If you knew that today was your last day on Earth what would you look back on and wish you could change? I strive to make my answer to that absolutely nothing because there isn’t anything I would regret more than living a life full of regrets, full of wishing I had done something differently. We should never regret our decisions, no matter how terrible life seems at the moment. Everything that happens in life makes us the exact person we are meant to be. “You can’t change who people are without destroying who they were.” This is a quote from one of my favorite movies, The Butterfly Effect. In the movie the main character goes back in time to change events he thinks could have had a better outcome. In the end he realizes that these things had to happen for the future to be perfect, just the way it was. Knowing this we need to figure out one thing; how can we live life with no regrets? It seems to be an impossible task in a world that will coldly turn its back on you at any given moment. A form of jujutsu, called Aikido, gives us one answer. In this graceful and beautiful sport you blend with the motion of your attacker and redirect the force of their attack rather than facing it head on. Morihei Ueshiba, the creator of Aikido, envisioned it not only as the synthesis of his martial arts training, but “as an expression of his personal philosophy of universal peace and reconciliation.” We should use this philosophy and apply it to our regrets. Take them and mold them to create a positive outcome. They are like the anchors of our lives. You can either let them drown you or you can use them to hold you down, keep you steady. A short time ago I did something that I thought I would regret for the rest of my life. I ended relationships with friends I had known for over 10 years. I would sit around upset, knowing they were off having fun without me. I second guessed myself terribly. It wasn’t until the end of the summer that I could finally look back and see that if I hadn’t made that choice I wouldn’t have had the best summer of my life. I wouldn’t have gone to Young Life camp, reconnected with the girl that is now my best friend, strengthened my religious faith, and met someone, yes a boy, who taught me to be grateful for what I have, to live only for things you are passionate about, and most importantly, to live with no regrets. It was that choice which I had once been so weighed down by that lead me to these life changing experiences. This ending was really just a new beginning and I didn’t need to regret one single part of it. This is how I want to live for the rest of my life; free of regret and sadness for the past. Before I die I want to be able to look back and smile. To see that every moment, every emotion, every choice made me the person I needed to be. Isn’t that really just being happy?
“The saddest summary of life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.” ~ Unknown We all have something stored in our memory banks of the past that we wish we could have done differently, or something we wish we didn’t do. As we get older we learn and grow, but that doesn’t mean we have to regret what we did before we learned how to do things differently. If we didn’t go through those experiences, we might not have grown into the strong and knowledgeable people we are today. What I’m proposing is that we get rid of the negative thoughts—the could haves, might haves, and should haves—and start living a life that won’t make us feel regretful. Not even at an older, wiser age. Here is a list of things you can do to practice living life with no regrets: 1. Realize that it’s okay to make mistakes. Just make sure to learn from them, forgive yourself, and move on. 2. Make your health and wellness a top priority and always take care of yourself so you’re ready to take care of others. 3. Follow your own path, not one that others want you to follow. 4. Find the humor...
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