No regrets. Everyday I strive to remember those words. They come from a thought that I had when I was very young. I think I was a strange boy. Instead of dreaming about what I was going to grow up to be I was imagining what it would be like to look back at my life as an old man. It made me worry about what things I would then regret not having done. The thought was chilling. I understood that my choices would either bind me with regret or show me what I was made of. It is from these early thoughts that I choose the way in which I would live my life. I believe in living without regrets.
I have always loved mountain climbing. I see a mountain and I dream of conquering it. There are many mountains in my life. Instead of wondering how high I can climb, I wonder what the view would look like from the top. One thing I have learned as a hiker is that you never know how high you can climb until you start climbing. Even if I do not make it to the top at least I’ll never be haunted by the question, “How high could I have climbed?” It doesn’t make my efforts for success any less meaningful, but it does show me my limitations. Living without regrets teaches me that even when I fall short I can use those experiences to learn what I could do to improve.
Recently I climbed a mountain with my younger brother. Once we were on the trail we couldn’t see the peak anymore. As we neared the top the trail became more difficult. We began climbing steep boulders of granite only to find more boulders piling higher. At any moment we could have turned around, believing that the peak was unreachable. The only thing that kept us going was the thought that the end was closer than the beginning. Not being able to see the peak was what drove us to find it. If I turned back I would then have to live wondering if the peak really was just over the next hill. Whether I made it to the top or not, I’d always know that I had followed my heart and took the chance.
By living so as to have no regrets I learn who I am and what I am capable of. Nothing could be more depressing than looking back at your life and realizing that you never learned how high you could climb because you never set foot on the trail.
As long as I strive to live without regrets I will always be motivated to do my best. I’ll always know my potential because I’ll simply try. If I’m blessed to live to be an old man, it is my dream that I will be able to look back at the mountains of my life without wondering how high I could have climbed.
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