Have you ever sat and thought about decisions you’ve made in life and question what you were thinking in that moment?
Have you ever regretted not capitalizing on an opportunity? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, take solace in the fact that you are not alone. We have made mistakes for as long as we can remember and the feeling of regret is inevitable, but what truly matters is how you manage it. What I have come to understand, and actively try to remind myself of everyday is that as cliché as it might sound, we truly only have one life to live.
If you were to ask an ambitious, 18 year old Me where he would be in his early thirties, it would be more likely for someone to get struck by lightning on the same day that they win the lottery than for him to guess correctly where life has taken Me. As the saying goes, “you can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather.” I thought I had everything figured out coming out of high school. I took college-prep courses, worked to earn college credit in high school, studied for my SAT’s. I took an extra math class, dropped my “fun” electives and opted for classes geared toward a major that I never pursued.
What my advisors didn’t prepare me for was LIFE.
Life has a funny way of hitting you the way it wants to, when it wants to. Circumstances, most of which are beyond your control, arise. Finances. Family. Relationships. Work. These things can creep into a person’s life and slowly chip away at their drive, their momentum, and their plans that they have so meticulously mapped out. Sometimes these things rush into someone’s life, unrelenting and unforgiving. Either way, it can be very easy to get caught up in life. You keep your head down and you hustle. One day you might look up and find that you’re stuck in a job you despise or fighting to salvage an unhealthy relationship.
I say all of this to say: if an opportunity presents itself, TAKE IT! Life is truly too short not to roll the dice. It’s taken me a while to realize that you don’t get a second shot at life. There is no practice run. This is not a dress rehearsal. I refuse to spend my later years talking about the what-ifs and maybes. Wherever life has taken you thus far, embrace it. If it’s something that you’re not proud of, learn from it. If things are starting to fall into place, build on it.
Questioning the decisions I’ve made in the past will not do me any favors. Time is the most valuable thing I have, and I choose not to waste it ruminating and regretting. I challenge you to go on through life knowing that it is perfectly okay not to be exactly where you projected yourself to be. If you’ve surpassed your own expectations, I implore you to grind even harder; grind until your original blueprint of life looks like nothing more than doodles on a piece of scratch paper. Life requires a person to be measured and wary at times, but don’t be so calculated that you aren’t willing to take some risks. Get out and get living because after all, this is the feature presentation.