If today was your last day on earth, what would you regret not doing?
This is something I regularly ask myself now.
If I hadn’t asked myself this question 6 months ago and answered it with absolute honesty, I wouldn’t be forging ahead now and consciously creating a life that I truly want to live. A life that’s full of all the things I want to do, and a life where, when I look back on it in my final days, I can smile and say that I achieved everything I wanted to achieve, and have no major regrets.
I’d been in the corporate world for 15 years, the last 8 of which had been running my own business, and whilst it was financially rewarding it wasn’t nourishing my soul. I was miserable, stressed and unhappy, and I wasn’t Iiving my life, I was merely existing. I’m thankful that certain life events caused me to sit up and take notice of what I was doing with my life (or rather not doing), where I was going, and ultimately what I wanted. I decided life as it currently was, wasn’t good enough. I didn’t want to just survive, I wanted to thrive!
I’d had enough of just getting through each day, stretched to my limits, exhausted and dejected - I wanted to open my eyes on a morning and feel a rush of excitement about the day ahead, and to go to bed every night feeling satisfied, happy and grateful. I was done with mediocre, I wanted fucking awesome! It was then that I decided to change things (drastically) so I could rock my life, and it all started with one question - “If today was my last day on earth, what would I regret not doing?”
It all started with one question - “If today was my last day on earth, what would I regret not doing?”
My foremost thoughts were concerning my career. I didn’t want to get to the end of my days and think “Why the hell did I spend so many years doing something I wasn’t passionate about?” I knew there would be zero chance of me thinking “I wish I’d spent more time working” or “I wished I’d built a bigger business and earned more money”. I knew hand on heart that if I got to the end of my days without pursuing my passion for writing, without even giving it a try, I’d regret it with all of my heart. I’d known from the age of around 5 that I wanted to write, and whilst the passion never stopped burning inside me, it always remained buried because I was too busy with my ‘proper job’ and too busy bringing up my family. Now I’m following my calling, putting passion over paycheck, and doing what brings me to life. And yes, most of the time now I wake up joyful and I go to bed feeling grateful!
Upon asking myself this major, life altering question, I also had to admit that due to the demands of my current career / business, I wasn’t being the mummy I wanted to be, could be, used to be, should be... Despite people assuring me of what a great mum I was and how happy, lucky and well rounded my three boys were, I knew in my heart that I was a better mummy during the periods when I was happier, more relaxed and more authentically me (which was uncoincidentally when I had periods of time away from my business). I knew the demands of my business and the stress it caused me had a knock on effect on my family life, and I decided there was no way I was going to get to the end of my time here on earth and harbour any regrets concerning my role as a mother. This, I knew, would be the hardest to bear - did I spend enough time with them? Did I hug them enough, love them enough, play and laugh with them enough? In addition to safeguarding against these regrets, I wanted to set a good example and show my beautiful boys that life is about being happy, following our dreams, staying true to ourselves, and pursuing happiness over riches. I’m happy to admit that whilst I’m not perfect (far from it) I’m once again fulfilling my role as mum, exactly as I want to be.
So I made the changes. It took a fair bit of planning, alot of calculated decisions, a bloody big bit of risk, and a huge amount of guts. But I maintain my own theory that passion will always kick the ass of fear, and in this case it certainly did.
“Passion will always kick the ass of fear” ~ Fran Grant
So I made a pact with myself to do ALL the things I want to do in life (or as many as I can) - learn a language, ride a horse along a sandy beach, learn to play the piano, take ballet lessons, see more of the world, give as much as I can to charities I’m passionate about, make up photo albums and memory books for the boys - so that when my last day comes (because we don’t know when that is right?), I know with certainty and a happy heart that I’ve done all I wanted to do with my life. Ok so there are some things that are on the “These would be nice to do but I won’t be utterly devastated if I don't achieve them” list, and then there is the “I absolutely have to do these things otherwise I will be so fucking annoyed with myself and my heart will break” list.
I read a compelling book a couple of years ago (it’s still on my bookshelf so I’ll probably revisit it again soon) called ‘The top ten things dead people want to tell you’ written by Mike Dooley. In one of the chapters the author explains how people from behind the veil (the deceased) want us to know that we are on this earth “to soar, to achieve, and to grow” and they want to pass on the message that “your dreams are yours for a reason, to make them come true.”
“Go ahead, want it all. That’s what it’s there for!” ~ Mike Dooley
Another poignant and thought provoking book is ‘The Top Five Regrets of the Dying’ written by Bronnie Ware. Having spent many years working in palliative care, the author spent an enormous amount of time with patients who were facing the end of their time here on earth. It really puts things into perspective when you read her accounts of what people regretted most when looking back on their life, the most common regrets being:
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
“I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
“I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
“I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
“I wish that I had let myself be happier.”
To conclude, life is for living to its fullest and for enjoying as much as possible. Leave no room for regret, whether it’s spending more time with your family, reconnecting with estranged relatives, pursuing your passion for painting/singing/dancing, going on safari, setting up your own business, writing a book, volunteering for a good cause, (insert other here). And don’t leave it to ‘one day’. “I’ll write a book one day”; “I’ll go to Paris one day”; “I’ll make up with my brother one day.” That day may never come. Do as much as you can NOW!
“Time is limited and there is no rewind button” ~ Fran Grant
If today was your last day on earth, what would you regret not having done?
Much love, Fran xxx
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ABOUT FRAN GRANT
Wife to a very lucky husband. Mum to 3 beautiful little boys. Gym, yoga and self care enthusiast. Lover of food, coffee, wine and gin. Self confessed bookworm and book hoarder. Advocate for keeping the magic of reading alive for today’s children. And last but not least - Writer (currently trying my hand at kids fiction and rhyming stories). Thanks for visiting my site - expect to see posts mainly related to reading and writing, with occasional musings about family, parenting and life in general. Oh, and plenty of book reviews! Hope you enjoy! Much love, Fran x