February 21, 2017

How to Live with No Regrets

Morley Safer to Andy Rooney on his last interview on 60 minutes: “If you had your life to live over again, what would you do?”

Andy Rooney: “If I had my life to live over again, I’d be on television. I’d get on ’60 Minutes’ if I could and I’d do a piece every week, of my own. I’d write it and say it. And that’s what I’d like to do best.”

While sitting in a pub with one of my best girlfriends we started to having the woulda, coulda, shoulda talk. You know the one you have when you’ve had just the right number of drinks and begin feeling particularly sentimental about your life. I asked my friend if up until know there was anything in her life she had regretted, that she would want to do over. In a rare moment of self-realization and clarity she told me that although she would love to say no, she did regret the fact that she felt there were moments in her life she had left on auto pilot. Too many times had she seen herself rolling with the punches, going with the flow, just hoping that everything would come together sooner or later.

After we said our goodbyes I thought about what she said and wondered if there were moments that I had done the same. I’m sure there are. I have let opportunities slip through my fingers. I have cowered in the face of opposition. I know that there are moments, if not years that if given the opportunity I would at least tweak.

I’ve heard so many times from various friends and acquaintances that they live with no regrets. I say good for them if that is really true. But then I thought are those people, or am I, living my life with no regret in hindsight or right now? Am I making good conscious decisions that make my life regret free? Or I am I simply dismissing bad decisions later because the grace of time has allowed me forget their weight? I would much rather make good initial decisions than simply “be OK” with poor ones later.

I started to think about ways that I could do this. Ways I could effectively live with no regrets NOW and not LATER. Remember: none of these are easy.

1: Stand up for yourself
2: Start taking care of your body now, before it’s too late
3: Don’t let people talk you into those pants, that job, him/her
4: If they are still around, tell your parents you love them
5: Try to save at least 20% of each paycheck
6: Stop complaining to everyone you know, instead start asking everyone you know how they are doing
7: Make new friends, keep the old. One is silver the other gold.
8: Don’t blame others for problems that you caused yourself
9. Don’t belabor the point
10. Don’t apologize for who you are, unless who you are needs apology
11. Share what you have, you can’t take it with you when you go
12. If you aren’t in love, don’t string someone along
13. Ask for what you want, people can’t read your mind
14. Your boss is your boss, not master of the universe. Remember that you are both human beings and on that most important level, equals
15. If you can, give back
16. Get up on the bus for the elderly and pregnant
17. Find a job that makes you happy and if you can’t try to carve out an hour of your day to plan how you’re going to do it
18. Try to be the same person in every situation you are put in. You are amazing
19. Don’t hold grudges. Instead make the decision to forgive and forget, or let go of the relationship
20. Get in touch with nature and the world around you
21. Go to things that you are invited to, even if it’s far, even if it’s cold, even if you have nothing to wear
22. Initiate plans, don’t wait for them
23. Follow through
24. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt
25. Be bold. Go for what or who you want, the fear is rejection will render you a passenger in your own life forever

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