The agony of regret.

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Who are the important people in your life?
Have you got an ever expanding bucket list?
What activities, hobbies and pastimes give you joy, fill you up and satisfy your soul?

Are you happy with the amount of time and attention you’ve allowed for these recently? Have you seen those loved ones lately? Have you ticked items off your bucket list and do you engage in those life giving activities you enjoy often enough?

Life delivered me a very abrupt wake up call this past week and I realised that life is far too short to live with regrets and miss opportunities that enrich us.

A friend of mine, who has lived on the Sunshine Coast, just over an hour’s drive from where I live, moved to New Zealand this week. A few weeks ago, when we were taking about the possibility of her moving, I thought I had plenty of time to catch up with her before she left. To my surprise she packed her bag and bought a ticket allowing only a two week window of time for a final visit.

Unfortunately, in that time I had a packed schedule and simply couldn’t make the trip to see her. I was lamenting with another friend and sharing how I deeply saddened I was and how I regretted not being able to see our mutual friend before her departure. She too felt a similar regret and what she said next was like the universe giving me a little smack. My wise friend said, “We feel sadness and regret because we could have seen her more often, and we didn’t”.

She’s right you know. I was busy the last two weeks before my friend left but I could have made the time to see her more regularly before that, and I didn’t. Now, instead of living an hour away she is across the ocean, in another country and it is no longer quite so easy to pop in for a cup of tea, a hug and a chat.

Then I started thinking about the other people in my life who I treasure and yet don’t see often enough. My grandmother lives in my city, about forty minutes away from me and a dear friend moved into a nursing home some time ago and I haven’t seen her for several months. Both of these beautiful women are important to me and have played integral roles in my life and I’ve not made the time to see them as regularly as I’d like.

Interestingly, this same week, an associate asked me what was stopping me from volunteering at Meals on Wheels and the hospital and writing my book – things I’ve long wanted to do. To be honest, using lack of time seemed like a weak excuse and I heard myself respond by saying “nothing”. To be honest, nothing was stopping me but my own self created story of being tired, too busy, putting more importance on mundane things. I realised too, it has just been easier to long for something rather than to actually get off my butt and do something about it. For years I’ve  wanted to do these things and all I really needed to do to make these dreams a reality was to make a few phone calls and actually “put my money where my mouth is”.

We are all busy and there are times when we are sick and tired and just need our own time, away from the world. But let me ask you, do you want to reflect back over your life and regret missed opportunities?

I encourage you to pick up the phone today and connect with friends and family. Schedule your fun. Yep, put it in your diary and gift that time to yourself to go climb that rock, hike that mountain, ride your bike, learn to dance, sew, cook and sip tea with a friend.

Life is too short for regrets. Life is so much richer filled with love, fun, enjoyment and a sense of achievement.

Go ahead. Start now. What’s stopping you?

Have a fabulous weekend.

Shannyn

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