I spent most of last night with a friend whose father is in the process of passing away. It’s got a lot of stuff rattling around in my head and now you get to read my meandering thoughts in blog form. Weeee!
It would seem that I’m weird about death. Sure I am sad for myself if I lose someone, or my friends if they lose someone, and sad for the person who died if they weren’t ready to go. But the idea of dying does not scare me personally.
I think it’s mostly because I always try to live like there’s no tomorrow. My goal is to make every decision, and live every day, so that if I found myself suddenly at the end of my life, I could say that I did everything I could possibly do. There are two main things that I do to make this work:
All that risk taking stuff I always talk about here.
It boils down to a pretty simple choice. Would I rather :
- Chance looking like an idiot, failure, rejection etc.
- Lay on my death bed with regrets that I can do nothing about?
I’m choosing a. for sure.
I often joke that the reason that I don’t go skydiving or bungee jumping etc. is because I don’t want to look like a dumbass in my obituary (ie: that an obituary which reads “Ragen jumped out of a plane and subsequently died” could certainly elicit the response “Ragen is a dumbass”.) In truth I don’t do those things either because I have no desire to or because they don’t make parachutes to suit my size. In either event, I get enough adrenaline from my regular life.
In all seriousness, dying with a life full of regrets is a far, far worse potentiality to me than a little bit of failure, rejection, embarrassment and feeling like an idiot.
I choose not to settle. I’m willing to succeed, to fail, to regroup and try again, but not to retreat into quiet resignation and accept less than what I want – that’s not the life for me. I think that when I’m on my deathbed I’ll be glad of that.
I was reminded of a quote this week by the awesome people at www.iamthatgirl.com
“When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most giant idiot on Earth. So what the hell, Leap”. –Cynthia Heimel
Be the Queen of Second Chances
My Best Friend has called me “The Queen of Second Chances”. He did not mean it as flattery. He feels that I give people in my life too many chances and he may be right, I certainly see his point. Plus it’s often his job to rent the movies and buy the ice cream when, after giving someone six chances, they screw me over for a seventh time and I walk away from the relationship, so he has a unique perspective.
My Best Friend doesn’t really give second chances. This is particularly salient because I did a series of stupid things once that pushed him out of my life. One of the scariest things I ever did was go back to him and ask him for another chance. I was pretty sure that he wouldn’t give it to me, but as I just mentioned, I would rather try than live with regret. I’m not sure why he made an exception, but he gave me the second chance that I wanted but didn’t think I “deserved”. I try hard to make sure that I do, in fact, deserve it.
I don’t regret any of the chances that I’ve given anybody. Every relationship (business, friendship and romantic) that I’ve ever walked away from, I walked away saying that I gave it every chance I could and there was nothing more I could do. Over the years I’ve become more strict about the second chances – people have to ask for them and sometimes there are terms attached, but I’ve still given plenty of people in my life lots of chances. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t Partly that’s because I can’t imagine my life without my Best Friend and he is in my life because of a second chance. And it’s partially because people can grow and change and if they can find the guts to ask for another chance, then I want to give it to them. I’d rather make the mistake of putting too much faith into someone than not enough.
Despite the picture that I chose to go with this blog (because it’s sooooo shiny!) I’m not sure that I believe that I’ll have “no regrets”. When it comes down to it, I guess that in my final moments I’m ok with thinking “Wow, some of the decisions that I made and things that I tried and risks that I took weren’t very smart and/or really didn’t work out and I regret them”. But I’m not ok with thinking “I regret NOT doing this, or taking that risk or making that decision. I wonder what could have been if…” when it was I who controlled the “if”.
I’m having a quote-y day (I feel a blog post about my inspiration addiction coming on….) but here’s one more that I like a lot. I’ve always just seen it credited to “anonymous” but if you know who wrote it drop me a line so that I can credit it properly – (one of the greatest uses ever of the word “abashed” by the way):They cannot die whose lives are part Of the great life that is to be; Whose hearts beat with the world’s great heart, And throb with its high intensity. Those souls are great, who, dying, gave A gift of greater life to man; Death stands abashed before the brave; They own a life death cannot ban.
5 thoughts on “Life, Death, and the Queen of Second Chances”
One of the greatest uses of the word abashed indeed. I love this post and you’re so inspiring! Must be a feedback of all that inspiration you’re getting. 😉
Wonderful post. I choose to live like this also and most days I do, but ever now and then I have to remind myself that taking a leap and looking foolish or worst facing rejection is not as bad as adding to my bag of what ifs. Thanks for the inspiration.
Another post I love. You inspire me every time I read! But is it sad that I don’t have anything in my life that is really taking a chance? I think I’m getting old!
Thanks Susie. If you want something to take a chance on, find it! (and tell me how it goes! 🙂
Another insightful blog – and one very close to my own inner turmoils. So many choices, so many forks in the road, just how does one choose and manage them all without the regrets of knowing what if the other path should have been chosen?
Thanks Ragen for sharing you provoking thoughts.