Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What will you regret? My 2012 non-resolutions

So I read this post here (go ahead; I'll wait).
And it got me to thinking.
And evaluating.
And thinking some more.
And here is what I think of that top 5 list.

First, when you talk about the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, it makes me sing this song:

You've got to set the mood, you know.

Here is the list of items from the post, which I've edited down but hopefully kept the spirit in which they were written. I'm going to think of them about the 5 things that I refuse to regret in 2012.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled.
This is a tough one and one that I think about a lot as a parent of small children. How can I help them to be true to themselves? But more importantly, have I been true to myself? Have I reached my goals or stopped short, worried about what other people think or what other people expect?
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard. 
They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship.
I have a job that I find very satisfying; I get to read and write for a living, and it's hard not to work hard at something when it feeds your soul. But there is so much more to life than work! And the snarky but accurate "how can I miss you if you don't go away?" applies to people, things and work. Think about it.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
This does not so much apply to me as I am, for the most part, a roiling ball of emotion. But have I been honest with the people who matter most to me? Have I let them know how much they mean, or have I spoken up when I have a need that's not being met?
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. 
There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
Ah yes. This is the big one. It's tough to maintain friendships when you are raising children, especially when your friends all have kids and all the kids are different ages and have different interests. I never imagined that my friends and I would drift apart as our children got older, but it's happened; there were a few years when I didn't let a day go by without talking to at least 2 or 3 friends ... now 2 or 3 days can go quickly by without talking to any friends at all. My family, my job, my personal responsibilities have rushed in to fill the space.
Sometimes, I don't mind; sometimes I'm owning the choice of putting all of these other things in the forefront of my life, and I see that my friends have done the same, but the result is that we've let our relationships founder and, in some cases, fall apart. I hate when that happens, because I don't let people go easily; you can guarantee that if we were friends at some point in my life, you are still a part of my heart today. I haven't let you go, even though we don't talk as often as you or I wish we did. But I hope that this year we can bridge that gap again. Everyone may miss their friends when they're dying but it's crazy to miss them when you are alive.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. 
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice.
That is a lesson that I've learned in the past few years: happiness is the journey, not the destination. I try to find happiness in my life every day, even in the most mundane circumstances. I try to find the kernel of good in every nugget of, well, crap.

What about you? What regrets will you overcome this year?

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to overcome my lack of courage and belief in my talents. There! I said it.