SEIZE THE DAY Don’t wait until it’s too late.
One of the big learnings for me from my work in mental health is how important it is to live the life we want now, or at the very least be making steps in that direction.
Over the years, I have heard some of the many struggles that people and their families go through. I have heard the countless regrets people have for not doing what they wanted when they could have.
Bereaved parents talk about what they would give to have their child back so that they could spend more time with them. People living with debilitating life-long illnesses, wishing they did more when they had the strength to do it. The elderly looking back on their life wondering what life would have been like if they had taken a few more risks. And so many people living their day to day life’s feeling stuck in jobs, relationships or situations that they are not happy in but also not feeling able to change it.
I feel lucky to do the work that I do because it helps to give me perspective on my own life too. I have learned so much from the people I have met. They teach me not to wait for the right moment because there is no perfect moment. They show me what is truly important in life. Most people looking back on life wish they had spent more time with the people they love, not money or anything fancy, just time. And they motivate me to take action on what I really need and want right now because tomorrow doesn’t always come.
Without this type of reminder to evaluate life on a regular basis, it can be easy for time to pass by. Before we know it, the opportunities we once had are no longer there. But there are life lessons that we can use while we still have the good health and ability to enjoy them. Here are some of the types of things that people say when they are at the end of their lives:
I wish I pursued my dreams and aspirations, and not the life others expected of me. I wish I didn’t work so hard. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings and speak my mind. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. I wish I had let myself be happier.
Ask yourself, if you were not afraid, what would you do differently in your life? If you knew you only had a short amount of time left to live, what would become your top priorities? And most importantly, how can you start to take action on those now? Don’t wait until it’s too late. Don’t allow yourself to have too many regrets. Give yourself what you need to be happy now or by taking little steps in that direction.
Jannah Walshe is a counsellor and psychotherapist based in Castlebar and Westport. A fully accredited member of The Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, she can be contacted via www.jannahwalshe.ie, or at firstname.lastname@example.org or 085 1372528.