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Regrets and Priorities

2018 has not started well for me personally. Already this year, I’ve lost family members and friends—and close friends have lost family members and friends. They say bad news comes in threes, yet from where I’m standing, they seem to be coming by the dozen.

I’m not trying to be a downer on a Friday, but it did get me thinking about regrets. So I delved further—and in doing so, I stumbled on list upon list of regrets. What quickly became apparent to me was one common regret: “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

On the surface, happiness seems easy enough to accomplish, but surprisingly (or maybe not), it can be a difficult goal to achieve. Why? In my mind, it comes down to the competing priorities that seem to plague most of us—life’s priorities that take precedence over those things that truly make us happy. After all, we cannot go and open up a shack hut and sell beer on the beach in Jamaica; we have a family to support.

Now, that’s a rather extreme example, but one that serves to make my point. Too many obligations in life can sometimes prevent us from pursuing our passions. But they don’t have to.

One of my greatest passions is travel. It makes me happy. In fact, a couple of years back, one of my goals for the year was to venture outside the general area one weekend a month. Unlike my commitment to weight loss, this was a fun goal—and one that I was excitedly committed to accomplishing. However, that same year, I’d also committed to playing a significant role in driving continued growth for J2 Solutions. One was a professional goal, and the other a personal one—but both important to me. And you know what? I accomplished both.

When I traveled for work, I made it a point to spend either the weekend before or the weekend after taking in the sights and exploring the area. In essence, I fed my personal passion while working towards my professional goal. And in the process, I was able to see some amazing places. I even spent a few weekends breathing in the salt air of the Jersey Shore—and all because I found a way to balance the two.

I got to expand my horizons, spend time with friends and make new friends, then come back to work recharged. I set those priorities and worked towards them—never losing sight. I am doing what makes me happy—and that’s one regret I can scratch off my own (now diminishing) list of regrets.

Today, I have a bucket list in my mind of things I want to accomplish in life. My next step is to put that mental list onto paper, then start checking each item off, one by one.

“It’s better to look ahead and prepare, than to look back and regret.”  – Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Have no regrets.