Live with No Regrets!
My father died suddenly from a car accident six years ago. It was a tragic experience that rattled every member of my family to their core. But there was one thing that helped me accept and be at peace with the incident: I had no regrets about my relationship with my father.
We had always been close and enjoyed regular phone calls and visits, despite him living in Chicago. We played chess when we could (he occasionally let me win) and wrote letters-the old fashioned kind-often. So when his extremely untimely departure came (he was only 83 and had ridden 17 miles on his bike the day before), I was able to live with his loss more easily.
Living with No Regrets
There are certain things we all regret that we DID do (accepting the board position, getting caught speeding, making the Bad Toast at your friend’s wedding. . .) These are not my concern here.
I’m concerned about the things that you will regret if you DON’T do them.
Robert C. Gallagher said, “Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.” This means that the following things, assuming you had them at one point, will come to an end:
– Going to college
– Being in great physical shape
– Having good health
– Having no children
– Having your parents alive
– Living a carefree life of travel
– Having a face with no wrinkles and a head full of hair
The question is not, how do I prolong these (Botox and Rogaine???) The real question is, What should I be doing NOW so that I will be at peace with the world when these things are gone?
Eat salami first
My friend Chris and I were hiking in the mountains of Yosemite in 1991. We were doing a 3-day backcountry trek and had our packs full of delicious food (salami, cookies, trail mix, etc). Unfortunately, we didn’t hang our food right on the first night, and the bears ate everything we had, including our toothpaste and deodorant. Had we eaten all the good stuff the first day, we would have gotten to eat the it, not the bears. Instead, we found ourselves picking strands of spaghetti out of the dirt to eat later (which different bears got the second night).
The Ultimate Resolution
As you stand at the top of 2008, what are you going to do to help you live a life of no regrets?
Get in shape?
Quit your job?
Get out of a bad relationship?
Sign up for a GrahamComm workshop (or just send a check for the hell of it)?
Go to South America?
Play with your kids more?
What are you waiting to do? What are you going to turn around 20 years from now and wish you had done?
Renowned psychologist Dr. Maynard Brusman once told me that new year’s resolutions are a waste. Nobody ever does what is on their list, and they end up feeling worse because of them.
But if you must resolve, resolve to live your life with no regrets. If you follow that compass, everything else will fall into place.