Abraham Lincoln once said, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Yet as a society we still place higher value on the number of years in our lives versus the quality of those years. Think about it. Most death bed tales are ones of regret. Sure, those stories are supposed to serve as warnings – no one ever wishes they would have spent more time at work and instead regret spending too little time with their family, or never taking a chance on love or always playing it safe.
Point taken. Perhaps too well. Instead of taking the moral to heart, we feel reassured that we won’t be the only one experiencing regret when we’re knocking on death’s door. I say no thanks. I want to greet death with a big smile. To look back on my life – regardless of how long or short – and know I lived.
Some people create a bucket list of the things they want to do before they die. I’ve created lists before but tend to misplace them. I suspect because the list is fluid. Or I’m forgetful. Or messy. No matter. A list on a piece of paper is nice for checking things off, but the list in my heart can’t accidentally be thrown away.
A few items from my list that I plan to accomplish this year:
- Learn photography
- Bake a yeast bread (a past episode scarred me so back-off!)
- Tandem skydive
Is my list larger? Yup. Do I expect that I will feel some regret in my life. Yup. I already feel a little regret for listing tandem skydiving since I’m scared of heights. It’s probably not possible to live and have no regrets. But I believe if you live well those few regrets won’t even matter in the end.
I say regret not / live a lot.