I’m no pessimist, I am lucky enough to have never suffered depression and I consider myself a fairly healthy human, but like everyone, I do have my up’s and down’s through out my life.
I have a tendency to act upon almost every situation I can grasp, impulsively. Right before my mind locks the decision into my head I have this huge wave of contemplation erupt inside me, and many a times it has almost stopped me from doing what I have really wanted to do. But the better half of me, the more exciting, adventurous, scared to hell part of me comes out and grants me the ability to go right ahead and take that crazy risk.
Having said this, yes there has most definitely been times, when I have backed out of decisions I have made.
Shortly after backing out of them I find myself confused and questionable. I’ll sit by myself somewhere, usually where I can connect myself with nature, and question the decisions I have made.
We are driven to do certain things and in acceptance with this, we yes, are all meant to be doing these things we have decided upon. We are all meant to be here, for one reason or another. We are all meant to achieve the goals in life we are thrown, and in accordance, I do believe (as corny and generic as it may sound) that everything happens for a reason.
Regrets are a funny thing, we say we regret a decision we have made, say we would have done it differently had we been given another chance. But what if…
What if you decided to stay in one place, as opposed to move on to the next even though that was your original plan. Would you have met those people who ignited a joy inside of you that you had forgotten you had?
Would you have gone skinny dipping that night in the ocean, surrounded by others like-minded to you, freeing yourself of any collateral you may hold, even if just only for a few minutes?
If you had the chance to do something over, think about it, question yourself three times right now and ask, would you really do it again? What would it lead you too? What would disappear from your memory had you have the chance to change it?
Best out of three.
A few days ago, after having travelled up the coast of NSW in a car with two friends, I found myself in Byron Bay. A town I hold dear to my heart. I had three ultimatums. Stay in Byron Bay, find a place to live, get work and live the simple life I love in an enchanted area. Jump on my pre-booked flight to Western Australia, to meet a dear friend in the small community town of Margaret River, to of course, live with her and find a job. Or, head back to Sydney, to where I had a potential full-time job already lined up, in a field of work I have been dying to get into.
As I pondered on the decision I needed to make I thought not of what good would come out of them, but what opportunities I would miss if I pick the wrong one.
That afternoon, with only a few hours to define my decision (the flight to WA was the red eye out of the Coolangatta airport in the Gold Coast) I hitch hiked back from Byron Bay to Ballina, where I was staying.
The man who picked me up was one I will think of fondly for ever. In his late 40’s, Byron local, had his surfboards on his roof and his fresh fruit and veg in a hand woven basket he sat on my lap.
I spoke of my options, and he spoke of the past decisions in his life that have led him to where he is today. A wise old owl, but something he said to me, right as I was getting out of the car stuck to me like white on rice.
He said, “Trust in your decisions.”
That night, I made the first decision I have ever really come to regret… Now, days later, I see the good that has come from my decision. But I battled in my head up until about 24 hours ago on what I thought, would shape the rest of my life (I can be a little dramatic sometimes).
That night I missed my flight to WA I sat in bed with one of my best friends who I have spent the last 2 months traveling with world with, Shea. Together, we thought up 10 regrets that to many people in life make.
I guess in hindsight, having only one major regret in my life, at the age of 22, is okay. I am vowing now to never again have any regrets of what I have stated below.
10 regrets you’ll wish you didn’t make:
- Not booking that flight you desire so bad – This one for me is a no brainer, I am all about impulse flight booking. You have your whole life to lead a 9 to 5 job, if that is even what you want to do (ugh, personally I can’t think of anything worse). Is quitting your retail position or your full time barista job at your local cafe really going to affect your resume in the years to come? Plus! Who know what opportunities could present themselves when discovering new places.
If you see a cheap flight, or you are inclined to head somewhere you have always desired to go, then act now, before you find yourself older, with more commitments, and reluctant to experience the world due to some sort of bitterness that has evolved over time from not letting yourself create your own destiny.
- Turning a flight you have previously booked down – Ok so I might be all about the impulse flights, but I am also known to redirect myself after booking said flights, and finding myself forfeiting the money I paid. It’s what I do. Ask anyone that has met me through my travels, a bunch of them will reply with, “Oh yeah I was with Nat when she was supposed to get on that flight to LA from Mexico City… We spent the night on the rooftop of our hostel instead”. Though I have not yet learned to just WAIT to book flights to the last minute whilst I travel, because who knows who you could meet the day off, and decide to stay based on someone you have known for less than 24 hours, I have only ever regretted not getting on one flight. Like I said, that flight to WA.
My regret was followed by confusion on how, after so long of being so sure of myself, of the decisions I make, I couldn’t be sure of this. And why my decision, secretly between you and me, was semi based on the fact that if I was to stay on the east coast of Australia, maybe, just maybe, I would get to spend more time with someone I am truly fond of.
If you book a flight, you have booked it for a reason. It is understood, of course, that life does indeed happen whilst your making other plans, so sometimes flights need to be cancelled. But don’t find yourself on the tarmac at the airport because you are frightened of whats ahead of you, because that is the greatest adventure of all.
- Letting your shy ego get in the way of finally making you happy – Relationships. When it comes down to romantic relationships, I’ll admit I know not much of them. However, what I can relate too, is how many of us can finally find someone we can correspond with, someone we connect with, and be too scared to show a romantic interest due to thoughts of rejection and disconnection, have you do tell them your feelings. Up until recently I spent a lot of my time chasing after the wrong people for me, I gave up on that and since then have found real connections (especially through travel) with the men I have come across. Having said this, I am all to familiar with once finding some one I truly care for, and can see a possibly blossoming relationship with, choosing to wither away in hiding because my shy little ego gets the better of me. If you can relate to this, I think the time has come that we all stand up and say fuck it, let’s do something about it! Because when it comes down to it, what do we REALLY have to lose?
A moment of rejection? Yes. Followed by possibly sitting around with a couple of our best friends asking, “Why doesn’t he see me that way?!”? Yes.
After about 24-48 hours of this we stand up, we get dressed, we walk outside, and we go on with our lives. We are no longer wondering, questioning the ‘What ifs?”. You’ve probably had a couple epiphanies since confronting him, or her, and you quite possibly could be even surer of yourself, not to mention stronger, having confronted someone you didn’t want too!
When it comes down to it, they are only as human as you are, and who knows, they could be just as scared as you of the rejection you could leave them with. Maybe they are just waiting for you to make the first move… Get on with it would you!
- Sharing too much time with others, and not with yourself – I am a naturally social being. I love being around others, friends, family, and going on adventures with people. I have no problem with dissolving any awkward or quiet situation into the opposite, and I strive when in a group related activity.
But man oh man, I LOVE my alone time.
Since I started traveling alone when I was 19, my relationship with myself has blossomed extensively. I have found myself In NYC by myself going to see my favorite bands alone. I have found myself at bars in San Francisco, completely alone, but of course, only leading to making some of the greatest friends I have today from it. I have quietened my mind with the time granted to myself on a farm in Arizona, and hiking trails through Spain would have only meant us much to me as they do because I was entirely alone, and utterly content.
I have learnt to be alone in nature, in crowds, at home and far from home.
Being alone, giving yourself time to breathe, relax, reconnect with yourself, and your surroundings, is SO important.
Some of us need to learn to how to be alone, some of us may already know and just need a little reminder every now and then. A lot of us may be uncomfortable with our own company, you need to over come that and like I said, take the chance to reconnect with yourself. Whether its taking a 20 minute walk through out the day by yourself to reflect on your emotions, or listening to your iPod full blast out on the deck.
Making time for yourself can lead you to so many wonderful things, new hobbies, realizations and ideas, and of course, what is more important that a loving relationship with one’s self?
- Saying no to that ridiculous living arrangement – You’ve had to move out of your home, due to too much rent or too little a space.
You find yourself questioning how you’ll survive. You’ve crashed a little while on a couple of friends couches and now you have been given with a few ultimatums you never thought you’d see yourself in.
For instance, option one is a caravan in a caravan park. You think of how trashy it is, you’ve seen Julie Cooper in her trailer trash park when she hits rock bottom (Yes, I totally just made an OC reference, it’s a damn good show). You turn the caravan down straight away, there is no way you are dealing with them rednecks or bogans. But think about this.
If you had your own caravan, you’d be paying significantly less, you have your OWN space as opposed to paying triple the price and living in a shoe box with 5 other people. You are also more likely to become pretty community based. How many of us can say we know the names of both neighbors on either side of us? It seems to be a dying thing, especially in cities, of knowing who we are sharing our neighborhood with, and I feel there is something quite saddening about that.
Another option is moving back home with your parents. You have grown up excessively since you last lived with them and you do not want to have to deal with curfews… Surely they won’t fall into old habits and give you curfews now your older right?
But just think about all the free delicious meals you’d get? All the laundry you wouldn’t have to deal with because lets face it, even though our mums say it’s annoying, she’s over doing your laundry, you’re not a kid anymore. THEY LOVE IT! They have their babies back at home if only for a little while. May as well milk it hey?
I myself have found myself spending the night in some pretty crazy places, and I have lived a couple of months here and there in homes I thought I would never find myself in (we won’t mention the time I was 18, had nowhere to live, which resulted me and a friend living in a drug dealers studio a couple of months). But you know what, each of those crazy situations, silly sleeping arrangements, I laugh at now, and they have made me who I am today. Exit your comfort zone and realize, to make your life work, maybe you’ll have to give up your usual nice bedroom for just a couple of nights, or maybe even months, to make something else work for you.
- Finding you haven’t packed enough underwear and socks in your backpack/suitcase – This one explains itself. There is nothing worse than traveling and 3 days into your 3 months trip, realizing you only packed 3 pair of undies and 2 pairs of socks. I don’t care what anyone says, YOU NEED MORE THAN THAT! Made this mistake to many times.
- Snoozing your alarm when you have places to be – REGRET! I have found myself in Thailand, Cambodia, Spain, the US, Mexico, in fact pretty much most, if not all countries I have been too. Ready to go in the morning, alarms at the ready that 5:30 alarm for that 6:25 sunrise.
I walk down to the common room of my hostel the evening before, everyone’s having a couple of drinks, they ask me to join. Oh why not? I say, just a few before bed… THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ‘A FEW’ BEFORE BED WHEN AT A HOSTEL!
I have missed many a day trips, sunrises and sometimes even sunsets due to this. Instead, I have spent most of these days in bed feeling sorry for myself.
Take advantage of where you are and if you have places to be, take a night off drinking, or even if your just tired and you snooze just to get a few extra winks of sleep. DON’T! You know your alarm with just keep snoozing and you’ll get fed up and turn it off and miss out on that day trip!
- That time you wanted to quit your job but didn’t – I am not going to linger on this one. All I will say is; Life is too damn short to be in something that is making you unhappy. If you have an itch that you should quit your job, look, you probably should. If you need to find a new one before doing so to support your lifestyle. Then do that. I bet you’ll be surprised how quickly you can find something new!
- Listening to your rents – Ok, this one totally depends on who you are, how close you are with your parents, and how wise they both are.
I know generally all our parents want what is best for us, it is true. But you need to make your own path, your own rules. Your mum and dad are always there to guide you, to help you. But you are your own human, and you need to make your own life, every single person around you will influence what decisions you make. Obviously your parents are a huge part of that influence, but it is up too you and how much you will LET them influence you. I do not always see eye to eye with my mum and dad, but I do know, that they see life to a different extent than me, and I take into consideration everything they say because I know they are saying it because they love me, and they want me to be happy.
- Sitting on the beach instead of swimming in the water – So your drunk, or your sober. You have just made a group of new magical friends and you all decide, in your wonderful charismatic, eccentric atmosphere, to run down to the beach do you can all go skinny dipping. You’re in your home town, or perhaps your on a beach in Asia, or possibly at a picturesque beach in Portugal. Everyone else is laughing and screaming the lyrics of some generic song, and you are on the sand minding every one else clothes. Get up, get undressed and run into that ocean!
Being naked is the most natural thing in the world and we are far to obsessed with what we put on our bodies. A couple of minutes of pure wholesome ecstasy shared between wonderful people in a beautiful setting is what we need more of in our lives, and besides, who has ever regretted going skinny dipping? It is, and will continue to be a favorite pastime!
So there you have it folks, I hope this has inspired you in one way or another.
Writing this blog post has helped me just by re-evaluating the past few months and connecting myself with my surroundings of being home!
I hope you have all had a wonderful Easter! I am off to, for the first time in a really long time, find myself a more permanent place to live. 😉