Growing up in the 1970’s as Child #8 out of 9 meant I was always one of the “little kids”, always one of the youngest. When my whole family gathered, I always sat at the kids table, always got booted off of the couch for someone older, always wore the hand-me-down clothes. I spent my childhood wishing I was older – like a teenager! I wanted to go out at night with my siblings, I wanted to stay up late eating ice cream with Mother Fran, I wanted to babysit the neighbor kids to earn a little spending money. I seriously remember thinking “when I’m big, I am going to eat cake and ice cream for breakfast”! I knew how to dream BIG.
Poof, before I knew it I was a teenager in high school and I wanted to be an adult. It was the 1980’s and I wanted to party with my friends (with no parents around to catch us), I wanted to stay out late without getting in trouble, I wanted to move away from my tiny little town. Mostly, I wanted to get a real job, earning real money so I could begin to live my life on my own.
All of a sudden, Bam it was the 1990’s, and I had graduated college, moved to Boston, got a job that paid peanuts and was living my life as an adult with my awesome friends. I didn’t really want to be older but I wanted to be more established. I wanted a job that paid better, that challenged me more, I wanted to buy a house with a white picket fence. I wanted to make a difference.
Then Y2K came along (the 2000’s for those of you too young to remember) and I had finished graduate school, became a Director at work and even had to occasionally dress up to go to work. I earned a salary vs a paycheck and bought that house with the picket fence.
I worked my tail off to get to that point in my life but something was seriously wrong – and I wasn’t happy about it. By 2011, I had a job that I disliked, a commute from hell and a relationship that was falling apart. I was dying my hair and plucking the gray. I dreamt about retirement, living more simply and buying a tiny house in the country.
Why oh why did I wish my life away? I always wanted to be grown up, to make my own decisions, to live my own life.
Time has a way of speeding up and now all I want, is for it to slow the hell down. I don’t want to regret another minute! In 2013, I grabbed life by the horns, shook it up and got my act together. In 2016, I started to blog about my daily decision to maximize health, wealth and happiness as well as the occasional struggle with the devil on my shoulder who attempts to pull me off course.
The 2020’s are just a hop, skip and jump away from today. By the year 2026, I will hit the BIG 60 and by 2036 the BIG 70 and by 2046 the BIG 80. You get the picture… Maybe that realization is why this video hit me HARD. Check it out – if you have the time…
I believe we get one life and I don’t want to wish mine away, to die regretting how I lived it. On my deathbed I hope to have no regrets. No words left unspoken, no twinges of I should have or I could have. On my deathbed I don’t want any of my loved ones wondering how I felt about them. When the time comes, I hope to embrace death, to happily pass the torch of the living to a younger generation so that they can carry it brightly forward.
I am grateful to have friends in their 60’s and 70’s who don’t let their age define them. They are still playing tennis, golfing, building additions to their home, volunteering, working, travelling and teaching those of us just one curve behind them on this track called life. I am grateful to Mother Fran who at 90 is enjoying life and her loved ones.
I spent the first 50 years of my life trying to be older, trying to race to the next chapter, trying to make more money and buy more stuff. I talk a lot about living life strategically and I plan on spending the next 50 years embracing who I am and the manner in which I choose to live my life. At this point in my life “stuff” is simply not important to me. Now I am embracing my loved ones, the cottage, my flexible schedule, and my increased happiness in My Little Blue Kayak. I am embracing my gray hair too! Here is to no more regrets. Paddle On!