I stumbled upon this article on BuzzFeed and it captured my imagination:
37 Things You'll Regret When You're Old
There are certainly things on that list that don't apply to me. I don't think I will regret giving up German after 6 years or worry about forgetting sunscreen. (Have you seen how pale I am?) But there are other things on this list that really hit home:
1. Not traveling when you had the chance
I wrote about this in previous posts. I have no idea if I will have the use of my legs next week. But... you don't know that about your legs either. There is so much I want to see. I am going to make travel a priority in my life. I need to do it now.
5. Missing the chance to see your favorite musicians
I worked at a record store through college. I've never had more fun or gotten in more trouble. And, oh boy, did I see concerts. I saw the Beastie Boys. I saw Pink Floyd in Italy. Kurt Cobain died three months after I saw Nirvana in concert. I saw INXS at the Salt Palace. And I saw Clarence Clemons play his sax when I attended the ESPYs. I saw Mother Love Bone and Alice in Chains. But I missed Stevie Ray Vaughn. I saw Whitney Houston, but not Michael Jackson. I wish I had seen Amy Winehouse, The Ramones, and The Clash.
6. Being scared to do things
I'm getting better at this... but I still have a long way to go.
7. Failing to make physical fitness a priority
When I was diagnosed with MS, my Dr. Sister told me that I need to make myself strong now to prepare for a day when I would need that strength. And since that moment, I have been working towards that. I've been skating, eating healthy, and taking the stairs. And I've been boxing, which is not only helping with my physical fitness, it is good for my mental health. I take an hour to pound on the heavy bag until my knuckles are raw and my elbows are bruised, always aiming right at the big letter T printed on the cover.
This has never really been a problem for me. I am exceptionally employable. And while I have been downsized often (the technical writer is always the first to go), I have never had to wait too long before finding the next job. The job I had before the one I am currently in was intolerable. But it was only about four months between deciding I hated that job to finding the great job I have now. I find it kind of amazing how some people are much happier crying about how their job sucks than actually doing everything they can to improve their employment situation. I am not naive enough to think that all you have to do is activate your resume on Monster. It's no longer the mid-90s. But, if you really put your shoulder in it, you can usually improve your job situation. (As a super amazing added bonus, my last job is where I met Sara! That alone made it all worth it.)
10. Not trying harder in school
I often wonder how my life would have been different if I actually applied myself at school. If I had better work habits in junior high, I would have done better during the transition to high school. What if I had good enough grades to apply to an Ivy League school or study overseas? But thinking about that is a silly exercise. I can't go back in time and take a different path. I wish life was like a Choose-Your-Own Adventure book, where you can do it again if you don't like the outcome.
11. Not realizing how beautiful you were
Were? Fuck that! Am!
If you are someone I care about, of course I care what you think. But I never was too concerned with trying to please people. Or at least not since I escaped the seventh circle of hell known as high school.
16. Supporting others' dreams over your own
Again... guilty... See this post: Pontiff-icating
18. Holding grudges, especially with those you love
The first person I need to learn to forgive is myself. I am holding a big grudge against that chick in the mirror. She is always messing things up for me. That bitch.
21. Neglecting you teeth
My new standards for a man will include dental care. I am not shallow. Nor am I a dental snob. But I think that a man that cares about his teeth will most likely care about your teeth. And your overall health and well being. He won't let you drive off while having a miscarriage so he can go watch football with the slutty girls. He won't make you tell him you have MS over a text message because he is too busy dating to return a call. I mean... just for hypothetical examples.
22. Missing the chance to ask your grandparents questions before they die
All four of my grandparents are gone. My paternal grandpa died when I was very young, and that grandma was not a big fan of me. But my mom's parents were wonderful and I have many happy memories with them. I will never forget sitting on their bed in their little retirement farmhouse and asking my grandpa very complicated questions. Which he found a way to explain to me. I wish I could talk to him now. I could use his wisdom.
28. Letting yourself be defined by cultural expectations
I grew up a non-Mormon in Salt Lake City. I am immune to cultural expectations.
30. Not playing with your kids enough
I am terribly guilty of this. I am just so tired at the end of the day, the idea of playing video games or going on a bike ride seems like a huge undertaking. But, Kidlet has recently discovered the joys of reading. And now we sit, quietly side by side, reading our books. I can't tell you how much I love that he is a reader.
I think it will be a while until I take another big risk in love. I seem to get kicked in the teeth every time I do.
33. Worrying too much
I am getting better about letting go of things that I cannot control or change. And I know I have gotten better at letting go of the things in my life that cause me pain.
37. Not being grateful sooner
I am grateful. For all of it. My whole life. The happy and the painful. The illness and the strength. I am really liking the person I am becoming.