A book I’m reading – WORKING THROUGH – at the moment,
‘BEYOND HAPPINESS, HOW TO FIND LASTING MEANING AND JOY IN ALL THAT YOU HAVE’, by Sir Anthony Seldon (@AnthonySeldon),
I feel like it’s a psychologist or a therapist, a Priest taking ‘Confession’, a mentor – I have never had to dig so deep into my soul, the recesses of my archived memory ‘bank’, as I’m doing now! I’m unearthing forgotten – buried – memories, I’m forcing myself to be honest with myself, I’m being asked lots of searching, personal questions by the book/the author and the journey is emotional and, at times, a tearful one (I’m 52 years old, by the way).
I’m almost ¾ of the way through the book but already I can see the point of – the reason behind – this bringing up of the past, painful memories, of having to face my mistakes and what I perceive to be my deficiencies, it’s pretty obvious – only by identifying the memory anchors which are, oft times subconsciously, keeping me rooted to the spot, only in doing that can I raise them, bury them properly and sail on through calmer waters towards a bright and sunny destination.
Last night, reading the chapter entitled ‘Happiness’, the sub-chapter entitled ‘Focus’, I was faced with a tough exercise – I had to write down:
‘What you wish you had done (in your life)’,
and it had to be in the context of a hypothetical (I hope!) diagnosis of a terminal illness which gave me just three months to live: that would certainly focus the mind!
I wish my mind, body, heart and soul had been in sync;
I wish I’d discovered – had the courage to look for – my authentic self;
I wish I’d been able to finish the jigsaw of my life, to put all the pieces together, to make it complete/whole;
I wish I’d discovered what my perfect destination was and that I’d had the courage and strength of character to set sail;
I wish, when I had fallen down, that I hadn’t just picked myself up, dusted myself off and stood still but that I’d moved forward;
I wish I hadn’t made excuses;
The hunger, focus and determination that I have for and in my running, I wish I’d had it in the rest of my life, I wish it had infused my life;
I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time, I wish I hadn’t wasted so much of my life;
I wish that I wasn’t going to die not even knowing myself, I wish that I wasn’t going to die a stranger to myself and to everyone who thinks they know me;
I wish I could have another chance, a chance to bury those regrets BEFORE I, myself, am buried – I wish I could start all over again….
One thing is for sure: I cannot start all over again! I couldn’t if I had only three months to live, I can’t even if I have another hundred years to live.
Another thing is for sure: if I don’t make changes, address the list above, do the searching, find the answers, set the goals and go all-out to achieve them (having thought and consideration, all the time, for those around me and for society!), it’ll be the same list (or a longer list) at the non-hypothetical end of my life, whenever that time arrives.
I have much in my life that makes me happy, that gives me joy: my family and we all know the big irony about regrets, that if we’d made different decisions, we would not now have those people in our lives, people such as our life partners and children, who bring us such joy.
It is hardly ever, if ever at all, a straight road between points A and B – it is never a journey of guarantees. Even those whom most people assume have travelled a straight, smooth road, they probably, almost certainly, have not!