I hadn’t thought about tap dancing in years. But then I turned 50 and I started thinking about potential regrets.
All kinds of thoughts began swirling in my head when I approached this notable milestone. I decided that my favorite thing to do would be to go on a trip with my best friend, Karen, from high school.
So, I booked a timeshare in a Florida resort on the water. It had a wonderful balcony, that we thoroughly enjoyed. The balcony became the base for some of our most creative and memorable moments. We dined, created beaded jewelry, watched sunsets and enjoyed every moment of our time together out there with our beautiful view.
I decided to mark the trip with a joint activity, the crafting of an opportunity list for our midlife chapters.
What would it take to live our lives more intentionally?
- What were the things that we wanted to have the opportunity to do going forward?
- What were the things we used to love doing but hadn’t done in years?
- What were the things that we might regret not making time to do?
This led to some wonderful reminiscing about the good ol’ days in junior high and North Penn High School in Lansdale, PA. Other memories started to pop up.
That’s when I vaguely remembered how much I loved tap dancing.
I only tapped for an extremely brief stint when I was 13 and 14. I tapped with another close friend and had a lot of fun.
I thought to myself…do I dare put tap dancing on my opportunity list?
It seemed like such a disconnect for me to even be thinking about dance.
The whole idea seemed so foreign. Being around so many women dancing was so unfamiliar. I hadn’t had dance lessons since 1976-1977. My sons never got into dancing, so their interests never brought me to a dance studio either, even as a carpool mom.
And oh yeah…I was in my 50s! I hadn’t danced in about 40 years! I hesitated.
Karen looked at me and said, “Put it on the list.”
She was right. The whole point of this exercise was to think about things we used to really love doing and consider doing them again; I really shouldn’t let my fear about it get in the way. I needed to focus on what I actually WANTED to do going forward, not get caught up in thinking about how stupid I was going to look.
So I stopped the drama and just wrote the damn thing down.
There it was, right below learning how to make sushi.
And there it sat, quietly on my opportunity list for three years.
Until I posted something on Facebook. I asked if any of my Facebook friends had any interest in taking tap dancing lessons.
I was shocked at the interest!
Encouraged, I did some research and discovered that there was an adult class nearby.
YIKES! It was happening!
I had to buy shoes and get over myself. I took a deep breath and drove to the local dance store. Feeling like a fish out of water, I was fitted for shoes, right along side a little girl who was also buying tap shoes, with her gorgeous mom, who was clearly a dancer.
My last excuse went out the window.
I was taking tap dancing lessons.
I decided I would even go alone if I couldn’t get a commitment from a friend.
How lucky for me that my friend Cheryl agreed to tap too! So we went. We bought a little package and started taking tap lessons.
Yes, it was scary.
Yes, it’s harder than it looks.
Yes, at times I looked goofy.
Yes, it was so much fun!
The bottom line is…I’m so glad I’m doing this.
Midlife can definitely be a wake up call. You get to decide if you’re going to block the call or answer it.
Do you hear it? It really is OPPORTUNITY CALLING!
That’s how I’m choosing to think about it.
For some, midlife rolls in quietly. For others, not so much.
What triggers the wake up call? Could be a milestone birthday, traumatic event, or a death or illness of a friend or family member. Maybe it’s menopause or empty nest. Everyone’s different.
Whatever the case, some kind of a jolt is common in your 40s and 50s. Something that makes you sit up and take notice that time is flying. Something that makes you think, if not now, then when?
The question is, what are YOU waiting for? Answer the call! Regret-proofing your life can be amazingly fun.
Take a few minutes to think about what it was for you that made you smile as a kid. Here are four simple baby steps to start regret-proofing your life.
- What was that thing that you remember from childhood with fondness that brought simple joy to your life? Here are some thought starters:
- Where did you go on family vacation?
- What was your favorite restaurant from childhood?
- Who are the childhood friends you lost touch with?
- Who was the high school teacher who was a mentor and made an impact on your life?
- What food did you love, maybe your grandmother’s special recipe?
- What childhood games, activities, hobbies, sports did you love?
- What pets did you have when you were a kid?
2) What are some things that you’ve always wanted to learn how to do?
3) Where are some places you’d really love to go?
4) Now that you see these ideas, pick your TOP THREE and ask yourself:
- What would it take for you to move forward and make the idea happen?
- Notice the thought you have immediately.
- Dig a bit deeper into the thought. If you have resistance, ask yourself why? If you don’t, ask yourself why not?
- Think about accomplishing it – actually doing the idea. How do you think you will feel?
It really is time to regret-proof your life.