Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday break! Whether you celebrate or not, a few days off never hurt anybody…so I hope it was eventful and/or restful for you all.
This morning on my train ride to work, this woman was lamenting about her life and all the mistakes she’d made, the opportunities she didn’t take advantage of and the choices she could have made that would have changed her life forever. She thought she’d be in a different place by now, and for the duration of my commute to work, I felt sorry for her.
Before I got off at my stop, her friend told her that she was being miserable, and that where she was today is exactly where she was supposed to be. To that, the woman responded, “So you’re telling me that if you could go back in time, there’s nothing you would have done differently?”
I had to get off the train before I could hear her friend’s response, but it made me ponder the answer myself.
I would have studied abroad in Spain for a semester if I could go back to my college days.
I would have listened to my mother more when it came to certain guys I had a crush on.
I would have played basketball in college when offered the opportunity.
I would have bought a place once I moved to NY instead of anticipating not liking it here, or not being able to survive here…7 years later.
I would have taken a chance on sports broadcasting.
I would have bought those shoes :-)
Hindsight being 20/20, there are a million things I would have done differently if I knew then what I know now. But the reality is, I didn’t know then what I know now…and that’s what learning is all about.
Yes, I could have done a semester abroad, but what great experience would I have missed out on while at Syracuse? I could have listened to my mother more when it came to certain guys, but I learned valuable lessons of what NOT to do from those relationships. I could have bought a place here, but not been able to afford it because I jumped the gun and/or didn’t research/plan correctly. And those shoes…? They’re out of style now.
The point is, I feel that without having gone through life’s uncertainties, the ups and downs and making mistakes, how can we discover ourselves? You have to walk in the rain to experience the rainbow. You have to know sadness to appreciate happiness. You have to make mistakes in order to learn and grow.
Missed opportunities teach us that we should not live life in fear…to take a chance every once in awhile. The woman on the train sounded like a person who allows her fears to define her, and in that fear, she lives her life with regrets. What I feel she (and I) can learn from the “would’a, could’a, should’as” is to embrace the fear, stare it in the face and channel it differently.
Fear has a purpose. It can be the engine that drives our intellectual, emotional and spiritual progress…our evolution. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. Don’t be afraid of failure. Be afraid of not trying. Be afraid of not loving. Be afraid of not living.
The better way of living is not without problems, challenges, tragedies or regrets – but in the way we deal with them. Instead of wishing you lived in a different world, create the world you want to live in. Perception is reality.
If you are constantly looking at your past with regret, you can’t shape and appreciate your bright future. We literally can create the world we want to live in through our minds and project it outward. Accept your past, make peace with your decisions, and begin again. Embrace a new paradigm to guide your personal life to one of fulfillment. Have faith, and believe it possible.