There were times when I just wanted to give up and do what everyone else wanted me to. Then there were times when I wasn’t sure what I should do, where I should go, or what would happen. My life seems to have wandered all over the map—literally, and figuratively. Yet, here I am, alive and well and doing okay with the me that I’ve become.
That’s not easy for most people to say. If you ask most people you’ll hear them hem or haw, or even quantify their answer, because most people either truly aren’t satisfied with their lives or think they aren’t.
So many people think they’re missing out, so they struggle to get what their neighbors or friends have, or are constantly chasing after; whatever it is they think will make them happier. Other people wander around regretting something—the guy they broke up with (would he have made a better husband?), the job they turned down (would they be CEO now?), or even the kids they may have put off and now they think it’s too late to have.
But regrets are perhaps the most foolish things to carry around with you. Do you really think your life would have been that much better had you made a different choice way back when? You might as well say that you don’t like yourself, because that would be closer to the truth. After all, whatever choices you made, made you; because you are the sum of your decision. You are what you made yourself, one choice at a time.
If you have regrets, then you need to make choices that will create the you you want to be. After all, you are the architect, contractor, and builder of you and your life. Therefore, if there’s something you don’t like about yourself, then maybe you need to take another look at the blue prints—did you follow them exactly, or at least close enough that you have the foundation and structure you wanted for your life, or do you need to alter them? Or maybe the change isn’t that fundamental. Maybe the change comes from a disconnect between the architect and builder. Maybe the contractor didn’t do a proper job of communicating with the two of them and maybe one of the rooms got left off.
Then again, perhaps it’s merely your perception of things that is causing the discontent in your life. Perhaps you think that because you and your spouse had no children of your own that you “had no children”. But take another look at your life—did you take care of younger siblings, your elderly parents, or a bunch of pets? Did you work or volunteer in a daycare center, youth center, or elder care facility? Couldn’t any of those qualify as having and raising children?
And while you may not have physically climbed Mount Everest, wasn’t that climb up the corporate ladder just as impressive and just as hard?
People tend to see their lives differently than others do, so next time you start to regret something, take another look—but try using different “eyes”. A different perspective might just show you that while the choices you made may not have been the ones you wanted to make at the time, they still got you to who you are. And who you are is great!
Once someone realizes that, they usually understand how foolish it is to carry around those regrets. After all, if you truly like yourself, truly like who you are, then you can’t have regrets.
I may not have taken the easiest path; I may not have even taken the most scenic path, but you know what? I believe that in the end, all paths lead to the same place—who you are right now. So, the most important lesson on the path of life (at least to me) is Like Yourself, because as traveling companions go, you’re all you have.