Unfortunately, life is very short and the older I get the quicker time seems to pass. I’m quickly realizing that I probably won’t fit everything in. So how do I choose? How do I pick which things to go for wholeheartedly and what things to leave to someone else?
It comes down to a simple question: “When I’m 80, will I regret __________________?”
The blank could be not doing something or choosing to do one thing over another. It’s a simple question and it comes in really handy.
Next time you find yourself struggling over whether or not you’re going to do something ask yourself that very question: “Will I regret this decision when I’m 80?” If the answer is no then go ahead with your decision. If it’s yes think about how you can make it happen or stick it out until you’re done.
Life’s too precious to have you get all the way to the end and say “damn I should have done that when I had the chance” or “I really should have let that go” or “I can’t believe I didn’t take the opportunity when it was presented to me”.
Live your life to your best capability. Here are a few areas that you could try to challenge yourself in. Some of these you may have thought of yourself, some of these will be new but what I hope is that it gives you a push to do more and be more with the life you have left.
Have you ever changed jobs? Have you thought about changing jobs? How about your career? The possibilities are endless when it comes to how you make a living. Maybe you’ve toyed with the idea of becoming an entrepreneur and working for yourself. Will you regret not giving it a chance? Or will you regret going for it?
Have you been eating the same food for the past 20 years? Have you always wanted to try something new but haven’t got around to it yet? Are too afraid to try it because “Oh I don’t like chickpeas”. Go out on a limb and give it a shot. Get a cookbook full of exotic recipes and work your way through it. Make a point of going to different types of restaurants when you go out for dinner.
Do you spend most of your time in the office only to leave your chair to travel back home again where you sit down, watch TV, and “relax”? Try getting out more. Turn off the TV and get outside. Go on a walk or a hike or a drive. Is there somewhere local that you’ve never been? Too often we see a lot more of foreign places than we do of our own back yard.
Like to play it safe? Worried about things going wrong? It’s been my experience that everything always works out. Try something risky like changing careers or quitting your job and working for yourself. Pick up and move half way around the world and see what it’s like in another culture, another country or another hemisphere.
- Doing something crazy
Walk home in the rain in your business suit. Join a polar bear club or sing along with a busker in the streets and see what happens. Be a back up dancer at a karaoke bar. There are a lot of crazy things you can do. Keep it clean, be respectful and I’m sure you’ll find you get a burst of energy and excitement from doing it.
- Being nice
Do something nice for someone else out of the blue and just because. Don’t expect anything in return. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, donate food and toys to an animal shelter. Plant an extra row of vegetables in your garden and donate the produce to a charity. We all think we’re nice people but actions really do speak louder than words. Think about it.
- Quitting something
We all know that when we say yes to one thing we are saying no to something else. If that committee you’re on isn’t providing you a sense of fulfillment or accomplishment as it once did, quit. Quit the soccer team if it’s no longer fun, quit grad school if it’s no longer what you want to do. Quitting is usually seen as a negative thing and to be avoided. However, being deliberate and thoughtful in what you are resigning from will open a large chunk of time that could be better spent.
- There are a lot of areas of our lives that unless we really take time to think about them we keep with the status quo. Living life on auto-pilot can be boring and may lead to a life with relatively few rich experiences. I have made it my mission to live deliberately and with purpose so I can look back with, hopefully, no regrets. So far so good …