500 Words On…..Living Life Without Regrets

This post was written for my dear sisterfriend, Sylvia Woodman, on a topic she chose, as part of my Facebook Writer Page 500 Words On…. giveaway, which celebrated the page’s first 50 fans.

Jim, at Congress Park in Saratoga Springs, summer 2010


500 Words On Living Life Without Regrets

Recently, a dear friend’s mother died.  She had only a few weeks’ warning.

More recently still, my husband was involved in a life-threatening motorcycle accident.  In the moment the officer knocked on our front door, our routine lives were turned upside-down.

Times like these stop us in our tracks, and narrow our scope to only what is right before us, what is too precious to ignore.

It’s when time, energy, and attention are fleeting and uncertain that our thoughts and hearts turn toward that upon which we place our highest value.

In more normal times, we tend to forget, to make the things of the moment our priority, and to ignore our quieter, deeper needs.

Tickle fest family fun!

We lose our depths, sometimes, and only see the surface of life.

But these times burn away all that, and leave us stripped to our cores.

If we pay attention not just in these bare-stripped moments, but for ALL our moments…

We might start asking ourselves the questions that really matter, the ones that, when we learn the answers, will allow us to steer ourselves toward a life lived without regret.

There’s very little chance that our most relevant questions will match –  we are each unique.

My own questions include:

  • If this is the last moment I will have with this person, will I remember it with joy, peace, sorrow, regret, pain, laughter, or a combination?
  • If  this were my last day alive, who would I choose to spend it with, and how?
  • Do the choices I am making truly reflect my nature and  purpose?
  • Am I doing everything I can to love my loved ones better?
  • Am I doing everything I can to treat myself lovingly, as well?
  • Am I surviving, spending each day just ticking things off my to-do list, and telling myself there is no time for my passions?
  • Am I living passionately, richly, deeply, fearlessly, and honestly?
Our Wedding Day, August 23, 1997

I ask, and answer myself honestly,  and consciously make more and more of my choices with intent:

  •  I intend to keep my life fresh and not stagnant.
  • I  intend to be living –  richly and fully and passionately – until the day I die.
  •  I intend to be an eccentric old lady that everyone looks at askance, but secretly wants to be near, or to be like, and who still isn’t what you would expect.
  • I intend to be vivid, and maybe even memorable…
  • I intend to spread joy, and love, and laughter, and to stay away from places and people where and with whom I can’t…
  • I intend to heal myself…
  • I intend to go deeper, see further….
  • I intend to think, and think some more.
  • …But most of all, to feel.  The good and the not so good.  The exhilarating and the terrifying, the infuriating and the soul-rendingly sorrowful.

I intend to live – without regret!

What questions help you kn0w if you are living well?  What does ‘living  well’ mean to you?  Do you know your purpose? Do you live with intent?   What would your regret-free life look like?


  1. […] 500 Words On…..Living Life Without Regrets (shanjeniah.com) 0 Like this.Share: This entry was posted in Feel Good Quotes, Photography, Spirituality, Words of Wisdom by Dianne and tagged Arts, Philosophy, Poetry, relationship, Romance, Total chances. Bookmark the permalink. ← A very special book: Conversations with God. […]

    • Thanks, Sys –

      Lots of things are crystallizing for me, and within me, just now…..it’s a little messy, and a little scary, but so worth the exploring (which is really what I plan on using the A to Z challenge for – exploration on a variety of topics, in a short space of time.

      I suspect I won’t exit the month as exactly the person who began it……

  2. Love this Shan! I don’t really believe in “regret” – well at least when I’m feeling good about myself 😉 I try to live in the present as much as possible and learn from my less than stellar moments. I love your guiding questions… Once we know what we really want we can begin to live the life of our choosing.

    • Susan –

      Thank you for your kind words.

      I think regret keeps us trapped, and maybe prevents the asking of relevant questions and the knowing who we really are and what we want.

      I also feel that what I want has changed, oddly both deepening and simplifying, throughout my life. Now, in my 40s, I am very drawn to self-knowledge, peace in my life and in the way I relate with the world, making certain our children have the tools and information they need for their getting-closer transition into the adult world, fulfilling activities, and frequent inspiration……

      Continuing to ask the questions, more or less as a running commentary as I move through my days, and exploring them through my writing, is an essential part of the process, for me.

      Learning to live the answers in my life, and to take the learning and gifts that come from mistakes and sorrows is trickier…but I am awake, and learning, and striving, and missteps and unexpected changes are, after all, a part of life, too…..

      So glad you stopped by and shared your feelings and thoughts! =)

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