If you look back over your life, what would you do differently if you could go back?
Me? I'd be kinder to my classmates, especially in junior high. I'm sorry, Molly and Meredith. I was mean. I'd have been kinder to myself, as well. It all starts there, really. I'd have realized sooner than 30 that I can do whatever I wanted with my life instead of following the blueprint most of us do.
I can't go back and change how I treated Molly, Meredith, or myself back then, but I can change how I treat people today. I like to think that regret is worthless, but perhaps that's too binary.
How about this: regret is usually highly unproductive. Looking back on the past doesn't need to include feeling regret. You might try to look back with a sense of detached observation, like a scientist with black glasses and frizzy hair with a hand gently scratching your chin and brow slightly furrowed. "How did I act? How did I feel? What did I waste time on? What did I do of which I am proud? Which moments did I treasure the most?" Survey your past, and channel your reactions to your observation towards the resolution for change now.
As I watched this video about a yearning for a past state of being, I felt energized to be now. I can look back to ten years ago in my life, and I can also imagine myself twenty years from now looking back on today -- I want to feel satisfied. I'd be very ok with shaking my head at the wild antics and calculated risks I had taken at this time in my life. All the power to create a sense of satisfaction in the future lies in me now. I create my legacy every single moment.
I want to enjoy my life, so today, I notice the green trees arching over the road on my way to work, and the delightful bitterness of my first sip of coffee. Later, at the airport, I'll smile extra kindly and try to radiate some warmth to the person working the airline counter. I'll make mistakes -- I can be brash when I don't think about it and sometimes I forget to enjoy the simple pleasure of a car ride. But I'll do my best.
Life is beautiful. And it moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.