Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Never Regret a Smile


I’m middle-aged and just now discovering what that might mean.

I’m not talking about wrinkles or stress or looming AARP mailers. I’m talking about regret. Why do we have stereotypes of freakouts during this time in our lives? If nothing more, it could be for the simple reason that our bodies are innately trying to do what we should be doing all along: regret nothing.

Sure, getting older means you know things. Your confidence grows as your experience lengthens. However, I’m becoming convinced that your middle-aged body's influx of energy is nature's way of trying, in a last-ditch effort perhaps, to get you back into a constructive mindset of growth and exploration: one based in joy, happiness and wonder.

If you can couple that mindset in a healthy way with the wisdom you’ve accrued, what revelations await? It doesn't have to simply result in a frivolous car purchase or destructive relationship choice.

Working as an assistant in an elementary school perhaps helped me begin to regain access to this more youthful perspective on the world where things are more fluid and potentials unchecked. Taking on the persona of a rogue in the classic MMORPG World of Warcraft back in my 30s, then diving into Japanese anime like Bleach and Attack on Titan and now enjoying Korean dramas such as this year’s Signal, W and Another Oh Hae-young and Korean pop like BTS’s I Need U- I've been reminded over and over to just loosen up and look at things differently. To not give in or up or simply endure but to enjoy what I'm doing and not regret it.

Basing your daily activities around the goal of simply experiencing them fully can make you truly appreciate all that you have right around you more intimately. It also reminds you that life is basically pretty good and can be made better by every one of your choices.

My biggest hope today is we all find a moment where we smile with pleasure and regret it not a whit.


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