I have a pretty positive outlook on life now at 26 (I know I am not that old, but I feel that I have been through a lot and I have gained insight). It hasn’t always been that way, but through trial and error over the years I have learned to avoid things which won’t make me happy, or will impact me negatively in years to come.
I thought I would share a little story with you…
Early 2007 I left home at the age of 16, going on 17. It was a tough time for me and now in hindsight, for my parents as well. I was your typical “I hate the world” type of teenager. I was sullen, angry for no reason and was negative around the clock. For me though, even at that young age I always had perspective. I knew this wasn’t how I would be forever and I knew my situation would change when I was open to change. If I didn’t have that perspective I think my life would have ended up very differently.
Leaving home is scary. It made me think of so many things – adult things, when realistically all I should’ve been thinking about was friends and school. It made me realise I never wanted to go through life with regrets. I didn’t want to regret moving out of home, so the only option I had was to remain positive and roll with it. It helped shape me into the person I am today. I wanted to come away from this experience and a) make good choices, b) make the right decisions c) foresee what the future would look like if I made certain decisions. At 17, I didn’t really know if I was making the right ones, but 8 years later I am proud of who I am today.
2007 was my final year in High School. I knew with moving out of home it may be tough to have the motivation to complete my HSC (New South Wales year 12 cert), but, I knew I would regret not completing it. I had a lot of aspirations and goals for when I finished and I wanted to achieve each and every one of them and I knew I had to finish school to achieve that. This is more a personal thing for me – I don’t think finishing school or not finishing school defines you, or makes it harder in the adult world. Some of the world’s most successful people didn’t complete school, but for me I wanted to prove people wrong, I wanted to show them that, yes I did move out of home at a young age, but I am still going to do well. In a way, they were my biggest motivator.
Even though I was set on my way to completed school I was so scared for my future. I had no idea where I would end up.
All through my life I have had my fair share of ups and downs in my life, but I wouldn’t be human if I hadn’t. I grew up a lot in 2007 and everyone always tells me “you’re an old soul”. It’s more that I realised life isn’t always going to be a totally smooth, unbroken path. The hard thing to push past when you’re open to change is that life doesn’t arrive with guarantees and it isn’t always an easy mission, but, every day brings a fresh start filled with new possibilities. So if there are things you want to change about your life, now is the best moment to start.
From 2007 I started to take on the mindset of “I want to avoid regretting things in life”. I wanted to listen to my gut more and not wonder what could have been and the most important thing to me was I didn’t want the heavy burden of my past crush down. I didn’t want to live my life feeling sorry for myself – “I’m not that great at things because I have parent issues” or “I moved out of home at 16 so therefore everything in life is just so hard”. I wanted to be strong and so I made peace with my parents, forgave them, they forgave me and it made the next 8 years so much easier, because I wasn’t holding on to anger or baggage. I knew if I just ceased all communication with them at 17 (forever) I would look back on my life and regret it so, so much.
Remember this, if you never let go of what doesn’t work for you, you never grow.
When people look back on their lives, what are some of the most common regrets they have?
Not enough time with family? You didn’t chase your dreams? You didn’t pursue that person? You stressed too much about an outcome? You worried too much?
It’s inevitable that I am going to make mistakes along the path of life, and so to are you, but I thought I would single out some ways that you can move forward, let go of the old and embrace the new. So without further adieu here are some things to think about how you can avoid future regrets – the good things is many mistakes we make that lead to regret later in life are avoidable, so if you make yourself accountable now you won’t regret things in years to come.
1. Stop pretending you’re someone you’re not. Don’t look back on your life wishing you’d have been true to yourself.
This is a biggggg one! Society puts all these pressures on us to look, wear and be a certain way and often it’s not who we want to be, but we continue being that person because our friends, work associates or family think of us in that way. Life isn’t high school. Don’t live your whole life pretending to be someone you aren’t just to fit in. You can be who ever you want to be in your life – so embrace that. I love my group of friends we’re all like-minded people, but it’s taken time to find that!
2. Stop worrying. Don’t look back on your life wishing you’d done things.
Worrying isn’t going to change anything. You’re just exerting energy that would be better used in a positive way. Do the things you’d always wished you could do.
3. Always trust your gut instincts. Don’t look back on your life thinking I should’ve listened.
If something feels off, it probably is. Never keep at something just because it’s easier. I know all too well that sometimes your mind needs more time to accept what your heart already knows. But learn to listen to yourself, it will save you in many situations.
4. Disregarding your health
You only have one body and you should be taking care of it. It may be hard, but just make small changes. It’s as simple as eating right and exercising regularly. Don’t be one of those people who get sick and wish they had’ve done this over the years.
5. Forgive People. Are you really achieving anything by staying mad?
You’ll feel so much better burying the hatchet. It’s better for you health too. You’re not achieving anything by holding grudges or staying mad.
6. Don’t hold yourself back. Don’t be that person who wishes they had achieved more.
It’s so easy to think you aren’t good enough (read my facing your fears blog post here). In 30-40 years time you will regret not pursuing your own true life passions. If you want to do something, get out there and start doing it.
7. SAY YES. Don’t be one of those people who “wish I had’ve done that”.
Living in the moment or saying yes to things is so important! You’re shaping your life every single day at the moment, so embrace opportunities as they come by.
At the moment this is a big one for me – I am learning to say yes more things. I’d like to look back on my life feeling like I have experienced a lot. Little things like: playing trivia with my friends at a pub this Tuesday night or big things like overseas adventures.
8. Don’t get caught up with “being busy”.
Don’t get caught up in the mad rush of modern living – make time for the people around you…After all they’re the ones who have shaped you, helped you throughout life. I am all for changing work habits so you’re not working too much. You need to appreciate your surroundings and the people in your life more. Sometimes I find it really hard to balance my schedule, but I am learning to get better at it!
9. Travel more. Don’t regret not going to more places
If you love adventure abroad or even small road trips, make an effort to go away more. Work hard, play hard. I think travel is so valuable and it has helped broaden my perspective in so many ways.
10. Waiting until you’re “ready” to do something. Don’t wait, just do it.
Here’s the thing: there’s NEVER the “right” time in life. It’s that black and white. Waiting will only hold you back and leave you with regrets…
11. Settling. Please, whatever you do don’t settle for less.
When I moved out of home I thought I deserved less because I made a bad decision. I then realised I deserved just as much as the next person. Staying stuck where you don’t belong is worse than the feeling of growth and change.
12. Giving up before you see results.
You’re always going to go through the worst, to get to the best. Trust me. I barely made any money when I started up my business and it took a long time to build contacts, network. I am still no where near where I want to be, but I am not ever giving up.
13. Learn from your mistakes.
I used to be the type of person who couldn’t take constructive criticism at all. I have since learned to embrace mistakes and I have learned that you can learn valuable lessons from your mistakes when you aren’t busy denying them. Denying them is just another way to make excuses for yourself.
There are so many people who so desperately wish they could do it all again, so if you have some changes you’d like to make, make sure that you do. It’s obviously always easier said than done, but imagine in 20-40 years time, if you make these changes you will look back at your life (hopefully) and be happy with the person you are.
I am happier 8 years on having made most of these changes in my life. There is such a long way for me to go, but for the most part I am moving forward to a more positive, fulfilled life.
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*this article is my opinion and not sponsored in any way*
Ps how amazing is my new Rita Ora X adidas pieces? So bright and colourful for these rainy Sydney days. They’re really resonably priced too!