For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn't understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.- Cynthia Occelli
I remember the first time I saw this phrase on a lululemon shopping bag. I was working there at the time and went around talking to coworkers about why we thought putting that on the bag was a good idea?!?!
It sounded so sinister to me. Demise? Really? Was this what we wanted our customers walking out of the store thinking about. But the more I got to thinking about it the more I understand the value of the statement... and even the bold way it was phrased. After I'd noticed it, I couldn't stop thinking about it.
Nobody wants to think about their death. Its not a nice thing to think about, but I think its an important way to get some perspective. I came across an article today about a palliative nurse who worked with patients while they were dying. Over many years she interviewed them and came up with the top five regrets people had when they looked back on their lives. They were:
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Looking over the article from a personal point of view I realized how much of what they said resonated with me. I am constantly at battle with myself, having a strong desire to live a life I truly love and at the same time feeling pressured by society to live the life I "should" be living. For the past year and a half I've been in constant inquiry with myself around this subject, trying new things and pushing myself in ways I never did before. For me, it took a complete shaking of my entire world to get me to a place where I actually started to think about these things. It took hitting rock bottom; the end of my marriage, moving back to the states, no job, no friends in Houston, for me to start thinking about what I really wanted and what would really make me happy. It took having all the comforts taken away from me to start thinking about how I wanted to rebuild.
Its easy to stay comfortable, to stay in the confines of what we know. Its easier than pushing out of our comfort zones, trying something that makes us vulnerable, and potentially failing. But it also means that a lot of us never live to our fullest potential, accomplish our goals, and live in a way that truly makes us happy. I know I'm guilty of it. But maybe spending a little time thinking about what I'd have done differently if I knew my time on this earth was almost up will help me break out of that a little bit.
So I challenge you to think about it, what changes can you make today so that you don't have these five regrets in the future?