Wednesday, October 21, 2009

If I had to live my life over again

Sometimes we procrastinate achieving our dreams until it is too late. Even though it didn’t seem logical at the time (some of my children were still at home and we didn’t have a lot of money), I’m so glad my husband and I went to Israel while both my knees were working well. We hiked Masada, walked miles through Old Jerusalem, and trekked around the Sea of Galilee with abandon. Today, although I’d love to visit Israel again, I wouldn’t be able to walk the miles and climb the hills I previously did with such ease.

Because my dad and mom both became critically ill when I was growing up (my dad died of cancer when I was a teen), I learned early that life is fragile and uncertain. I also realized that some things—especially material stuff—doesn’t matter nearly as much as relationships and memories.

Although I’m not that old, I realize more than ever that all we can really take with us after we die are our love for God and others (including ourselves), our memories, and our attitudes. Our youth disappears, and when we pass away, we leave every single one of our possessions behind, King Tut and Emperor Qin included.

So today, make a good memory. Call a friend. Do something new. Pick a flower (if you can find one that hasn’t frozen.) Celebrate life. Like Erma Bombeck wrote, “If I had to live my life over again….I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted.”

If I Had to Live My Life Over Again

I'd dare to make more mistakes next time.
I'd relax, I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.

I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would perhaps have more actual troubles,
but I'd have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I'm one of those people who live
sensibly and sanely hour after hour,
day after day.

Oh, I've had my moments,
And if I had it to do over again,
I'd have more of them.
In fact, I'd try to have nothing else.
Just moments, one after another,
Instead of living so many years ahead of each day.

I've been one of those people who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat
and a parachute.
If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had my life to live over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.
---attributed to Nadine Stairs, an 85-year-old Kentucky woman

Without hanging onto guilt or second-guessing everything you’ve ever done, what things would you change if you could live your life over again?

I would have spent a lot more time playing with my children and less time cleaning house. I would have said “no” to more stressful stuff and “yes” a lot more to fulfilling activities and family fun. I would have tried to impress people less (most aren’t noticing how amazing your clothes/clean house/accomplishments are anyway) and love others more unconditionally. I would have been kinder to myself and others.

© Carol Brown

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