A few days before Thanksgiving, my Uncle Pete, my mother’s last surviving sibling, died. The day after Thanksgiving, we lost Jim's Aunt Claire. Now we have one living aunt on his side of the family, and one on mine.
We are at that age. And yet.
The same day Aunt Claire died, I read a short essay about the five regrets of the dying, http://www.inspirationandchai.com/Regrets-of-the-Dying.html.
Of the five, I wish I hadn't worked so hard, is the one that made me pause.
Over the years, I have been stranded in enough blizzards trying to get to work on days the sane people stayed home to know; I too often put work first.
Earlier this year, a friend's son died suddenly. On the day of his funeral, I was scheduled to make an important presentation to a group of senior leaders and physicians, not an easy meeting to cancel and reschedule. I asked coworkers to take over for me, but I was the "subject matter expert" and no one was comfortable filling in.
In spite of knowing in my heart where I needed to be that day, I made the wrong choice.
Missing that funeral is in my Regrets Machine stuck on replay, replay, replay, in my head.
When I realized Aunt Claire's funeral conflicted with a planned training program, I was reluctant to inconvenience a few dozen managers by rescheduling. I almost did it again.
I almost put work first.
This time, I get to replay gratitude instead of regret, because Jim’s gentle nudging and that essay about the five regrets of the dying helped me get it right.
I can’t change the years of working too hard or choosing to put work first. Instead of regretting them, I can learn from them.
Life is all about choices. From now on, I choose to follow my heart and make my regrets machine obsolete.
How about you? Are you ready to ditch your regrets machine, too?