Without Regrets

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.

So what I’m proposing is that we get rid of the negative thoughts—the could have’s, might have’s, and should have’s—and start living a life that won’t make us feel regretful. Not even at an older, wiser age.

Here is a list of 40 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 your past mistakes, 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 in life and laugh like there is no tomorrow.

5. Relax and move with the flow of life by being unafraid of change.

6. Be adventurous by trying new things and taking more risks.

7. Have more intellectual curiosity and embrace creativity.

8. Try to find happiness with as many different people as you can.

9. Think for yourself instead of letting other people’s opinions influence you too much.

10. Try not to judge people before you get to know them.

11. Be thankful for what you have now instead of thinking about what you don’t have.

12. Wish well upon everyone equally and try to admire without envy.

13. Share your happiness with others instead of hoarding it all for yourself.

14. Don’t try to change someone—love who they are now.

15. Enjoy the journey, not just the destination.

16. Know that happiness is bigger than any bank account.

17. Control negative thoughts so that they don’t contribute to the outcome of your life.

18. Use your energy wisely because spending energy complaining, worrying or being impatient is just wasted energy.

19. Be bold. Find the courage to change things that should be changed and accept that there are some things that cannot be changed.

20.Love your work. If you don’t currently love what you do, figure out what you would love, and take the first step toward that life.

21. Turn your discontent into a mystery and enjoy trying to solve it.

22. Face problems from different angles in order to find solutions.

23. Gain independence by realizing that on this earth we are all dependent upon each other.

24. Change your perspective by taking on a wider view of things.

25. Don’t waste time trying to bring disagreeable people around to liking you.

26. Become the person you would like to spend the rest of your life with.

27. Be honest with yourself and others by saying what you mean and meaning what you say.

28. Treat people with respect and compassion.

29. Live in the now by loving the present and being aware of your thoughts and actions. Think happy thoughts and speak powerful words.

30. Try not to put things off until later.

31. Never hold grudges.

32. Face your fears head on and try to do the things that you think you cannot do.

33. Spend time with people who make you happy while also not depending on other people for your own happiness.

34. Stand up for yourself and others and don’t let anyone or anything hold you back.

35. Be yourself and love who you are now.

36. Be a participant in life rather than an observer.

37. Do the things that you love to do as much as you can.

38. Write out a list of goals and achieve them by doing them step by step. Don’t give up when things get difficult.

39. Do something every day that makes you feel proud of yourself—commit random acts of kindness whenever you get the chance.

40. And always keep on moving forward.

via 40 Ways to Live Life Without Regrets.

The Key to Dying Happy

There are a million jokes that could be made with the above headline, half of them dirty. But this post isn’t one of them — it’s about what’s important in life, how you want to live, and how you want to die. It’s about living a life of purpose, and being remembered well after you move on from this life.

To die happy, you must live life with that end in mind. Live a life of purpose.

That’s easier said than done, of course. In this post, I’ll look at a great way to find that purpose in your life, and to live every day with that purpose in mind, and to align your daily actions with that purpose.

First ask why

But first, let’s ask the obvious question: “Why does this matter?”

Let’s consider for a moment the life that most of us lead: we get up in the morning, we do what we have to do for the day, if we’re lucky we get some time to relax or do something fun, if we’re even luckier we get some time to spend with loved ones. And this repeats itself in endless variations until we get old.

What happens then? We look back on our lives, and perhaps we wish we’d done stuff differently, or wish we’d accomplished something. But after a certain point, it’s a bit too late.

This post is about doing something about it now, about choosing to live differently before it’s too late.

Perspective

Now let’s think about what’s important. At any given moment, whatever is in front of us is important. That assignment has to be done right away! That’s because we’re looking closely, at the details.

But if we pulled back, took a step away from our lives, those details become less important. Soon we can start to see the forest. Unless we pull back some more — and now we can see a continent. Pull back further, and we see the Earth, the solar system, the galaxy — and now nothing in our lives are important.

Obviously, you need to get the right amount of perspective.

The best tool for that, I’ve found, is a famous principle of Stephen Covey’s: begin with the end in mind. And here’s how he tells us to do that: by imagining what we’d like people to say about us at our funeral. Do we want them to say that we were kind-hearted, or charitable, or loving, or successful, or that we accomplished great things, or found a cure for cancer? However we want to be remembered, that’s how we should live our lives, every moment of every day, starting right now.

Live With Purpose — A How-to Guide

If you want to live a life of purpose, here’s a method for doing so (you were wondering when the list would come!):

Your purpose. Start by taking 10 minutes out of your life to find some quiet space, and to close your eyes, and to think. Ask yourself: How do I want to be remembered? What do I want people to say about me at my funeral? Think about that for 10 minutes, then write down your answers. There may be a few different things, or 10, or just one.

Write it down. Put your purpose — how you want to be remembered — on a sheet of paper. Type it out, or write it lovingly with a Magic Marker — it doesn’t matter. Put it in nice, big letters. This is your life mission. Post it up somewhere visible, or make it your desktop background. Be reminded of it every day.

Morning ritual. Every morning, rise with the sun (or at the crack of noon, it doesn’t matter), and look at your purpose. Read it out loud, and give it some thought. Ask yourself: what can I do today to help fulfill my purpose? Now write that down on your to-do list — even if it’s something simple, like “Smile at my co-workers” or “Give my kids a hug”.

Align your actions. As much as possible, make your actions move your toward your purpose. Keep that purpose in mind throughout the day. If it helps, send yourself email reminders. After awhile, it’ll become a part of your nature.

Evening ritual. Take a few minutes before you go to bed to look back on your day, on your actions, on what you accomplished. Perhaps write about it in a journal (this is best, but it’s up to you). Look at your purpose again, and think about how you could have lived today differently. Then figure out how you can live your purpose better tomorrow.

These simple actions aren’t that hard to do. They might take some energy and focus in the beginning to make it a habit, but with focus, you can make it happen. And your life will be filled with purpose, and you will live your life with happiness, and eventually, with a little luck, die happy. May your life be blessed.

For those who are curious, I just came up with my life mission now (subject to change):

Leo’s Mission

He was an amazing dad.

He made his wife happy.

He was a good, compassionate person.

He made the lives others better (especially those in need).

He was a great writer.

He was happy.

via The Key to Dying Happy : zenhabits.

Epiphany

Despite its popular image, epiphany is the result of significant work on the part of the discoverer, and is only the satisfying result of a long process.[10] The surprising and fulfilling feeling of epiphany is so surprising because one cannot predict when one’s labor will bear fruit, and our subconscious can play a significant part in delivering the solution; and is fulfilling because it is a reward for a long period of effort.[4][10]

via Epiphany (feeling) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

When Things Fall Apart

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics)

I’m about half way through reading one of the best books ever, and I’d be neglectful if I didn’t pass it along to folks that are trying to figure out the divorce experience.  Buy it.  Read it.  Then give it to someone you know who could benefit from it.

“Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look.”

“I used to have a sign pinned up on my wall that read: Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us…It was all about letting go of everything. p.7”

“Most of us do not take these situations as teachings. We automatically hate them. We run like crazy. We use all kinds of ways to escape — all addictions stem from this moment when we meet our edge and we just can’t stand it. We feel we have to soften it, pad it with something, and we become addicted to whatever it is that seems to ease the pain.”

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. ”

“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. (10)”

“Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle. The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?” Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.” Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?” Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.” In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear. ”
― Pema ChödrönWhen Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

Momentum and inertia

I’ve done a lot to get traction in my life as a newly single person in the last month, and it seems that whenever I initiate a new task along that path that it gets easier to pedal.  It feels very much like riding a bike:  you start out in a low gear, and as you get moving you can shift into a higher one.  You’re moving along at a quicker pace without exerting any more effort.

On the other hand, it doesn’t feel like I have a lot of stamina, and my “single muscles” seem weak.  But I know from past experience that if you ride your bike often, it gets easier and easier.

Mileposts

One month on my own!  I’m sure a month won’t seem so significant some time in the future, but for me it was time to briefly reflect.  In retrospect it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long.  Maybe because I was a bit in a fog or a time-warp or something.

It feels like a first significant hurdle, and it can’t be predicted what will come, but I feel good about it so far.

Some of what I consider to be accomplishments:

  • I made the house like I want it to be.  I cleaned, rearranged stuff, threw some stuff out.  I went around with touch-up paint and filled nail holes where certain pictures used to be.
  • I got my own bank account and credit card and put together my separate budget.  I setup the mortgage and other bills related to the house to come out of my separate account instead of the joint one.
  • I booked a cheap vacation for myself next December in Jamaica.
  • I bought my own cemetery plot.  I know, that’s a weird one, but I wanted to put some control over at least that part of my destiny…
  • I met a local Facebook friend in person, and we talked about going camping together.  She might even go on a road trip with me in a couple of months!  It’s good to have some companionship after being used to always living with someone for the last 35 years but often feeling alone.
  • I made a pen and am now raising some pheasant chicks in the woods in the back yard.  Just because I can.
  • I realized I actually like briefs better than boxers, so I bought some.
  • I have lost 12 pounds by eating the way I like to eat.

I’m starting to get a handle on “thinking for one”.  I’m in such a habit of factoring in someone else’s expectations on just about every decision I make.  I bought some fish and cooked it in the house and ate it (she wouldn’t stand for it).  I stayed up past 10 p.m. one night instead of going to bed at 8:00.  I watch all the nature flicks on TV that I want to.  I deleted all the Real Housewife settings on the DVR.

A lot of this is about me and I.  But that was significantly absent in the past.  A better balance will develop over time.

Thanks for listening.  Comments and feedback welcome.

Exactly what I’m thinking of doing in a couple of months…

Life after Divorce: New Horizons

Whatever your age, sex or occupation, taking a road trip with like-minded single friends or new acquaintances can really blow the cobwebs away, inject some new enthusiasm and joie de vivre and set off on a new course in life, especially if you’ve been having a difficult emotional time of it lately. There’s nothing like some physical activity, new surroundings and new people to make you realise that there’s a whole world out there just waiting for you to explore it.

With a wide variety of cheap car rental available, there’s nothing to hold you back from planning and enjoying the perfect road trip this year, and there are plenty of locations to choose from.

Canada, Australia and the USA are ideal for this sort of thing, but you don’t have to go all the way there to do this because anywhere with open spaces and reasonable roads can…

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