When my father passed away at the end of last year, I was reminded of the impermanence of life. How so much of what we take for granted can change at any moment. I was full of regret, wishing I had visited more often over the last year. There was always more time in which to have those meaningful conversations, and then there wasn’t.
Poet Mary Oliver so eloquently asks, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” This is my mantra, my guidepost. A calling to live a regret free life to the extent it is possible.
So what would a regret free life look like?
According to an article I recently read at Early to Rise, the top regret of those who were dying is wishing they had had the courage to live a life true to self. Among the top 5 regrets, they also cited letting myself be happier and having the courage to express my feelings.
My experience with grief has taught me not to put off the truly important things. In fact, make them the priority. To vulnerably put my whole self into the world, to be authentic and real, to love more, and to be present in each moment as much as possible. This also means taking a stand when it really matters, making relationships and connection a priority and consciously making choices in alignment with my values.
What will you make of your one wild and precious life?
Here are some guideposts I am committed to living by. Feel free to try them on for size.
- Be vulnerable and real
- Live in alignment with your values
- Savor the little things
- Spend time in your wild
- Surrender what you cannot control
Here are some habits I’m working on kicking:
- People pleasing
- Settling or tolerating
- Numbing or living on auto-pilot
- “Shoulding” myself
Instead, I think we need more compassion, love and kindness. Greater strength to face rejection, judgement and criticism. Deeper courage to stand up for what we believe in. And more connection, meaning and purpose. This would be a life well lived.
I deeply believe that what you put out into the world is what you get back. So I’m committing to living a regret free life, as best I can. I will do my best to put into the world what I would like to see in return. I’d like to think that this is something each of us can do to better ourselves, our communities and our world.
If you’re looking for a way to apply these principles in a practical and organized way, check out the Wild Happy Soul Goal Planning Workbook I created just for that reason. It’s time to create wildly happy, regret free life you crave.