We all know, in theory, how precious and fleeting life can be, but sometimes, until that knowledge has slapped you across the face and pried open your eyes with its harsh realizations, it is easy to miss what might be happening right in front of you and how special it really is. Everything from the seemingly mundane everyday activities to the extraordinary things we do are special. Every day that we wake up and take a breath and open our eyes is special. Every damn day is precious. I cannot say that enough right now. Every single day is precious. Don’t wish them away.
Here is what I’ve learned about how to have no regrets:
Tell people you love them. Tell them you are glad that they are part of your life. Thank them for their friendship and mean it. Be genuine and sincere and appreciative of all that they mean to you.
Sometimes it can make a world of difference to hear that someone is thinking of you, especially when things are tough. So send a quick text or email or pick up the phone.
Know, really know, who has your back and who doesn’t and when you find that out, let the ones who don’t go.
Don’t be afraid of having only a few friends. Life is not like high school where you will be judged for the number of friends you have or don’t have. It’s like the old saying says – it is about quality, not quantity. I would much rather have a few friends who will be there for me when I need them no matter what, than a bunch of friends who are only there if it is convenient to them.
Surround yourself with people who love you for who and what you are every day of every month of every year. People that you will want to be there to hold your hand, to reminisce about the fun times and the sad times and the amazing times you have had together at the end. Realize that although things never stay quite the same, it is worth the effort to hold onto the people who mean something to you. Remember that even though you may only talk to someone a few times a year, if they are a true friend, you might not need more than that.
Be yourself. Embrace what makes you special and unique and go with it. Don’t be afraid to be who you are because you are worried about what others might think. That, my friends, is what draws people to you.
Say what you want to say. Don’t leave things left unsaid. If someone has hurt you, tell them. If they have wronged you, tell them – maybe they want to make it right but don’t know how. If they have done something for you, thank them. Don’t leave things hanging.
Don’t harbour regrets. Think about the things that you would have rather done differently and learn from them. Use your mistakes and missteps and blunders as tools and examples of how not to do things the next time. Embrace your past as part of who you are and know that even the bad stuff has helped to shape you.
Say “I love you”. Lots. And mean it. Love has many forms and we are so used to it being used only for romantic purposes that we forget to use it for anything else. If you love your friends, tell them. Tell them why, and tell them often. Same goes for family. I know I have said this once already but it really bears repeating. You cannot say it too much. It will not lose it’s power or meaning or importance if you say it. So say it already!
Know that when life is tough, and I mean really tough, that it will be ok. You will make it through to the other side and there will be a big old rainbow waiting for you there. I will be honest, it may take a bit of a journey to find it, but it is there.
Hold hands, laugh, hug, smile. Never underestimate the healing power of touch.
Be prepared to drop everything to the best of your abilities and be there for people when they need you too. Don’t be a taker and not a giver. Be generous with your kindness and it will be returned twentyfold to you at some point.
Trust. In yourself and in other people. It’s hard but so worth it.
Let your guard down sometimes. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and fragile. It can be hard work keeping those walls we surround ourselves with up, and everyone needs a break sometimes.
Forgive. It doesn’t mean that you have to forget, but hanging on to grudges will get you nowhere fast.
Let it go. No, I don’t mean the song from “Frozen” but close enough. Remember that no matter how hard you try to control everything, you don’t, and sometimes you have to remember that it things are out of your control sometimes.
Love. The most important thing, the thing that will light your candle and keep your flame alive is love. Remember that. At the end of your life, you are not going to wish that you had loved less or cried less or had less fun. You won’t remember that you had less friends than your highschool pals. You won’t wish you hadn’t been open with people or let them in. You won’t regret sharing your feelings and saying it instead of hiding it.
What you will remember are the times you’ve had, the memories you’ve made, and the people you loved. These are the things that will remain. It’s scary,and difficult, but it will be worth it someday. No regrets.