“It’s never too late.”
Um, yes it is. I hate to add fuel to anyone’s already overactive angst, but I’ve run into this gremlin way too much this week. It hides under the bed, waiting to snap at your ankles as you get out of the bed in the morning, or huddles in your closet ready to grab your wrist as you dress for an evening out with friends.
Time is a controlled substance and a commodity that doesn’t care what you do with it. It keeps ticking away as you make decisions, no matter how valid or valuable those choices are–or not.
When we are young, the end of our life is so far away, out there in the misty future, that we waste a lot of that controlled substance. People give us advice, but we don’t listen. None of us do. Maybe we even ask people we trust for guidance, but as the decision looms closer, we do what we want, often counter to that advice. And our own best interests.
But, in reality, we presuppose that time will never run out for us. The gremlin has bitten my ankles, though, and drawn blood this week. And I never did make it to the event I was dressing for as another wizened goblin twisted my wrist to the point of tears.
Regret is the offspring of wasted time. Wasted chances. Unfortunate choices that will never be cleaned up, decades later, as I now recognize where the road zigged and I should have….not.
I know better now. About many things. But my biggest regret is that the sands that trickled out of the hourglass of my life–my life, for God’s sake!–can never be funneled back into that delicate vessel.
Rather than end on that desolate note, here is what I would tell young(er) people from my vantage point today:
- Behave as if today is your last day on this spinning top. Because it might be. Think about that with dedication every morning of your life, BEFORE the goblin snaps at you.
- Spend time now considering what kind of life you want. What kind of partner is best for you. What career fits your goals and personality. And then set your course to get those things.
- Don’t let other people–ANYONE–live your life for you. Make choices and decisions based on what you want for you, not what will make them happy. Seeking out advice in advance is advisable, but make sure these people don’t have a stake in the outcome of their words of wisdom. Consider if they have an agenda counter to yours, and then do what is best way for you to embrace the life you want, the one you spent valuable time unearthing. (Besides, some people are idiots, let’s face it.)
- Spend time learning to love yourself. No matter your religious or spiritual beliefs understand that the fact that you are here is all that is necessary for you to be “good enough.” Period.
- Have more fun. Laugh, be silly, watch clouds once in a while. Dance, or paint, or write, or blow bubbles every day. Whatever. Life is to be enjoyed, not endured. To realize this near the end of your life is excruciatingly dismal.