Spending the majority of my professional life working with older adults, there are a few things that they always say they regret not spending more time doing. Or things they wish they could go back and do over. Take a page from their book….. do these things better.
1. Make family moments matter.
All too often we get caught up in the daily “to do list.” Get up, get ready, get off to our places we need to be, eat dinner, go to bed. But we miss those moments when we make real human connections with our children and with our family. Sometimes we may need to take a step back and stop trying to make the most of the day, and make the most of a moment instead.
Eat dinner together at the table. Talk about each other’s day. Ask about life events. Have discussions about emotions. Stop and take the time to savor those tiny moments that make up our day. Don’t just “get through the day”, make it a day to remember. Every day.
2. Take chances that don’t make sense.
Life gives us guidelines. Choices to make that are rational and easy. But often times, it’s the chances that we take outside of the box that are the most memorable.
Sometimes the best decisions that we make are the ones that don’t follow any of the rules. Sometimes, stepping outside of our own boxes can make us better people. Things that scare us, things that make us uncomfortable, things that we are told we aren’t supposed to do, make us better people when we choose to do them. Life lessons.
3. Love without Borders.
Sometimes we place “love” in a box. We set limitations and expectations of the person we are meant to love. They are supposed to fit in the “prince charming” visual that we have been given. But sometimes the people that we are meant to love the most, don’t fit within any of the borders we are set to have.
Love without restriction. Don’t put a race, or a face, or a gender, or a background, or a financial status, or a personality into your life’s agenda. Just let love happen.
4. Accept your body for the way it is.
Whether you feel too fat or too skinny, the fact remains that you are exactly who you are. If you want to change it, then do it. But if you love yourself for exactly the way that you are, then don’t make excuses for it. And don’t “body shame” yourself for how you appear.
The world is made up of people of many different shapes and sizes. And no matter what size you are, your life still has value. There are plenty of people out there in the world who loves skinny girls, who love fat girls, who love muscular girls, who love all types of girls. And if you accpet yourself for who you are, then one day you will find a man who will accept you exactly the same.
5. Go places you have never been.
We have all grown up in our respective “small towns”. We have all wished that we could get away from that place and experience new things. All too often we make excuses for why we don’t leave. And we are jealous of those who get to experience things that we never have.
If you can make the time, if you can save the money, if you can find the means to go to the places you only thought you could dream of, go there. You will never regret it. Instead of spending money buying things, spend money going places. Making memories. Seeing, and smelling, and tasting all of the things you wish you could.
Go! Where ever it is you dreamed or you wished you could go, find a way to get there.
6. Do a job you love
It’s easy to accept a job that pays the bills. But it’s hard to find a job, that you absolutely know that you love.
Don’t spend your life working for “the man” if you don’t love what you’re doing. Try to find a job that allows you to be who you are, showcase your strengths, make a difference in the life of others, all the while making you feel whole inside. Do something that matters to you.
7. Apologize for your shortcomings.
We all have regrets, we all have instances in our lives that we wish we could go back and do over. But when we can’t do them over again, we can still go back and apologize for our mistakes.
Don’t live your life with regret, especially when it comes to people. It’s much easier to go back and apologize for mistakes you have made in your past than is to pretend that didn’t happen. People are much more willing to forgive than you realize.
Apologize to people you have wronged. Apologize for decisions that you wish you had made differently. Make amends with those that wronged you. And even if they don’t forgive you, you can at least live knowing that you made an effort to make it better.
8. Try new things.
Whether it’s a new type of food, an activity or a type of music…. give it a chance. At least then you will know if you like it or not. Just saying you don’t like something because your never tried it, doesn’t negate it at all.
Some of the things most people have learned to love in life are things they had never experienced before. So before saying you don’t like something, at least try it, once. Then decide. Some of the best experiences we have in our lives are ones that we thought we would never have. Or ones that we were too afraid to have. Put yourself out there, you never know what might happen.
9. Love like you will never be hurt.
Love is a part of life that we all strive to have. Whether it’s the love of a spouse, or a friend, or of family members…… Love is an essential part of human life.
Sometimes we are afraid it to love others because we think they will hurt us. We think they will take advantage of our vulnerability. And honestly, sometimes that will happen, we will be hurt, we will be devastated, we will be betrayed by someone we love.
But to love, to genuinely, unequivocally, unrestrictively and blindly love someone……. is the purest of all human emotion. So when given the opportunity, just do it. Hope for the best. And if you are betrayed, know that on your end, your intentions were pure. You will never actually regret loving someone. You may regret trusting them with your love, but those moments of pure emotion will never be moments of regret.
Love people. Let them hurt you. Let them love you back. Let the love you have be known. Because nothing ever comes from a love hidden.
10. Let all the bad things go.
There is nothing more debilitating than holding on to anger or regret. When you let those parts of your life consume you, you don’t allow yourself to see the good things that are right in front of you.
When given the opportunity to forgive and forget, take it. Holding onto the past, basing decisions on fear, assuming the worst in people based on experiences that you have had in the past, won’t push you forward in your life.
Sometimes you just have to let things be the way they are. And realize that what you take away from bad situations are lessons learned. Not regret, not sadness, not the unwillingness to trust….. but lessons that teach you how to go forward with your life. Let a negative be a positive.
11. Don’t take life so seriously.
Have a good time, laugh, make mistakes, laugh at yourself, make jokes, let life be exactly what it is.
Life is a learning experience. It’s a bundle of joy, it’s a cry in the corner, it’s a messy house, it’s a glorious vacation, it’s a sudden death, it’s a new friendship, it’s a sad goodbye, it’s a lesson learned, it’s a bad parenting decision, it’s a success story, it’s a proud moment, it’s an embarrassing moment, it’s a belly laugh, it’s a crocodile tear, it’s everything and nothing.
And every single moment of it is precious.