The meanderings of life are infinite and we are presented with many opportunities, challenges, joys and sorrows and paths for growth. Along this journey, one can either get stuck at the road blocks or continue pushing through; seize opportunities or break them and dwell in one extreme emotion to the next. Either way, everything we are presented with connects to one point or another in the past or future.
We all make mistakes along the way, but they aren’t to be viewed in a negative light, but rather as opportunities to sharpen ourselves and evolve into our best versions. Regrets often arise as an outcome of mistakes, but they also surface as a result of not living in the present and seizing chances as they come. If we can strip away the ifs and whens that come up so easily in life and begin focusing more on the now, regrets won’t have a firm grasp on us down the road. Some of the most common regrets people experience below can give you a nudge towards evaluating the points in your life that may need a dose of living in the now.
1. Subscribing to the ideals of another human being and not living a life true to one’s desires and aspirations
This human being can be a parent, relative, partner or any outsider that is trying to influence your life in some capacity. We can become so fixated on pleasing others and preserving the status quo that in the end we only harm ourselves in doing so. It is self-destructive to play to the tune of other people’s viewpoints and dissolve our own dreams in the process. Honor your dreams, they don’t come to you by chance.
2. Ignoring one’s health
You may have spent your youth drinking away the weekend nights, attending every party, smoking and eating late-night takeout. In the end, the fast life will age you quicker than you can imagine and increases the propensity for disease in the future. There is nothing wrong with indulgence every now and then, but choosing to be healthy is a way of life, not a choice to be made only when a major life-altering disease presents itself.
3. Working around the clock at the expense of spending time with family and friends
We all need to make a living and it’s even better when we’ve found a job we love enough that it doesn’t feel like work. However, a work-life balance is paramount to emotional stability and mental clarity. Being constantly switched on mentally and physically for work is a cocktail for burnout down the line.
4. Not getting the degree you always wanted
When we make the decision to go to college, it is usually our teen self that does the thinking. We may have advisors and parents that guide us on a certain path, but that doesn’t mean that the degree you end up with is what you’ve wanted all along, particularly when you begin you work life. Maybe you love the job you’re in, but the learning process never ends. If you have a newfound desire to study something new, scope out as much information as you can about the field and see what a day on the job would be like.
5. Taking life too seriously and not being happier
Spontaneity is a term that comes up often, along with taking more chances as excessively weighing the outcomes and calculating everything takes out all the fun. It is not an invitation to be irresponsibly wild, but to not take things too seriously all the time. Being happy doesn’t necessarily relate to spontaneity, but if you’re too wound up in the strictness of your daily life, happiness won’t have much space to flourish. Happiness can be found in the minute moments of your day: a simple smile, the sound of surf, a delicious coffee. Writing a gratitude journal daily will also help keep your perspective on all the things that are going right instead of focusing on the more stressful aspects.
6. Not being with our true love
Break ups can get the best of both sides and sometimes you’re left with the question of what-ifs. Many times a break up is the only solution as things just aren’t working. Other times, many different factors can come into play that make you wonder what could have been. There is no sense in attaching yourself to a projected outcome because anything that should have been and could have been, would have been. List all the attributes you seek in a future partner and work to build those same attributes within yourself. You cannot expect to attract your true love with the qualities you seek if you don’t possess them as well.
Photo credit: Mariano Di Vaio