It’s definitely time to regret-proof if you’re somewhere between 40 and 60 years old.
Welcome to midlife, the land of time flying by.
At record speed.
Before you know it.
Right before your very eyes.
I mean, really, can you believe you’re as old as you are? I don’t feel my age and I bet you don’t either. In my mind, I’m about 15 to 20 years younger than I am. Except back then, I didn’t sometimes forget how old I was…
Midlife is a perfect time for REGRET-PROOFING.
My definition of regret-proofing is going out of your way to make sure you don’t have regrets about what you didn’t do, didn’t say, didn’t start, didn’t stop.
You still have PLENTY of time. You’re not too old.
That is, of course, if you’re aware enough of what you really want.
And you make regret-proofing a priority.
That’s why I wanted to give you a place to start.
- Something easy.
- Something illuminating.
- Something for you to think about.
It’s time to take a regret-proofing baby step.
Ask yourself, what’s ONE thing you really want to do within the next 5 years that you’re pretty sure you’ll regret if you don’t make it happen.
Write down whatever popped into your head.
Please don’t talk yourself out of writing it down.
You might also be thinking about why you can’t do it, or why you’re too old or how you can’t make it happen.
Please supervise that thinking and just write the stupid thing down.
Allow yourself the pleasure of dreaming about something you really, really want to do or to make happen in your life and sit with it.
It’s OK to want what you want.
Really. There’s no judgement from anyone but YOURSELF. So please, stay in this moment and just let yourself want this. Judgement comes when you step out of being present.
Now, close your eyes for a few seconds.
Notice how you FEEL when you think about wanting this.
Again, try not to get sucked into those other thoughts that will steer you away from dreaming your dream.
Focus on your FEELINGS. A feeling is one word. It’s a vibration in your body. It’s not a thought. A thought is a sentence in your mind. Try to get at the feeling.
I did this exercise too. The first thing that popped into my mind was taking my family to experience “friendly encounters” with the Gray Whales in Baja California. It’s my passion. It was the coolest, most spiritual experience I’ve ever had and I want to share it with my family. My thought is “I want to share this awesome whale experience with my kids.”
Uh oh…here they come. The other thoughts trying to squelch this dream. “It’s too expensive.” “Now that they’re in university, the timing will never work out.”
OK, I’m intentionally getting back to the thought about my dream now because I want to notice how this thought makes me feel. There it is. Cool…a few feelings are popping up.
Joyful. Proud. Giving. Excited.
If I didn’t force myself to notice these feelings, I might have gotten sucked into the feelings from the other thoughts. When the thought, “it’s too expensive” tried to squelch my dream, I felt selfish. The thought, “the timing will never work” made me feel hopeless.
It’s so important to allow yourself to at least notice the feelings associated with your dream.
The point of this blog was for you to take a baby step.
Awareness of what you want is just that. It’s a place to start.
So many of us have forgotten how to dream in midlife. We get so busy with life that time whooshes by in a blink and fear having regrets and actually start having regrets.
Most of us have no problem talking to our older kids about the importance of leaving doors open as they begin to make decisions about where they want to go in their lives. We become experts in thinking many steps ahead for them. But when it comes to our own lives, many of us are on autopilot and have forgotten how to apply this skill to ourselves.
Our excuses for why we CAN’T do things are more plentiful than why we CAN.
Sometimes they are little things. Inexpensive or no cost, like calling a friend you haven’t spoken to for years or going to the nursing home to visit a relative.
Sometimes they are more expensive activities that take more planning and funds, like going on a special vacation or quitting job you just can’t stand anymore.
Regardless, your dreams have to start somewhere. They have to be uncovered. You have to notice them and let them come out! They’re lonely when they’re so deep inside your subconscious mind that they never see the light of day.
Regret-proofing is pressing the pause button long enough to give yourself permission to think about what you want and take it from there.
It’s a start.
Let yourself want what you want and NOTICE how it makes you feel before you let your thoughts about objections crowd your brain.
This baby step isn’t about making a final decision. It’s about the step before that. Just thinking about what you might regret if you don’t do whatever it is.
Want some help?
Grab your favorite cup of coffee or tea (or glass of wine) and do the same exercise for 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, 15 years and 20 years. Just let your dreams flow! This should keep you busy and entertained.
You can also hop over to my Regret-Proofing 101 Facebook Group and join the conversation!
If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that we will regret having regrets. Better yet, let’s work on regret-proofing together! Click here and read my top 10 surprisingly simple ways to bust out of your midlife funk! I can help you take all the steps you want to regret-proof your life – now!