If you were to live today with no regrets, what would you do? This isn’t the sort of question that gives you time to make a bucket list of everything you want to do before you die. It is a decision maker based on what is within reach here, right now.
According to Erikson’s stages of development, we shouldn’t really be thinking about the value of our lives and the impact we make in our world around us until we hit at least 40 … and spend the rest of our lives making sure we leave a meaningful legacy for someone within our spheres of influence, however big or small those may be. Maslow figured that the ability to think beyond ourselves and give to others altruistically, spiritually, is the pinnacle of development. But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if there was a way to choose to hijack these lines of development?
I had this weird niggling thought in my head since I was a teenager that I would die between the ages of 26-28, mostly likely in a plane crash. A little morbid and a little weird? Absolutely! Oddly enough though, it never made me afraid. It pushed me to really live. Guess what? I’m still not dead.
No regrets living takes us places and gets us off the couch. It builds bridges with people. It accomplishes things. It gives us experiences and wisdom. It only has that healthy respect for fear. It is a courageous life. No regrets isn’t the ability to forgive yourself for not meeting the mark. It is the choice to do something that you won’t have to forgive yourself for.
Several weeks ago I had a friend over for dinner and we decided it was time to start a #noregretspact with each other. The best part is, we actually check in with each other: “How’s your #noregretspact?” It has challenged me to live like I used to live when I thought time was short – fully alive. The key to success? When there is a choice, make the courageous decision that you won’t regret tomorrow. For me, that might be getting out the door to Pilates, telling someone the good I see in them right there and then, swimming in the sea when it is still freezing cold, getting out of bed when I wake up (even if the alarm hasn’t gone off yet), saying “no” to that good thing I don’t actually have time for, having that conversation with God I don’t feel like having, answering emails in the morning, stopping to listen to someone, following through with something I told someone I’d do, taking a risk …
Right now, when you finish reading this, what will you choose to do?