…the continuation of Ten Ways to Die Without Regret (Part 1).
6. Satisfy all curiosities
I think we are all naturally curious, but at the same time, most of us are practical. This becomes a problem later on in life when you constantly think about “what could’ve been” or “what if…”. If you’ve watched “How I Met Your Mother”, you’ll understand why satisfying your curiosities is important. In one episode (warning, spoiler alert), one of the main characters, Lily, experiences cold feet soon after she gets proposed to by her boyfriend, Marshall. A free spirit at heart, Lily, begins to worry that she will never have the opportunity to pursue her dreams of being an artist and traveling the world once she settles down to have children. So, in response, she runs away to San Francisco – naturally the best thing you can do when you have a fiancé waiting for you at home (sarcasm, for those of you who can’t detect it). Once there, she enrolls in an art program but eventually realizes that all she ever wanted, everything that made her happy, was actually back at home in New York, where she left it.
The lesson of this story is this: satisfy all your curiosities because if you don’t, the “what ifs” will be constantly gnawing at you in the back of your mind. If, like Lily, you find that what you thought you wanted isn’t as glorious as in your dreams, I guarantee you will be 10x more content with your current life.
7. Don’t owe anyone anything
Money (with the exception of loans for school), apologies or even explanations – don’t put yourself in a position where you have to owe any of these things to anyone. Once you do, you are officially in debt and will have to find ways to clear that debt. Try instead, to live your life in a way where you can only be responsible for yourself and have no obligations to other people. Trust me, people have a tendency to hold things over your head once you allow them to. I let my sister borrow money from me a couple of times – I don’t expect her to return my money. In fact, it’s my gift to her, but you can bet that I always mention how generous I am to her: “Remember, that time I lent you…”
8. Stop saving just to save
Money is meant to be spent. No, this doesn’t mean that you should go and deplete your entire life savings, but if you have nothing to save for, then don’t. The best experiences, the most life-changing adventures, and the tastiest foods shouldn’t be missed out own because they are too expensive. Live in the moment now, because once you are older and have to pay rent or car payments, you won’t have that luxury anymore. Remember, the only thing you will be carrying with you to your grave are your memories, not your bank account numbers.
9. Spend as much time with the people you love
I can’t emphasize this point enough. I regret spending so much time on things that don’t really matter. The amount of time I spend watching TV or aimlessly surfing on the website is upsetting, considering I spend maybe 1/10th of that time actually interacting with my mom.
Yes, life can drag on sometimes, but it will feel exceptionally short when you are standing by a hospital bed, wishing for a few more weeks to spend with those you really care about. The last couple of years before my grandfather’s health started to deteriorate, my father spent every minute tending to his needs. The day my grandfather passed away, was also the first time I ever saw my dad cry. So make sure you don’t retreat that time you yelled at your mom, or that day when you were supposed to help your dad with something, but didn’t. To be honest, no matter how good of a daughter, son, friend you are, you will never feel like you’ve had enough time with a person when they are gone, but at least you’ll know you’ve been the best person you could to them.
10. Realize your biggest fear and conquer it
My biggest fear has always been public speaking. When I have to present a project or a speech in front of an audience, I can literally hear my heart pound in my chest and I wonder if everyone else can hear it too. For the most part, I was able to avoid public speaking for the majority of my undergraduate career, until the spring of my junior year, when I learned I had to take an oral communications class in order to complete my minor. It was my worst fear come true.
When I had to make my very first presentation, I felt sick to my stomach. But with my grade on the line, I forced myself to suck it up and do the best I could. And to my surprise, it wasn’t too bad. It actually wasn’t bad at all. Immediately after I finished my presentation, I felt a wave of exhilaration pass through me and no feeling can quite compare to that. Don’t get me wrong. I still dread public speaking, but knowing that I can overcome that fear has allowed me to realize my true potential. Sometimes, you can also be your own worst enemy by psyching yourself out, so do yourself a favor and become your own biggest hero instead.
…And that’s it, folks! My 10 tips on how to die without regret.