“Don’t let the past hold you back; you’re missing the good stuff.” -Unknown
There have been times when I’ve regretted that I missed out on so much when I was younger.
Because I held onto pain so tightly, I missed out on countless opportunities for fun while sitting alone and feeling bad for myself.
Because I felt so insecure for so long, I missed out on the chance to make strong friendships while shutting down and assuming people would hurt me.
And because I was afraid of failing, I missed out on all kinds of professional opportunities while doing what felt easy and safe.
Now, in my early 30s, it’s tempting to look back and feel bad for squandering those years when I was so full of potential. Then I remember: I still am.
The other night, I attended a family function with many of the amazing, interesting people who I didn’t fully appreciate when I was caught up in my personal dramas. I planned to leave early because I was somewhat tired, but I ended up dancing until the last song with my big fat Italian family.
I remember looking around at my cousins, ranging in age from 11 to 35, my aunt in her 50s, and friends of all ages in between, and recognizing that we were all the same on the dance floor.
We were all losing ourselves in the music, likely thinking about nothing, simply choosing to be together and move. It was almost as if in that moment, we were ageless. What had come or what was coming didn’t matter right then.
All that mattered was that we all had the same choice to make: sit it out, or dance (yes, like in the song).
That’s the choice we’re faced with every day.
We can focus on the fun things we could have done but didn’t, or we can do something fun right now.
We can dwell on the mistakes we made in past relationships, or we can focus on enjoying the relationships we’re in right now.
We can think about all the opportunities we missed out on, or we can focus on embracing possibilities right now.
There will always be something we didn’t do yesterday, but we get to choose right now how yesterday looks when we get to tomorrow. Right now, whatever age we are, this is our chance to live.