ViralNova.com has put together a visual feature, The Top 37 Things Dying People Say They Regret:
Everyone goes through life experiencing enough mistakes and resulting damage that, by the time they are old enough, they have regrets. They say hindsight is 20/20 and when you look back at your life you will know what moments you should have changed. However, we want to help you out. Forget hindsight. We’ve compiled a list of the 37 things you must not do or else you will definitely regret them at the end of your life. Just read through these and trust us. It’ll be worth it.
Here’s a sampling of the 37:
- “Not traveling when you had a chance”
- “Not quitting a terrible job”
- “Spending your youth being self-absorbed”
- “Not volunteering enough”
- “Neglecting your teeth”
- “Working too much”
- “Never taking a big risk (especially in love)”
- “Not spending enough time with loved ones”
There’s stuff on the list that may resonate with people of different age groups. It’s an easy but thoughtful feature. Take a look and ask how many of these items apply to you!
And by the way, there’s at least one item relating to music, so you might click on the video of Sinatra crooning “My Way.” We may have missed seeing him in concert, but thanks to YouTube, CDs, and MP3s, we can still enjoy his great performances.
In the course of a life, can we really have it all?
The YouTube video above — featuring a song from the 1980s Broadway show “Baby” — captures our wishful thinking, especially when we’re younger. In this scene, three women of different ages and life circumstances — but all on the south side of 40 — meet by chance in a doctor’s office. In a sweet and clever number performed by Liz Calloway, Catherine Cox, and Beth Fowler at the 1984 Tony Awards, they share how they want it all.
Way back in 1985, Norman Redlich, the dean of NYU Law School, referenced those Broadway lyrics in his remarks at our graduation convocation. His message: It sounds great, but most of us can’t have it all. There are choices to make and realities to navigate in a life that moves all too quickly.
So there we were, sitting among family and friends in beautiful Carnegie Hall, feeling a bit heady about ourselves, while thinking that the world was ours to conquer — and here’s our dean throwing cold water on us and suggesting that it’s probably not going to happen in the way we’re imagining it.
Among the sea of forgettable graduation speeches that I’ve heard over the years, I guess it means something that I remember this one.
Instead…how about a meaningful life?
Rather than chasing such an elusive goal, let’s focus on what makes for a good and meaningful life, while respecting the fact that we’re not able to control everything.
For some, that meaningful life may be grounded in raising a family, caring for a loved one, or pursuing an avocation. For others, it may mean devotion to a career or a cause, or perhaps creating something artistic or delicious. And still others may find meaning in overcoming significant personal or family challenges.
A lucky few may achieve a zen-like blend that allows them to check all the boxes. But for most of us, it will involve some juggling, choosing, compromising, and hopefully succeeding more than failing.
And if we are fortunate and play our cards well, we will get to do a lot of good things during the time we’re here.
Sorting through clutter
For some, sorting and tossing clutter — objects, emotions, experiences, what have you — may be a key to that meaningful life, especially when we reach a certain age. (Fill in number here.)
Okay, I’m the last person in the world who should be talking about reducing clutter. I’ve been a saver and collector all my life. (I’m a classic Cancerian in that sense.)
But that’s what I’m doing now, tossing a lot of stuff. You wouldn’t know it from the current look of my office or condo, but believe me, this year I’ve been offloading!
And you know something, it feels good. I have a pretty clear sense of what brings meaning to my life, and I am jettisoning or recycling the stuff that doesn’t connect with who I am and where I want to go.
These thoughts are especially pertinent to many Gen Jonesers. As I’ve written before, for our generation, it’s game time. As a group, we’ve still got a lot of fuel left in the tank, but we need to be open to how we can create really great years ahead and define our personal legacies.
This is a considerably reworked and augmented version of a 2011 post from my professional blog Minding the Workplace.
If you’ve been following this blog, you probably know that I am a nostalgic creature by nature. I often joke that I can get all soggy over the sandwich I had for lunch yesterday. I’ve been this way since I was a kid.
The turning of the calendar to a New Year only reinforces this trait.
Our memories serve to create and re-create us all the time. What are we, but this series of stories that we tell ourselves and these images that we conjure? Even our vision of the future is anchored in the stories and images we remember. And the present is some powerful spark, fueled by what we remember and what we imagine about the future.
I recently sat down with a dear friend of mine who enjoyed a distinguished career in the U.S. Navy, starting with an appointment to the Naval Academy at Annapolis and including service as a officer and captain on destroyers during the Cold War. Over the year, his daughter sorted through his personal papers and assembled a series of albums centered on his career, and they evoke rich memories for him and tell compelling historical, human stories to me. The albums are among the keepsakes and remembrances of a good life.
Nevertheless, Minister Morn urges that memories both good and bad “can hold us back from living fully and well.” Dwelling upon “an idealized vision of our past” can cause us to overlook the gifts of the present. For example, sad is the life of the former high school football star stuck in the glories of touchdowns past, or the frustrated actress who lives in the moment of her one star turn decades ago.
By contrast, adds Morn, defining our present “by means of a memory of abuse or illness or some other terrible thing” will cause us to have a “fitful and troubled” sleep through the present. She adds that “(t)he challenge with memory is to hold it lightly, to avoid being trapped in the comfort or terror of it for too long.” For example, in my professional blog, Minding the Workplace, I often write about those who are dealing with memories of severe bullying and harassment at work. Post traumatic stress can cause people to rehash details of bad experiences over and again, undermining their ability to move forward.
Those who are not beset by long and sharp memories (especially you non-Cancerians!) may find it hard to relate to these observations. Consider it a partial blessing! For those of us whose memories stick around, here’s to finding and keeping a proper place for them.
And, while I’m at it, allow me to wish you a safe, healthy, and meaningful 2014!
Here’s the story behind this photograph: In July 2011, I participated in a law & mental health conference at Humboldt University in Berlin. On one of the conference days, all morning and into a lunch hour walk, I found myself humming one of my favorite Gershwin songs, “A Foggy Day (In London Town).” I simply couldn’t get it out of my head!
Well, with lunch hour coming to an end, I made my way back to the conference site, and as I turned the corner into the main university plaza, these two students were playing…yup…you guessed it. It sent a (good) chill up and down my spine…and earned the kids a few euros.
The phenomenon is called synchronicity, a pair of related events that do not appear to be causally connected. Some would call it a coincidence, but those who know of the theories of psychologist Carl Jung might well suggest that a more psychic element is at play. I would tend to agree. I’m not the most psychic or intuitive person around, but I’ve had these moments too often to write them off as products of chance.
What about you? Do you buy into the idea of synchronicity?