I came across the wonderful verse IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER by writer Erma Bombeck:
I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, ‘Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.’ There would have been more ‘I love you’s’ More ‘I’m sorry’s.’
But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute, look at it and really see it .. live it and never give it back. STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!!! (© Erma Bombeck)
Inspired by her words, I decided to write my own version. Perhaps reflecting on my past regrets will help me re-evaluate how I want to live my life from this day forward. And to stop sweating the small stuff!
IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER (Aimee’s Version)
I would have told my overly anxious teenage self to lighten up and stop worrying so damn much about everything and everyone. She carried around so much baggage and let other people’s expectations weigh her down far too much. Lighten up girl – you are young, have more fun!
In fact, I probably would have said the same thing to myself all throughout my 20s. A common theme for me in my life seems to be “I should have lightened up and had more fun.” Especially in my 20s, I should have stayed single more, travelled more, spent more time alone finding out what made me tick, instead of chasing dead-end relationships.
I would have wore less makeup, spent less time on my hair (and NEVER bleached it) and focused so much less overall on my appearance and weight. I would have focused more on being fit rather than just skinny.
I would have wore more sunscreen and hats, and NEVER visited the tanning salon. All the damage I did to my skin I am now paying for by having to get frequent checkups for skin cancer (which I first had in my early 40s).
I would have focused less on getting ahead at work and more on getting ahead in my own life.
I would have gotten a dog way before the age of 37. I can’t believe how many years I missed out on the love of dogs, they are the most magical of creatures. My first dog Bandit showed me the precious bond that can exist between humans and animals, and I am forever grateful.
I would have started my writing journey much earlier in life. I have always loved to write, but because I didn’t think I could make a go of it professionally, I put is aside. But it doesn’t matter if you can turn something into a career or not. Writing and other art forms is about creating, passion, something you do because it makes you happy first and foremost, not because you can necessarily make money at it.
People always remarked how much time I spent with my family. But I would have spent EVEN MORE time with my Mum and brother Robbie had I known how soon they would both be gone. When you lose two of the most important people in your life far too soon, you will ALWAYS regret the times not spent with them. The times you could have and chose not to. Those unspent times will haunt you forever and a day, and I wish I could bring them both back to me now and never ever let them go. I would hug and kiss them and tell them over and over again how much I love and miss them so much I ache inside most days.
If I am lucky I will have the second half of my life to make amends for the first. I want to live more fully in each moment, instead of merely existing in it.
We only get one trip around the sun. We all need to live our lives. NOW. Before the light burns out.