It seems to me that possibly the most frustrating and soul destroying scenario would be to reach those senior years (I am already there!), and reflect back on those dreams that were never realized, and perhaps now cannot be. Can you imagine reflecting, and confronting the reality that your priorities in life were very wrong?
I remember reading the results of a survey which was based on conversations with people who were clearly approaching the end of their lives. The study concluded that those who happily accepted the inevitable, were the ones who had followed their dreams and could look back on a productive and rewarding life. Conversely, those that felt cheated and were generally very depressed, where the ones that “should have ……. “, “could have”, “if only …..”
So many of us are so driven to social acceptance, that we live our lives based on our perception of what others expect from us. i.e we are people pleasing. Sadly, at the “end of the day”, we have to live with ourselves, while those others simply get on with their lives regardless of our circumstances. Desiring social interactions is very natural to our species, but given that one can never please everybody … just how far should we go? How much of ourselves should be hide simply because we think we might not be accepted?
It is so easy to procrastinate life impacting challenges on the basis that there is always tomorrow, but one day … there will not be a tomorrow!
The following verses are taken from my “Just Thinking” book. Click book cover in right column (may have to scroll) for more information.
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“The Old Man’s Lament”
I have lived for many years
But… what have I achieved?
I may have served no purpose at all.
What a thing to believe!
What if I had listened
To my little voice inside?
Things would be much different,
But I simply followed others,
Perhaps there was something I needed to hide?
I really wished… but instead
I listened to you all.
I devoted myself to pleasing you.
I thought of you all as friends,
Although… that was not the case, as I recall.
Did I live the way I could?
Must I now shed tears for me?
Must I dwell on my past life?
Living here alone;
Is there a future… for me to see?
I really did try to please you all.
I catered to your every need.
I guess I wanted your approval,
And certainly didn’t want to offend but…
Now you have little time for me.
What is it that I’ve really done?
What really could have been?
Where on earth did I go wrong?
If only I could go back in time,
I would plan very differently for me.
But I cannot reclaim those times.
The past cannot be replayed.
Decisions should have been different,
But that is history
And I cannot live in yesterdays.
What a fool I have been,
People pleasing and living a lie.
You can’t please everybody.
I should have known that
So… why did I even try?
But those times are gone,
And what do I now see?
An unknown future,
And some shattered dreams.
Remnants of what could have been me!
From this moment on
I will live for me.
I am going to change.
From this moment on,
I will be my priority!
Forget the “could haves.”
Forget the “should haves” too.
They really do waste my time.
Nothing will change by dwelling on the past.
Not for me… and not for you.
Today I am choosing a new path,
Where my dreams are important to me.
You can join me on this road,
Wherever it is going to lead.
But do you really want to see?
I don’t think any the less of you.
I just want to work with me,
To follow my own instincts
And to go where I choose.
To see just who I can be.
If you can understand that,
Then a friend you truly are.
If it gives you problems though,
Then set your own life course,
Because mine is now aimed at the stars!
I am taking control of my life.
I will determine my own course and speed.
And for what time I have left,
I intend to give it my best,
Because now my life (what remains of it) is important to me.
I have lived for many years,
But what have I achieved?
I may have served no purpose,
But… this will now change… believe!