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Have you ever done something so incredibly stupid you long for the ground to open up and swallow you whole?
We all have, right?
Isn’t being foolish part of the human experience?
We’ve said things in the heat of the moment, taken actions we’ve later thought better of, bought that one item of clothing that seemed oh so edgy in the store, but then never left the safety of the closet.
I want to remind us all that life’s too short for regrets.
Maybe, instead of wishing we could undo the past, we might learn from our experiences, embrace our momentary lapses of judgment, smile at our foolhardiness, and celebrate the eager young clown that lives within us all.
Wouldn’t that make life easier? Learn from our faux pas, for sure, but stop beating ourselves up over them?
Years ago, I got far too drunk with a senior colleague and made a total prat of myself. I was in my teens, horribly closeted and trying to manage feelings I didn’t want to be having. There was a bit of a crush in the mix too. You can probably work out the rest. I didn’t actually ‘do’ anything, but words slurred out that would usually have been tightly locked away.
For my next birthday, she bought me a book. Inside, she’d written a quote: “You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.”
If I think back, even now, I cringe. Junior reporter meets several pints of dry cider. Never a wise combination!
Do I regret it? Not for a moment.
We grow wiser every time we step on a rake.
If we could learn to do all those foolish things with enthusiasm, to look back at them fondly, how different life might be. Of course, regret is all too frequently tied into fear. We fear what others might think of us way too much! And so, today, not only is that quote something I live by, but it’s grown into something more.
Whenever I face something that challenges me, I switch it to: “You will meet challenges, but meet them with enthusiasm and confidence.”
There’s not much difference between fear and excitement – only the way we process them. So, if I’m anxious, I recite a mantra in my mind and flip my fear.
To come full circle, if I think about that drunken, teenage moment in a different light, it also took a lot of courage.
Dutch courage, maybe, but, as a deeply closeted, ridiculously innocent teenager, with a heart, the size of the ocean and waves of emotion to match, speaking my truth – however ill-conceived – took a big dose of bravery.
I’m choosing to look back with fondness.
I’d like to give that teenage me a pat on the back. Sure, I might share a bit of advice about when and where to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve, but, more than anything, I’d tell her I admire her courage and honesty.
We WILL all do foolish things. Let’s celebrate and honor the life lessons they bring, and let’s do that with enthusiasm!
Until next time,
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