Life, it’s a gift. So write your own rules.

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.”
Pope Paul VI

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A friend recently wrote about attending the funeral of a dear friend at the end of last year. Reading her post I was moved and sobered by her loss, the passing of one so young, and the very gift of life itself.

Death forces us to sit up straight and pay attention. It makes all the little things, well, look just like little things. It gives us perspective. It’s a sharp hit of reality that forces us to focus on life. A death at a time of year when many people set resolutions and goals is particularly poignant.

How often do we hear that life is short? It is. It’s too short to live with regret. To live with fear. To live small.  Life is too short not to express ourselves fully, to feel deeply and to enjoy being crazy and daring and doing the things we love.

I wrote recently of setting some goals and creating a love list for the year. I’m going to hike a mountain, swing on a trapeze, I’m going to go to the beach and walk in the forest more often. I’m going to meet friends for lunch and take my husband out, to a different restaurant, each month for dinner.  I have plans for the year. My plans are my way of living. Of making life fun. Of honouring the lives of those I love who have lost theirs. But you know, I was thinking, as I was reading my friend’s blog, that to really honour our own life and the sweet beauty of it, we really ought to focus on giving stuff up too. I’m not talking about sugar and alcohol or cigarettes or whatever your vice might be. I reckon we need to give up guilt and shame and negative self talk. We need to free ourselves from the rules that have bound us, that have hemmed us in. We really ought to rewrite the rules of our lives and live on our own terms unrestricted by those old limiting patterns and beliefs, of the pointless merry-go-round of self sabotage.

The reality of our finite existence sometimes comes with the tragic loss of loved ones. What better way to honour the lives of those who have lost theirs by honouring our own.  Go ahead and make this year your best ever. What will you start doing, stop doing and do more if?

Shannyn

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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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