We cannot waste time. We can only waste ourselves. – George M. Adams
Regrets are the lingering spirits of what we wish we had done. A full, well-lived life holds few regrets. To live with few regrets, I would like to say none but I don’t know that is humanly possible, demands that we act according with our values and courageously. That does not equate with rushing into a burning building and saving someone, most of us will never thankfully be presented with the opportunity to do something so overtly heroic. But rather to be crystal clear about what is most fundamental to our belief system and to confront our fears, anxieties and insecurities when they present, then and there.
Regrets grow from when was waste ourselves. If had only gone with what I knew in my heart was right. Dang It! Wish I hadn’t let fear get the better of me. I never did invite Uncle Joe over because I worried about how clean the house was; now he’s gone. I wish I had said something to the person in front of me at the line in the grocery store about the bag they left behind. All of us have some regret in our lives, big or small.
We never get back the moments of our lives. Do over’s in real life rarely if ever happen. We never get time back. It is sacred. It is precious and it ours to do with what we like. The time is now to live with as few regrets as possible. Blah, blah, blah…. Banal as that sounds, it is true.
To live such we do not waste ourselves can be joyful and it can be challenging and is a life wherein, if we are lucky, wisdom drawn from experience blossoms. Regrets are often about the enjoyments, adventures and experiences in life we did not take the time for and be fully immersed in- time with family, time in the garden, taking a trip, exploring a new friendship, falling in love…. And regrets are often about when we did not push ourselves and rise to the challenge.
In this spirit with the support and encouragement of my husband, family and friends I made a big decision two weeks ago, one that may seem insignificant to others, but to me is not. I am entering the Windy City Open, a ballroom dance competition. Performing scares the daylights out of me. Legendary quality stage fright that can make my knees shake, my eyes well up, face blanch and my stomach do things I would rather it not. It is not pretty folks.
Why then am I entering the Windy City Open? Simply said, because I need and want to push myself in order to continue to grow as a dancer. I have enough performances under my belt that I don’t become paralytically overwhelmed with stage fright. More fully said, because the opportunity to celebrate in a new way something I love with others who love it, to share in the fellowship of a common experience with close friends and to honor my husband’s, my instructor’s and my own belief in my ability to grow as dancer. When I grow in one are area of life it has a positive effect in all of the others.
If I place decently in any of my heats, that will be great. But what will be most meaningful and growth producing for me is just the experience, from the extra practice time I put in at home between lessons (hello calluses), to transforming with the help of a friend some dresses to be competition ready (hello rhinestones!), to my lessons with my instructor (I’ll see you later this week), and the competition itself (Good grief that’s about 1 month away!).
Between now and the Windy City Open, I hope to share with you what I am learning from the experience. What I know for certain is: first, I would not have made this decision without knowing that personal growth and excellence are values of mine and secondly that that support of my loved ones is paramount to me. I would really like to hear about some of your experiences and values that have allowed you to live with few regrets. Or a decision that you make or have made to ensure you live with one less regret. I invite you to share those with me and the other readers of this blog via the comments or in an email to me.
A life lived in fear is a life half lived. – Abuela, “Strictly Ballroom”