I took my daughter to her first "Daddy/Daughter Dance" and left with regret...for saying YES.
Okay, so I have to admit that title is clickbait. Because I had a great time, and absolutely have no regrets at all. But I have regrets for saying yes to everything else in life, but not the important things.
I looked down when we were dancing and she absolutely was in the moment and having fun. It hit me..."wow...one day this may be a dance at her wedding, and it will be here before I know it." Then it was easy to get to the place of how I have not been diligent in the time given to me up to this point. While she may not look and see my lack, I surely do. Which looks like:
Late nights working to come home and only see them (my kids) for 20 minutes before bed.
Being so worried and distracted by the stressors of life that I can't give them the attention they need.
Being caught up on social media endlessly scrolling looking at other peoples' highlight reels of their lives when I'm missing the moments of mine.
Saying YES to others out of obligation and my wife and children miss out on me being present.
Ok so I could keep going there but you get the point. I'm sure you could fill up the page too and may relate a lot. But here is the thing, you don't have to sit there and let the regret build and build to keep you in a rut of negativity. You can identify what that regret is, make a decision in the moment to be better, and move forward. I made a choice in that moment to recognize this, had a few tears, and promised myself I would do better moving forward. Because the only other option is to live in regret and let that take over, and that never turns out healthy.
Make a choice to be different. Make a choice to be more intentional in the future to say YES to the important things, and say NO to the things that do not matter long term. This could mean you having better boundaries at work. No, you don't have to quit your job. But, you don't have to be the first person to your morning meeting every day with donuts yearning for your boss to finally notice you, when they probably do not even care that much. But your family at home is waiting for you to be more present and you go home with absolutely nothing left to give.
There is only so much time in the world. We don't get it back. So many people at the end of their life say that they wish they had lived life differently. Maybe taken more risks. Maybe spent more time with the people that mattered. I wish I would have spent more time with my grandparents before they passed (which is probably an entire different blog post topic).
BUT WHAT YOU HAVE IS TODAY. YOU CAN CHANGE TODAY. YOU CAN MAKE A PROMISE TO YOURSELF, TO YOUR FAMILY TODAY. YOU DON'T HAVE TO SIT IN THAT PLACE OF BLAMING YOURSELF. MAKE A CHOICE. MAKE A PROMISE. TO YOURSELF. TO YOUR FAMILY.
Have better boundaries. Say no to the meeting. To the email. To the things that can wait. Prioritize your family. Yourself. Self care. Your hobbies. Having fun. At home. At work. Life is short, don't let it pass you by and regret for not living a more full life at the end.