No regrets! Why not try something new...
Why not think about some things you’ve never done before
and do them simply because you’ve never done them
and for no other reason?
– Dr. Wayne Dyer
How often are we caught by surprise by how quickly time passes? It's the first week of December and the holidays are right around the corner. Where did the year go? Even under Covid-19 conditions, time has still flown by. Life always moves so fast; we blink, and 5 years has passed, then 10 years. Highschool seems like it was just yesterday but equally feels like a lifetime ago. Opportunities for growth come and go, so which ones do we grab?
I’m an introvert with an adventurous streak but it took me a while to figure that out. I’m just as content to bury my nose in a good book as I am to get out of my comfort zone and try something new like parasailing or repelling. It would be nearly impossible to live a life completely regret free but I decided a long time ago that whatever my end-of-life circumstances might be, when it happens it should be with the peace-of-mind that I had lived courageously.
For me, living courageously comes in the form of trying things – to name just a few of the highlights, so far I have joined the military, moved across the country, parent 2 boys, became a cycling enthusiast, received certification as a Yoga & Meditation teacher, learned to ride a motorcycle, started a small business and have become a part-time University student. Along the way there have been epic failures and epic successes, but each was an opportunity for growth as I learned more about myself and my strengths and weaknesses.
I have been fired from jobs, lost friends and loved ones and struggled to overcome insecurities from the past. There seems to be an innate tendency to recognize strengths in others but we underestimate our own abilities, convinced that we aren’t smart enough, strong enough and let whatever limitations we see in ourselves prevent us from trying new things. We are usually our own worst enemy and set up our own barriers. Sound familiar? One thing I am more than certain of however, is that we are capable of so much more than we think.
Courage is not a steady state of mind, it requires constant attention to recognize when I am indulging my inner negativity and defeating self-talk. Mindfulness is the key and a beneficial skill to build over a lifetime as we explore different challenges or pursue personal goals with thought, planning and purpose.
It would be easy to keep doing what is familiar and predictable, there is little risk but also little gain. Life is ultimately about balance, so knowing that makes it easier to move on when something doesn't work out. It would be impossible to be 100% successful anyways since there will always be curve balls and there is so much to gain along the way - self-knowledge, experience, friendships or the pure satisfaction of challenging yourself. How often have you looked back and realized that the actual experience was far less scary or difficult than you imagined? Have you ever challenged yourself and then later thought, "Wow! I did that!" "I actually did that!" That is the feeling of living courageously.
This is just a snippet of my life-list and is in no way prescriptive. Your life-list will be and should be different. It is a valuable exercise to look back and identify all of the things that you have attempted, whether it worked out or not, recognize what you have accomplished and reflect on anything that might come up that you would like to try. Simple to complex – what ideas come to mind? Maybe it’s gardening, kayaking, skiing, piano lessons – the possibilities are endless.
Time passes so quickly that it would be a shame to let another moment pass without pursuing your wish list. I don’t know what awaits but I am open to the unknown and look forward to discovering what new challenges I can find for myself. For now, I have a feeling there may be some Stand-Up Paddleboard in my future…
What have you never done before and why not give it a try?