Archive for the ‘Regret’ Category

Over the weekend I was reading a Town & Country interview with Marjorie Gubelmann, founder and CEO of Vie Luxe. Over several glossy magazine pages, Gubelmann was asked dozens of questions.

Tucked near the end of amusing inquiries such as “What was, is, always will be in your handbag?” and “Were you given any great advice today?” was one that caught my attention:

“Any regrets today?”

Gubelmann’s response was a simple, “None.” Not knowing her, I wondered if hers was an honest answer. Or, being near the end of the interview, was she simply tired of answering questions. Perhaps, she does embrace life with gusto and lives without regrets. Maybe, the appointment took place on a rare day where every circumstance had been met with the right answer.  Maybe she did have regrets — she just didn’t want to share them. Who knows?

Nevertheless, I immediately asked myself the question. I had to know. Did I have any regrets today?

At the time — no regrets to report.  To be fair, it was late afternoon as I was reading the article and about five hours remained before bedtime.  So, there was still time to rack up some regrets, I guess.

Essayist Sydney Smith said, “Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.”

I think he’s right.

There are so many things, if I were to review my past, that I regret. I regret leaving the restaurant without approaching the soldier and telling her how much I appreciate her service. I regret putting my work before my family and missing the chance to support my loved ones. I also regret the occasions I have let pass without speaking up for what is right.

I wish I’d taken more chances, played in the rain, used all the vacation, tried the new restaurant, hiked  the overgrown trail, said, “I love you.”

It’s those missed opportunities that haunt us.  The timidity and fear which create situations where we think, “I should have said . . . I wished I’d acted . . . I can’t believe I didn’t . . .”

And all too often we look back with sadness and regret the time that was wasted and can never be reclaimed. You have the power to influence the present and affect the future, but the past has been written and no revisions are forthcoming.

I think the lesson to learn here is to take advantage of today’s opportunities today!  Even if action means making an uncomfortable decision — make it! Even if the outcome is unsure . . . who cares?

Better to live with a little fear now than a load of regrets later.

Whatever you are, live a life you are proud to own!


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Flipping channels on the television the other morning I came across the newly updated game show, Let’s Make a Deal. I paused just long enough to hear the host, funny man Wayne Brady, ask a male contestant attired in some ridiculous costume complete with head-gear:

You can keep the $500 you have or give it up for the chance to win what’s behind door #1.”

The door opened with lights flashing and music playing to reveal a snazzy sports car with a convertible roof. As tempting as it was to stay put and watch Little Boy Blue decide his fate, I continued surfing the channels.

But it started me thinking about the future. How many times we’re required to give up what we’re holding securely in our hands to be able to reach for something better. How frightening that can be. And daring and risky.

And at the same time exhilarating and empowering, too!

I thought about all the times I have let opportunity pass right by. Maybe  I thought I was too busy or perhaps, fear of the unknown paralyzed me. (It could have been one of any number of excuses.)

And I also recalled all the times that I just went for it. When the future said, “Let’s make a deal,” and I was willing to give up the right now, this very minute, the good I had in my possession, to go after the great.

You know what? I regret the times I didn’t take action — when I was content to sit on the porch and watch the world pass by.

But I don’t regret the times I was willing to deal.  Regardless of the outcome, I grew, gained experience, met new people, and visited new “lands.” Every time I’ve gone for it, I’ve gained something worthwhile. Something I would not have encountered if I had elected to sit quietly in my “right now.”

It’s possible to forget how alive we really are.

We can become dry and tired, just existing,
instead of really living.

We need to remind ourselves of the juice of life,
and make that a habit.

Find those places inside that jump for joy,
and do things.


Life is filled with enormous opportunities willing to make a deal — if you’re willing to trade.  “The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become” [Charles Dubois].

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now” [Chinese Proverb].

I really like this proverb. It is a reprieve for all of us who didn’t take advantage of the “best time.” Sure, we should have planted the tree, planned for retirement, focused in on the dream, and developed our potential 5, 10, maybe even 20 years ago.

But for whatever reason, it didn’t happen. So what? What’s your next step?

Mark Strand said, “The future is always beginning now.” Isn’t that refreshing? We didn’t miss the deadline for creating our future! Every day brings with it the next best time — the opportunity to begin anew.

The way I look at it you have three choices.

  1. You can live with the regret of what might have been — berating yourself for past failures and missed opportunities. Wasting time and energy.
  2. You can allow current circumstances to continue to steal your time and dilute your focus. Riding the merry-go-round of your daily schedule, falling into bed exhausted, failing to make the time to “plant a tree” again today.
  3. You can take advantage of the next best time — today — and begin putting your plans, ideas, and dreams into motion!

Think about this: In 20 years, TODAY will have been the best time to take action. July 27, 2010 and 2019 and 2029 are coming. Will you look back with a sense of pride and accomplishment at how your tree has grown? Or with regret that you let another year or ten years pass by, wishing you had taken advantage of today — right now — the next best time?

You are the one who will decide what your future becomes, and you decide it by your actions today. “Everyone has it within his power to say, this I am today, and that I shall be tomorrow” [Louis L’Amour].

The future is a place that is created —
created first in the mind and will,
created next in activity.
The future is not some place we are going to,
but one we are creating.

Yesterday is over. Last week is a memory. Today is the next best time to begin creating the future.

“My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there” [Charles F. Kettering].

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable” [Sydney Smith].

Ed McMahon. Farrah Fawcett. Michael Jackson. In less than three days, three big stars have been extinguished. The door has been closed. The finish line crossed.

There is an end of the road for each of us regardless of title, accomplishment, income level, or profession. As Jim Morrison said, “No one here gets out alive.”

So, I have to ask, what are you doing with yourself? Have you been filling your time with those things that make you feel gloriously alive, inspired, and energized? Or, are you so busy climbing the ladder, closing the deals, and barreling toward your future at sixty miles an hour [C.S. Lewis], that you barely have time to give your life a brief greeting before racing on to the “next big thing”?

“Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory” [Susan B. Anthony].

Are you living life or marking time? Are you fully enjoying today or just standing around, waiting for your time to come? Regardless of your perspective, the truth is, you’re on the clock. Now is the time to make the most of it. Take advantage of the opportunity. Jump in and live the dream.

They say time is relative. It is. It’s relative to the way you treat it.

As an enemy it’s a negative. A deadly countdown.

As a friend, it’s all positive. A chance for exploration.
For growth, for love, for enjoyment.
Drink of it greedily.

~ Patrick Lindsay

Today is the day to bulk up your “To Do List.” Move those things that you wish you could, someday will, and one day might, to today . . . right now . . . this week!

Before you know it, and often before you’re ready, the finish line will be looming in the distance. Don’t approach it full of dread and regret and “if onlys. If only must be the two saddest words in the world” [Mercedes Lackey]. If you’re sitting on the side of your life, wallowing in disappointment, and waiting for the “if onlys” to uncoil themselves, you’ll regret it.

Live your life in such a way that there is no room for regrets. Take advice from Mary Anne Radmacher: “Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.”

“Life is not a journey to the grave with intentions of arriving safely in a pretty well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming . . . WOW! What a ride!” [unknown].

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover” [Mark Twain].

Whatever you are, be a good one,


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