September 30, 2012

If Only ...

Hindsight is 20/20

As we travel along the road of life, we all make mistakes, and wish we had done some things differently. All too often, we end up wishing we had made different choices, or spent our time doing something else. The simple truth is that being human, we will err ... and then we have a choice to make. We can either beat ourselves up with regret and sorrow, or we can learn from our experiences, and move on to become better people.

As I look back on my life, I realize that I have made some huge mistakes, and disappointed a lot of others along the way. But instead of feeling self-pity, I have always tried to choose the path of contrition, apology and acceptance. I usually try hard to learn from the bad things, and while I haven't always been successful, I generally avoid making the same mistake twice.

Ten Things You Will Never Regret

I have put together a list here of ten little things in life that you will never look back on with sorrow, anxiety or self-recrimination. Some of them may seem silly at first, but at the end of the day, you will never be sorry that you did any of them, or feel that they were a waste of your time.

  1. Smiling at everyone you see. Even if your day isn't the greatest, you can literally make it better by simply smiling. Attitudes are contagious, and if you express a positive outlook through your face, others will be uplifted as well.

  2. Reading to a child. There is no better way to build into children a love of reading than sharing a book with them. Whether it's at bedtime or in the afternoon, you can magically transport them to a world of imagination, and you get to go along for the ride for free.

  3. Helping a stranger. You may have given the girl in the parking lot a jump-start or held the door open for the old guy with the walker. Maybe you helped the young man who was lost by giving him directions, or the girl-scouts whose cookie display just fell and scattered across the sidewalk. In any event, the few minutes you spent coming to someone's assistance is always time well spent.

  4. Playing with children. It may be as simple as answering the toy phone when a 2 year old hands it to you ("Hello? .... I see .... It's for you"), pushing little ones on a swing-set ("More, more, more!"), or playing CandyLand, even though the board is broken and you are missing all the gumdrop cards. Playtime builds memories that last forever, and remembering how to play will keep you from getting old on the inside.

  5. Taking the time for courtesy. Remembering the basics of Please, Thank You and Your Welcome will go a long way towards better relationships with everyone in your life. Even if you are in a hurry, these simple words are always appropriate.

  6. Buying lemonade from the kids with the sidewalk stand. True, it is mostly just water, but you have given these young entrepreneurs a real sense of accomplishment, and have helped lay the groundwork for building in them a sense that hard work pays rewards.

  7. Hugging someone who is sad. We all have a basic human need to be held sometimes, and often, a simple hug will do wonders that words can't. Loneliness, grief and sorrow are natural emotions that can be eased by the comfort of a good hug from a loving friend.

  8. Sharing a funny joke. Not all funny stories are age appropriate, and some people's sense of humor leaves something to be desired, but a good joke, well told, will create laughter and smiles. There is nothing better than a good old fashioned belly laugh to make everyone feel better.

  9. Daily personal hygiene. We all feel better when we look good, and are clean and dressed. Not everyone can afford to wear expensive clothes or makeup, but even simply brushing your teeth and combing your hair creates within you a stronger sense of self-worth, and the few minutes it takes is time well spent.

  10. Saying "I Love You". I can promise that you will never regret telling your family and close friends that you care about them. Wouldn't it be nice if the last words that you said to everyone you care for were this simple three word expression? I sincerely hope that negative or bitter words are never anyone's last memories of me.

As The Sun Sets

Each of us gets 24 hours every day to live in. No one gets any extra, and no one gets short-changed. How we spend those hours determines who we are and where we are going. At the end of each day, we should all strive to be able to look back on the previous 24 hours and smile.

Making mistakes doesn't mean you are a bad person, and you can't go back and change what has already happened. Don't waste your time with regret and self-pity, but learn, grow and move on. If today wasn't what you wanted it to be, then try to make tomorrow better. One step at a time you can become who you want to be, if you listen to your heart and learn from your experiences.

A few thoughts directly,

From Grandpa's Heart ...

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