Regret, remorse, sorrow, disappointment….all of these words describe emotions that every human being has felt throughout their lives, some more than others.
Millennials coined the phrase YOLO (you only live once), and took that to mean enjoy life, but even more so, take risks even if they are careless and downright stupid. Previous generations, dating back to ancient literature, used the term Carpe Diem. Carpe Diem! Seize the day! Live life for today. Live an extraordinary life for tomorrow is not promised. It seems that this ideology is absolute mantra to some and the absolute opposite for others. It’s black or white. Either you’re in or you’re out.
I am often torn between these opposing thought processes. I have children, so I have to make decisions for their futures. On the flip side, I wonder what my life would be if I didn’t have children. I would like to imagine that I would be living a carefree life. I would travel, explore, backpack and camp out in hostels. Maybe I would walk the Camino de Santiago. Saying that I would live the life of a nomad sans children does not mean that I regret having my girls, or feel like I am being held back by them. Not at all. The path that I am on now is one that I chose. I am want to be here.
What does any of this have to do with rocking chairs and regrets? It simply means that when I am up in years, sitting on my metaphysical porch, rocking back and forth in my rocking chair, I want to look back at my life and with a sheepish grin, remember how lovely my life was and how I have no regrets. I don’t want to look back and say that I never took the risk of falling in love. Or that I became so disenchanted with love and romance, that I feared being hurt and I stopped loving. I want to close my eyes and be transported back to those times when I packed up the girls at the last minute and took off for an mini vacation in the mountains or beach, even if my finances took a big hit. I want to remember when I happily worked my butt off to prepare holiday meals so that my family could come together and make memories. Remember the waves of indescribable, unparalleled love I felt the first time I heard my little ones wail’s of protest at being yanked from the safety of the womb in to this bright new world. What about the times I shut everything off and sat in the dark, all alone, and reveled in the peace and silence enveloping me. That one morning I watched the sunrise at the beach and wrote a love note in the sand bidding my sweetheart a good morning.
My youngest daughter recently asked me if I would change anything in my past if I could do it all over again. I thought about it for a second, thought about how I might have been happier if I pursued my dream of being a police officer. I had a dozen scenarios whirling around in my head and then suddenly I realized that I wouldn’t change a thing. Every choice I made, every path I took led me to where I am. Led me to my girls. Led me to the love that I have shared and enjoyed with others. Led me to a company and career that I love. My choices led me to you, my readers, my supporters, my loves.
However you want to view it, YOLO, Carpe Diem etc., please plan for the future but be present in today. Live in each moment with your soul. At the end of your life sit back and rock in your chair, close your eyes and sheepishly grin at the awesomeness your life was up to that very moment.