘what if’ and you may always find yourself in the same place. No matter how small do not regret not taking a step.
Do you have any regrets that you can't seem to get over?
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HI. I'M AWET.
A simple soul who likes to engage the world in meaningful ways in the hopes of inspiring others.
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