We watched a lot of romantic comedies over the holidays which usually makes me feel warm and gooey inside, but this time it felt like a lot of the stories and jokes were about people who were either miserable at work, in their relationship or raising their family. Maybe I’m being overly sensitive, but it felt like the movies were implying that it’s normal to live an unfulfilling life, and that made me feel sad. Don’t get me wrong – I still enjoyed the movies, but they were not a good example of how we should live our lives in the real world.
Instead of settling for a life we might regret later, I think we should take positive action every day to create the life we want. We can easily achieve it by prioritizing the things that are most important to us, and then making them happen, step by step. I know we all want different things — to spend more time with our kids, work less, get out of debt, relax, eat more chocolate, travel, read, run, stop drinking, start writing, etc. — but whatever they are, it’s important to remember that no one else is going to make them happen for us.
Mat and I found it helpful to make a list of the things that were most important to us and then we compared it with how we were actually spending our time and money. It was a good exercise because it showed us that we were doing the exact opposite of what we actually wanted. Family, friends and travel were all in one column, and working, paying the bills and watching TV were in the other.
It was a messy and difficult task for us to get our priorities straightened out, but when we made it through the transition it was totally worth it. Wanna know how I know? The answer came to me the other night while I was lying awake wondering how I would feel if I found out I was going to die soon (I must have watched a romantic comedy with a sad ending that night). After giving it a lot of thought, I realized that I wasn’t as scared of dying as I used to be, and I think it’s mainly because I don’t regret what I’m doing with my life.
I am so happy with the changes I’ve made, and I wanted to share a bit of our process with you in case you want to live a life with no regrets too. The easiest thing you can do to get started is make your own list of priorities, and then see if you can slowly work them into your life. Don’t be afraid to make changes based on what’s important to you, and don’t worry too much about what you’re supposed to be doing. You won’t regret it, I promise.
PS – check out this article for a healthy dose of inspiration: 20 Things People Regret the Most Before They Die