“A man is not old until he has more regrets than dreams.” John Barrymore
So you have to ask yourself, how old are you? Do you have more dreams or do you have more regrets?
Youth is typically filled with an abundance of aspirations and an excess of idealistic notions; there is rarely a dearth of dreams.
Do you remember what you wanted to be when you grew-up? Do remember at age five, twelve, twenty? The possibilities seemed endless, the opportunities limitless. You could be the Bionic Woman, an astronaut, or a doctor. I always wanted to be a writer. At five, other’s perceived my dream of writing as amusing and transitory. At twelve, other’s perceived my dream of writing as ambitious. At twenty, other’s perceived my dream of writing as misguided.
My goal to write a book or many books was often met with others’ good intentioned albeit offensive efforts to convert me to teaching high school English classes (not that there is anything wrong with that, it just wasn’t my dream).
So youth’s unabashed conviction in the possibility of any and every dream is often humbled with each passing year. Be it others’ unsolicited opinions or one’s own self-doubt, youth’s boundless belief in dreams and unswerving swagger to make them come true often fade much too fast as the years pass.
For me, when teachers, family friends, and even the strangers at check-out tried to convince me of my erroneous career decision, it made me feel my dream wasn’t the right one, wasn’t going to come true, wasn’t worth having.
Maybe someone made you feel as though your dream wasn’t important or possible; maybe that someone was you. And when we feel as though our dream isn’t worth having, we sadly often stop dreaming. And when we let a dream go, we add a regret.
Regret is defined as to be sorry for but it also means to mourn the loss or death of. You have heard the cliché that people never regret what they have done but rather what they haven’t done. And as we get older, years accumulated and dreams lost, we realize everything we haven’t done, each adding to our regrets.
What dream did you let go? Why? Fear? Self-doubt?
The easiest regrets to overcome are those for things you haven’t accomplished or even tried. So no matter your age, start today. Dream again, believe in those dreams, and do all you can to make them a reality because while regrets give you only sadness, dreams give you hope.
And remember—when one’s dreams don’t come true; it’s sad.
But when one stops dreaming; it’s tragic.
Causes Sherry Parnell Supports
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, Heifer International