The Journal

Choose Intention Instead of Regret

You are not too busy. Trust me.

How many of us think about quitting our day job and turning our passion project into a business? Or taking a real vacation – – you know, the kind where you are not returning emails or answering the phone? How about calling your parents, friends you have lost contact with or other loved ones? What about setting time aside to take your kids to the park or attend a yoga class?

I am going to go out on a limb and say all of us have at least some of these desires. I know how it goes. You tell yourself you’ll do it as soon as things slow down, next week, next month, next year. We convince ourselves we are so busy that these things have to wait. There’s time.

And then there isn’t.

Time is a precious resource. It is one that should not be taken for granted and let me assure you – – you are not too busy to do things you will regret having not done once it is too late. You have all the time in the world until one day you don’t.

Recently I lost someone very, very dear to me. It was tragic and unexpected: my 41-year-old cousin who was only six weeks my senior. This was a man who, as a boy, was more like a sibling than a cousin.  He was a beautiful, off the charts brilliant and quirky man. For many reasons which were difficult for us, as family members, to understand, my cousin chose to sequester himself from all of us who love him. Over the last few years of his life, he felt the needs to face his demons alone.

Although his death was not intentional, his choices, due in large part to the fact that he did not have faith that things would work out, took him from us much too soon.  He could not see the light within himself. There were times that each of us tried to reach out. We sent emails, posted on Facebook, tried calling – – all attempts went without a response. And now he is gone and I am left with guilt and regret. I should have tried harder to see him. I should have pushed harder. I shouldn’t have let my busy and complicated life offer any excuses for not knocking down the door and sitting on the stoop for days until he came out to see me.  Because all I’m left with are memories of his smile which went on for miles — and my regret.

But I am not willing to live a life of regret. I must honor the lessons I have learned. I must move forward with more intention, more purpose, and more forgiveness (for myself and for him). And I must share these lessons with you. In this small way, my beloved cousin can live on. When each of us chose to intentionally make the time for whatever it is we have been putting off. When we choose to not live a life of regret, we carry his lessons and his memory. We honor him in a magical and meaningful way.

Trust me when I tell you, you are not too busy to take action.  In fact, it is so imperative that you do these things, these things that you don’t really think you have time for but nag at you.  The phone call, the visit, the new business, the hug, the kindness, the generosity.  Whatever it is, that in the back of your mind pulls at you and says, “I should do this” and you think “I’ll do it later, I’ll do it next week, I’ll do it next month, I’ll do it next year … there’s time.”  But time goes whenever it wants.  One second you wake up and there’s no more time.

Don’t live your life with those types of regrets.  Make everything happen.  Check off everything on your bucket list, on your to-do list, on your personally important list.  Listen to the nagging voice in the back of your head. Follow through with what your soul is instinctually telling you is the right thing to do.  Don’t quit, and don’t give up, don’t take no for an answer.  You are not too busy.  Don’t live a life of regrets.

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