Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk on the sandy beaches of Aruba or break out in song at your local karaoke bar? Okay, I know those are two very random ideas, but I guess what I really want to know is will you have regrets at the end of your life?
It’s become quite common to have a “bucket list” – a list of things you want to experience or places you want to visit before you die. I had something very similar. My “fifty by fifty” list contained things I wanted to experience before my fiftieth birthday (I started marking things off my list when I was forty-eight). My point is, are you filling your life with rich, challenging, and/or rewarding experiences?
No one is expected to skydive every weekend or spend their non-working hours traveling the globe, but what about the somewhat simpler things that enrich our lives? For example, as an adult, how many new friendships have you made? Do you spend time volunteering to make your community or someone else’s life better? Do you believe in something bigger than yourself? As you’ve gotten older have you broadened your view of your workplace, neighborhood, world?
Several years ago one of my favorite newspaper columnists, the late Erma Bombeck, wrote an article, “If I Had My Life To Live Over Again”, that not only made me laugh, but made me think. In the article she said that she wished she had invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was faded and the sofa stained. She wrote that she wish she had cried and laughed less while watching television - and more while watching life.
I say all this and you’re probably wondering if I take my own advice. Actually, not as much as I should, but I’m actively working on it. I have learned that it's okay to occasionally throw caution to the wind and I’ve stopped worrying about the little things and concentrating on what and who really matter in my life. I’m spending more time with family and friends for no particular reason other than “just because”. Sometimes I stay up all night reading a good book because that brings me pleasure. I dance when I hear a good song and I don’t care who’s watching. I occasionally flirt with a handsome stranger. I even occasionally eat dessert before my meal, because life is just too short not to enjoy a hot fudge brownie sundae every once in a while.
Yes, those are little and somewhat insignificant things, but every journey begins with one step. And that’s one step closer to joyous life.