12 Aug

No Regrets

I consciously live my life from the end looking back. I don’t look forward to worry about the outcomes. Instead I look back to ensure there are no regrets. I am the old lady sitting on the porch, watching the light fade, feeling the air cool, and musing about all that I have done.

It is she who decides my fate. She’s the one who decided I should leave my hometown and go back to school. She’s the one who decided we should travel around the world. She’s the one who decided we should quit our jobs and keep traveling around the world. She’s the one who knows that life is incredibly short. She’s the one who knows that it all works out. She’s the one who has no regrets.

I can’t do everything I want though. It’s impossible. Life is finite and there just simply isn’t enough time. So, when the inevitable question comes of ‘if you had to do it all again, would you do it the same?’ my answer is always, unwaveringly, NO!

I’ve done all these things, had all these experiences, and have so many more to come. Why would I repeat any of it? I would do it all completely differently. I would live all the ways I haven’t managed to live in this life, do all the things I didn’t get to, harness all the talent and passion in completely different ways.

I would live on a farm. Far off the grid where we would collect our own water, generate our own electricity, and grow our own food. I dream of crisp fall days in the farmhouse kitchen ‘putting up vegetables’, making pies, and cooking great, wholesome meals. We would tend our small flock of chickens, milk our one cow, and play with the goats in the field. At night we would cozy up under a great down duvet, tired from the work yet full of all that we accomplished.

I would go to school forever. There is so much to learn! Furthering my studies in biology, chemistry and physics would help understand how the physical world works. I would study psychology, sociology, and anthropology as I am fascinated by how we all interact with each other. I would delve into religious studies to learn more about how the worlds’ faith is interconnected, and explore linguistic anthropology to discover where our communication roots are derived from. I remember long, rambling, conversations while I was in school; debates and explorations that expanded my world and challenged my thinking. It’s a magical place and a lifetime of living it would be heaven.

I would be a mother. With at least three, maybe four, kids. I have chosen not to have children in this life but that doesn’t mean that I don’t know what I’m missing. The complete joy, eternal frustration, great pride, fierce love, and softest of kisses. Oh, I know. We would live together as our own little tribe, taking on the world, helping one another grow and learn, before they finally set off on their own adventures letting me live another life through their eyes.

Creative. I would be creative. I would push my analytical mind well out of its comfort zone and express myself in ways that seem unreachable to me in this life.  I would be a painter, or a singer, or a dancer, or a musician. A writer of great novels, a composer of moving concertos, an architect of great buildings.

It’s endless, really, the ways that I would not do it the same. I will sit on that porch and not regret a single thing but that, by no means, means that there aren’t a myriad of ways that I could have been done differently.



23 thoughts on “No Regrets

  1. This is really beautiful, Gillian. I agree with all of it. Sometimes my biggest frustration is that I can’t do it all. Live multiple and varying lives. There is so much to do, so much to learn, so many good books to read. But I love that you have (and I have) such a passion for life. Some people lose it, I don’t think we ever will.
    Kim recently posted..A one-way ticket to Spain

  2. Beautifully written Gillian!
    It’s so true, people often say that if they had the chance to re-live their life they would do all over again (or almost). I’d probably too will choose to meet some of the same people that made (and still are making) my life amazing, but what you said is so correct, there are so many other experiences to be lived that I’d probably choose to take different paths.
    Franca recently posted..Weekend Photo Theme – Making Local Food

  3. I love this! I totally get that saying “I’d do it all over again” but your version is wonderful. Of course, I have a list of things I regret not doing so I’d do those things the 2nd time around, and I try to remind myself of that as I go forward because I don’t want more regrets. Like Kim said, we can’t do everything, and sometimes that’s frustrating. But I keep trying to make my life the way I want it to look.
    Ali recently posted..Vatican City and Sistine Chapel Tour

  4. Gorgeous post Gillian – I think the same as you, there are definitely things I would do differently but still hope to always live without regret. If I went back and did it differently I would become more adventurous and keen to learn more at an earlier age, would never have traveled as fast as I have in the past, would have spend far more time in India, and never put down a guitar so that I could now actually play it. (That last one is something I’m still working on ;) ) Thanks for sharing!
    Emma @ GottaKeepMovin recently posted..Why Volunteer? To Save You Money

  5. That’s a really interesting perspective, Gillian. Most people who are prone to look back regret things, but your view is a little more like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story. I like it. It doesn’t seem like you’re disappointed about the way things turned out, it’s more of a “I wish I could do it again and try this combination!”
    Carmel recently posted..SAYING GOODBYE TOO SOON

  6. Gillian, you have written many wonderful posts that have moved me over the years, but I really think this is your best one yet! This piece showed so much wisdom and insight and I just love the idea of making this most of the life we’ve got, because the truth is that there are so many different paths we could walk, far too many for just one lifetime. Maybe we can’t do it all in one go, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t achieve an awful lot. Thank you for writing something so close to the heart and sharing it with us… you are going to be one kick-ass, very cool old lady with a long list of adventures, I just know it (you’ve pretty much got everything but the “old lady” part down, after all!)!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..Putting the “Gorge” in “Gorgeous” at Taroko Gorge

  7. Beautifully written. I have many regrets, mainly not having more kids. This post gives me hope that I can do more and to get out there and experience life!
    Looking forward to meeting you at BlissdomCanada13!

  8. “I consciously live my life from the end looking back. I don’t look forward to worry about the outcomes. Instead I look back to ensure there are no regrets.” Same for me Gillian! When I look back at my life when I am older I want to say that I lived. That I chased my dreams, fought for the life I want, and lived without regrets. I think we are both on that path which makes me very happy :)
    Stephen S. recently posted..Charyn Canyon

  9. Wonderful post Gillian; I couldn’t agree more. We can’t change our past- though we can have disappointments in life but regrets – no that’s just life. I think we have to keep looking forward – and hope we get wiser as we age.
    It sounds like you will age well – with lots to keep your mind occupied.

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