“What would you regret if you died tomorrow?” my ex-husband asked me long ago when we were still married, about a month after my mother had died. It had been a sudden loss.
I was still in the process of helping my dad go through her things… her nightgown hung in the closet smelling like she was in the room, a lipstick partially uncapped, her washcloth still moist and the most heart wrenching for me… a stack of games, colors and books to share with her grandsons on the train trip that was supposed to happen the weekend after she died (Austin at 8 years old already had so many memories of time with Grammy and was excited for this next one. This was Holden’s first big trip on the train with her, having just turned 3 years old, but he knew this was special time for him).
I was barely holding it together, often not. Trying to nurse my baby girl while sobbing for the loss of my mom and my babies’ grandmother and doing my best to “be there” for the boys in their sadness and confusion. My ex’s question didn’t seem out of the ordinary at the time, but it held the power of an avalanche of change.
“What would I regret?” I asked myself as he raced off to escape the emotions flowing through me and escape the chaos of two young boys and a baby. With my mom’s sudden death, I was thrown into thoughts of mortality and with that, a sense of time on this planet being finite. Having always excelled in planning and finding order in my life, my mom’s death was a big fat punch in my face that I could not control everything.
At the time my ex asked this question, I had already begun doing a “review” of my life…looking for areas of concern and opportunities to improve. What I didn’t expect was how over the course of the next few months, my fear and anxiety subsided and a feeling of peace came over me (in contrast, my ex-husband’s fear, anxiety and desire for control increased which created tension). I took nothing for granted any longer. I made a promise to myself that no matter what it looked like, I would live each day as fully as possible so that as I went to bed each night I could have gratitude for this day and peace that I had loved and lived this gift of a day as best I could.
I had no idea what that meant (or how to do it)! I knew I wanted to live each day as fully as possible, but given a lifetime of doing what others wanted and expected of me I felt lost. I knew the feelings I wanted in my life, but no idea how to create that for me and for my family.
And thus began the journey… one of learning how to be honest with myself about what matters to me, practicing living my truth rather than trying to do what everyone else thinks I “should” do, giving up trying to “be perfect” and instead looking for the joy, fun and love right in front of me and opening my heart… sometimes little by little and other times with a leap (and a gasp)!
My journey isn’t over and neither is yours. Have you ever asked yourself this question “What would I regret if I died tomorrow?” There was a book written about the regrets of the dying (The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing by Bonnie Ware). Do you know what the top regrets were in this study? See if anyone of these resonate with you:
* I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
* I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
* I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
* I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
* I wish that I had let myself be happier.
When you read these, do you feel pulled to make some changes in your life? Are you at peace for where you are or do you feel pulled to journey more into what living your life full out might look like?
When my mom suddenly died, I wasn’t doing any of these. Well, at least 4 out of 5 needed some work and I didn’t’ have anyone to turn to as I focused on living my life more fully. It seemed the more I moved in that direction, the more people around me tried to pull me back to where I had been. If I were to die tomorrow, I couldn’t say I have NO regrets because there are things in my life that I wish had done differently, However, I know I have always done my best and I strive to always learn from my mistakes. But as far as my goals of living a life full of joy, fun, inner peace and love I have no regrets.
It has not been easy and it certainly has not turned out as I had planned, yet when I reflect on my life now, I KNOW I live each day as fully as possible and have gratitude for the gift of having one more day to live and love.
If you are curious about the details of HOW I shifted my life, my partner Bill Poett and I are hosting a FREE Life Advance webinar ” How To Manifest Anything” Thursday February 18th from 12:30 – 2:00 PT to share the process and tools to help you learn the tools and processes to live your life full out!