Living Without Regrets

Last November I traveled to Victoria, B.C. with one of my best girlfriends for a weekend away.  I love Canada and always enjoy a good weekend in Victoria, and this one was no exception.  While I have great food and music memories of the weekend along with a great story about walking 2 miles for a necklace, what has really stayed with from that weekend even 7 months later is a discussion my girlfriend and I had about regrets.

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As we wandered through the streets of Victoria, naturally I started to talk about Canadian TV shows that I liked (what can I say- I watch too much TV and I do love Canada…).  One of the shows I started to discuss is a show called Being Erica which follows the life of Erica Strange (I swear I am not making that name up) as she starts a very unusually type of therapy where she is able to travel back in time to relive and try to alter her regrets.  I know it sounds far fetched, but trust me, it’s actually a very well done show.

Later that night as we sat basking in live music at the Irish Pub, my friend referred back to our earlier discussion and asked me what some of my regrets were.  Honestly, I had a hard time trying to think of anything that wasn’t inconsequential.  Sure, maybe I could have tried out for one of our High School musicals or played sports growing up, but in terms of big regrets- I didn’t have any, not even my choice to not finish grad school.

This is not to say everything has always gone perfectly and I have always made the right choices in life.  I have suffered through the not so great internships and jobs and not always given my all when I could have.  I’m very shy at times when it comes to interacting with the opposite sex when I am attracted and it may have served me to act more boldly.  But overall, I don’t regret any of my experiences, because I have learned something from all of them.

I believe that with the right attitude you can live without regrets- it’s all about how you choose to look at the not so great experience and what you take away from them.  I’ve had plenty of not so great work experiences as well as dates, but each time I have learned more about myself through discovering what I don’t like and why.  This self knowledge that comes with reflecting on negative experiences makes them worth the discomfort and something that I would not wish away.

One of my favorite movies is Apollo 13 (you can laugh at me for this- but I think it is an incredibly well made movie.  The suspense is built so well that even though I know in the end everything is OK and they come home safe- when the radio crackles and you hear their voices come through… oh man, I cry every time.  Every single dang time.).  At the end of the movie when Tom Hanks is talking about their mission he says that NASA referred to it as “a successful failure”.  It succeeded because all three men came home safely, but it was a failure in that they never were able to land on the moon and complete their mission.

I love this idea of a successful failure, and it it the attitude with which I choose to approach my not so great experiences.  They are successful due to what I can learn through the trial, even though they may have been a failure in helping me reach a goal.  So, even though I have had several ups and downs in my life, I don’t have any major regrets, and I don’t believe I ever will.

Looking back on the path of Erica Strange, even though she was focused on her regrets, in the end I believe that by having the chance to relive them and re-examine them, she came to the same conclusion.  Maybe they were not really regrets after all, but turning points in her life, teaching her a bit more each time about who she really is and what is truly important.

Dancing Queen


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I have a confession to make- I really like to dance.  In my last post I mentioned that I had started to take dance lessons, and I am so glad I made the decision to start!

I have always thought that it would be great to know how to dance- nothing fancy, just the basic steps to be able to hold my own on a dance floor in a social situation.  I enjoyed watching movies where couples would dance, it just always looked like so much fun!  About a month ago, I decided to look into taking some lessons.  I honestly can’t figure out what it was that triggered me to look up classes, something must have made me look into it, but for the life of me I really can’t think of what prompted the thought right then.  However it occurred to me, for some reason the idea wouldn’t let me go.  So, I called my local Arthur Murray studio and signed up for an introductory special.  I had my first lesson just over two weeks ago, and I am now officially hooked.

People keep asking me why I started and what I hope to get out of dancing, and while there are many benefits, I think I just wanted to do something new and fun for myself.  When I told a co-worker that I was going to start the lessons, they asked me if I was going with a friend or a partner.  They seemed both surprised and impressed when I told them, no, it’s just me- something I’ve always wanted to do.  I’m extremely glad I didn’t let the fact that I don’t have someone to dance with stop me from pursuing my goal, because even after two weeks, I can see how much good this can do for me.

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Not only is dancing just plain fun, but it’s quite a good workout (something I could use a lot more of) and a great stress reliever.  When I went in last week I had had a terrible day at work and was feeling very drained.  After an hour and a half of both a private and group lesson, I felt like a million bucks!  It’s amazing what movement, laughter, good music, and fun partners can do to the spirit.  I’ve also met a group of amazing people who come together to share dance every week, and I could not be more inspired by them to improve my own dancing.

I’m excitedly looking toward this summer when one of my best friends will be getting married.  It should be the first social setting to put some of my new moves to the test and see if I am more comfortable and confident.  I’ve always enjoyed dancing, but I never really felt like I knew what I was doing.  Feeling like I must look like and idiot, I never really danced unless I was out exclusively with friends.  Now I’m looking forward to dancing whenever I have the opportunity (though that may be few and far between outside of the studio as I’m really not into the club scene).

When all of this is over, I know that I may never have the grace and ability of Fred and Ginger, but I can only hope I will have gained the confidence and commitment to the moment of Napoleon Dynamite.

Re-Arranging Dreams

I haven’t posted in almost three weeks because work has been a bit intense lately and I’ve been doing some overtime and coming home exhausted.  But in the midst of all the crazy, I had a realization over the weekend.  Even though I’m completely wiped right now, I am extremely happy- maybe happier than I have been in a long time.

Last weekend I traveled home to the Portland area for a few family functions.  While catching up with Aunts, Uncles and Cousins it occurred to me that I actually had new and exciting things to share with them rather than the standard, “Oh- work is going well.  Everything else is pretty much the same.  Hanging out with friends”.  This is because I’ve actually been trying to do new things and check a few items off of my bucket list.  For the last few months I’ve been actively creating the life I want to live rather than complaining about the one I’ve got.

You see- my life is not exactly where I thought it would be at this point. I remember when I was in the second grade and my teacher made us write about what we wanted in twenty years.  While I no longer have the book she complied of all of our papers, I remember how it started- “Twenty years from now in the year 2012, I will be 28 years old and I want to be…”.  While I don’t remember exactly what I wrote, I know I thought that I would be married with a kid or two, and have a red car and a house.  Now, a year later in 2013 and at 29 years old, I have exactly none of those things (well, I have a car- just not red, and I rent a very nice apartment that feels like a home).

For a long time the fact that the dreams of my 8 year old self had not come to fruition did not bother me because I kept telling myself that they would come someday.  Up until recently I was either in school or trying to get my career started.  This was where my focus was- I did not have time to pursue a lot of other interests I held or to pursue romantic relationships.  But recently, I’ve wondered if delaying those aspects of my life has been worth it as I still don’t feel as if I completely know what to do with my life.  My career isn’t really where I want it to be, and I have neglected other aspects of myself.

Yes, I am still young and I know I have a lot of time to accomplish everything I want to, but I hit a point over the New Year where I was just tired of living for someday and waiting for life to happen.  I needed to make it happen.  So now I am working on new creative adventures, one of which is writing this blog, another is the dance classes I have recently started to take (more on that to come in a future post).  And I am having so much FUN.  I feel like I am living instead of waiting for things to happen- and that just feels good.

There is a great song the band Keane sings titled The Lovers Are Loosing.  It’s actually kind of a depressing song if you really listen to all of the lyrics, but I love the picture they paint with the beginning of the chorus.  It goes Like this:

You take the pieces of the dreams that you have

‘Cause you don’t like the way they seem to be going

You cut them up and spread them out on the floor

You’re full of hope as you begin re-arranging

Put it all back together

So here I am re-arranging my dreams.  The dreams that I had at 8 years old are still good dreams, I just need to look at them through a different lens, and put them together in a different order.  But just like the song- I’m hopeful as I do this, and I’m having a great time doing it!

I also want to take a minute to say a big THANK YOU to Monique from A Reel Chick who nominated my blog for a Liebster award. This is an award that bloggers give to other bloggers who are still small and have less than 200 followers.  I am extremely flattered and honored by this!  Thank you to everyone who is reading- I really appreciate it!