Recently, I spent a lovely night hanging out with my sister. We went to dinner, saw a show; it was a much-needed girls night out.
I see my sister every week and we talk just about every day, but in the course of daily life, sometimes we don't get to have those kind of deep discussions that only sisters can have.
We got to have that kind of chat on Friday night.
As we took a stroll down memory lane, reminiscing (and ruing a bit) about things we've done in the past, my sister said, "Yeah, there are definitely some things I regret."
"Me too," I replied, not just as a way to chime in and make her feel better, but because it's true. Then I thought about it for a minute.
"I think that's a good thing," I added. "If you don't regret at least some of the things you did in life, then maybe it's because you didn't really do much."
I hadn't really thought about this before until I said it out loud, but it seems to be true. You can play it safe your whole life and not do anything that you might be sorry about later; but is that really living?
"A ship is safe in the harbor, but that's not what ships are for." -- William G.T. Shedd
I love this quote, and I think it really sums up the sentiment here. Sure, there are lots of things I regret doing, but as I'm getting older, I'm finding that I have more regret over the things I haven't done.
I have regrets like everyone else does. I've experienced love and lost it (several times); there were friendships that I let go by, times when I treated someone unkind, times when I let my emotions get the best of me.
But when I look back on my life thus far, I realize that having regrets is a result of what is commonly referred to as living.
I fail because I try new things. I make mistakes because I take chances. I get hurt because I put myself out there.
What makes these regrets much easier to bear is knowing that I have them because I have also had experiences. Sure, I have regrets about some of the things I've done, but I also have a catalogue of wonderful memories. I haven't done everything right in life, but let's be honest; who has?
Who among us can say that they've never made a mistake in life? Can you honestly say that you've never erred; never done something you wish you could take back?
Life is messy, life is complicated; sometimes life is a rush of amazing emotion and experience, and sometimes life just sucks out loud. But that's what life is; it's a series of ups and downs, times that make us laugh, cry, scream, hurt, and throw our guts up.
I'm going to die someday; we all are. When it's my time to punch the big time clock in the sky, I don't want to go out having lived a safe, comfortable life. I don't want to be remembered as the "safe" person that lived their neat tidy life and then died.
I want to be remembered as the person who truly lived. I want to be remembered as the person who went out there and made their mark on the world. I want to take my last breaths with memories of exhilarating times on my mind. I want to look back at my life and think, "Wow, I was here, I lived my life, and it was amazing!"
Do you have regrets? If you don't, maybe it's time to get out there and start creating them. While you're doing that, you may find that you're also creating some pretty stellar experiences, and making unforgettable memories.
In the end, I figure if I have more experiences than regrets, I've lived a pretty great life.