GUEST POST BY SUZY ROSENSTEIN
Wouldn’t it be great if we could just muster up the courage to do what we really, really want to do in life? Oh yes, we come up with all kinds of reasons for why we don’t. These are the reasons we tell our friends. They may even be the reasons we tell our family. But… these reasons only scratch the surface of what’s really going on.
Most of us are familiar with regret. It’s that feeling of sadness about something that we did or didn’t do.
It’s quite common to begin thinking about potential regrets in your 40s and 50s. You may have woken up one morning with the feeling that time is flying by. Other times, a specific event triggers regret. The bottom line is, you start thinking in a way that you haven’t before.
You might wonder:
- Am I spending my valuable time doing the things I really want to do?
- Am I living the way I really want to live?
- Am I the person I always imagined myself to be?
The stress that comes with midlife transition is surprising to most. There you were, just minding your own business, having birthdays, living life. And before you knew it…. a few decades blew by.
Midlife is a phase of our lives when a certain realization dawns on us; we see that we been so focused on our busy home and family lives for the past 20 or 30 years that we never sat down and gave ourselves a chance to reprioritize and reset. The plans we put into motion worked really well for a long time, but now, things are starting to feel different. It’s almost like we need that 9th Grade Careers class again, or guidelines to help us figure out how to handle the next few decades.
You might start wondering if you’re truly happy or not. You may question if you have enough meaning in your life, or if you’re just going through the motions. Are you giving back enough, in a way that makes you feel good? Are you wasting time? In other words, will you have regrets about what you didn’t do, didn’t start, didn’t try, didn’t stop?
The interesting thing is that regret is a feeling. Feelings are created from thoughts. What thoughts did you have that created those feelings of regret? On the other hand, thoughts about your life can be incredibly motivating – if you let them. If you choose to explore them.
- What if you thought that you are ONLY 52 years old and still have 25 years to make a difference that you’d be proud of?
- What if you saw your age as a benefit to the thing you really want to do?
- What if you believed that that the world was your oyster, just like you did when you were 20 years old?
- What if you thought that you should leave your long-term job because you were ready to learn something new?
These positive thoughts are also available to you. These thoughts are about hope, opportunity and a bright future. How do these thoughts feel compared to the ones that lead you to the regret-zone? Life in the regret-zone is a choice. Tempting as it can be…you don’t have to choose it.
Here are three thought-starters to stay out of the regret-zone:
Challenge your excuses.
I bet you know exactly why you aren’t doing what you really want to do. Write down that excuse and then ask yourself a few questions: Why do you believe it? What does it mean to you? What if you didn’t think this?
Listen to your thoughts about who you are.
Try to catch yourself thinking about what you might be capable of doing at this point in your life. Write these thoughts down. Do you like what you see? Are these loving, compassionate thoughts? Re-write one of these thoughts in a way that makes you feel authentically motivated that you can accomplish it and practice thinking it.
Imagine how you would feel living life without this regret.
Remember that motivational thought you just experienced. Did thinking it feel good? Accept that you created that feeling, and you can choose to let go of the regret, take action and live with intention.
Yes, it takes work but it’s fun work knowing the reward is an amazing life outside of the regret-zone! Take a look at your thoughts so that you’re able to embrace the idea of allowing yourself to think about what you really, really want and knowing it’s possible to live that way. You owe it to yourself to take the first step.
About Suzy Rosenstein
Suzy is a Master Certified Life Coach and holds a Masters Degree in Applied Social Psychology. As someone who wasted too many years feeling stuck herself, she loves helping working moms who are afraid of having regrets about what they didn’t do with their lives. She helps them get clear about what they want, start taking action and create a life they can get excited about.
Suzy is a proud dual citizen currently living in Canada. When not working with clients or engaging in particularly humorous dialogue with her three teenage sons, Suzy enjoys her slobbery Newf and talking parrot, whale watching, photography and practicing the art of living without regrets.