Fear, Regret, and the What If Part 3 of 4

  1. I wish I would have quit my job to pursue what I really wanted to do.

How many of us wake up in the morning with the birds chirping and the sun shining while we whistle in the closet because we just can’t WAIT to get to work? If this is you, then the rest of us scoff at your good fortune. Why? Because most of us struggle every day with the knowledge that what we do is not what we want to do. We feel trapped in a job we hate because we have taken on responsibilities like a car payment, or a mortgage, or kids. We are told early on that the safety and security of these jobs is more important than that feeling of dread you have as you file in behind the rest of us on the freeway, on the way to your elected prison.

When I graduated high school, I joined the Army because I wanted nothing more than to be an Army Ranger. OK, let’s be honest, I wanted to be a GI Joe, with my own nickname and everything. It took walking into a recruiter’s office to discover that didn’t exist, and the Army Rangers was the closest I would ever get. That didn’t work out and I only stayed for a few years. I have bounced around for over a decade since, trying to find something I was happy with, and failing. It wasn’t until last year that I was hired on to a law firm that I was the perfect fit for. Not because of education, I have none, but because of the multitude of positions I have held. I was a uniquely perfect fit. All of the jobs I was settling for weren’t a waste, they were building to something.

Settling is for people who have given up. If you have given up on your dreams, accepting that you will never be what you want in your life, then by all means, continue on this path. However, having life and having quality to your life are two drastically different things. Being ecstatic and whistling in your closet is not a pipe dream, it is just reserved for those of us who had the courage to risk the transition.

  1. I wish I would have chased the one that got away.

Ah . . .Mary Lou and her sweet smile that you were smitten with in seventh grade. If only you would have had the guts to say hi, send her a note, and ask her to the dance. We all have that one girl or guy that we had a vicious crush on through high school, or college, or after. We never did say anything, and now we are left wondering . . .what if?

There was this girl. When I was in college, I walked into an event with a few people I had met earlier and there was music playing. There was a stage, a band playing a song I had never heard before. I wish I could remember the words, but I was distracted, preoccupied with the girl on the base guitar. She had dark and curly hair that framed her face as she looked down at her music. She had a smile that destroyed me. We met and were fast friends. She was everything I had ever wanted, and before I knew what was happening, I was deeply in love with her.

I was ready to say something, was ready to tell her my feelings, I made a plan . . .but I was too late. Another man told her first, and she began dating him. They moved away together. They got married. They had kids. It wasn’t until years later that I confessed what I never got to say. That was when I found out, she felt the same way. I had missed my opportunity to have the girl of my dreams because I was afraid. We are still friends, our lives are amazing because of it. However, we were both tormented with the thoughts of what could have been.

Why didn’t we say anything? Fear of rejection, fear of losing them as a friend? When we look in the mirror, we see something completely different than what everyone else sees. We see our flaws, our mistakes, we see every reason why we don’t deserve the person that we have put up on a pedestal. What we fail to realize, is that they are almost always doing the same thing. There are millions of people out there just like you, so get out there.

Remember what we said earlier? If you see yourself as a 10, then others will also. When we tell ourselves that we deserve to be happy, and we believe it, it releases some of the fear. It makes us want to go for all of the things that we desire. Including that girl. Don’t allow her/him to be the biggest regret of your life, tell her/him, before they marry someone else.

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