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Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by things that you didn’t do than the ones you did do

14th May 2020

I wonder if in twenty years’ time there will be opportunities that you missed, which you will regret. There may even be some now. Perhaps you wish you had taken a particular subject option for GCSE or A Level or maybe you wished you had been brave enough to enter Wychfactor after all. There may be regrets that you had not spoken up in support of someone for fear of ‘losing face’, or that you failed to show appreciation to someone who had helped you.

More often than not regret at what we did not do, is linked to a fear of failure. What if…. we don’t succeed…. people laugh…. we look weak…. we don’t like it? Now while caution is a good thing because it makes sense to weigh up possible consequences, there is a time to ‘take responsible risks’(this week’s HOM). Unless we do so we cannot grow as human beings or get to know ourselves. Just as a toddler of necessity, learns to walk through trial and error because there is no other way to develop strength and balance, so we too need to test ourselves through the opportunities that come our way.

During lockdown we may feel our opportunities are limited, nevertheless we do have choices. This way of living is a temporary one but we will carry what we learn from it into the future. The question is whether you end up being ‘more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do’ during this time.

We could see this as positive time in which we can develop healthier routines of sleep, exercise, diet and meditation/reflection. Spending more time with our families may be an opportunity for developing greater understanding of each other and a deeper connection. Working remotely could help us develop independent learning skills. And although we miss our friends, we might learn to value them even more and resolve to really treasure those friendships in the future, rather than take them for granted.

This is also the perfect opportunity to get to know your local area. It may be that there are volunteering opportunities in which the older amongst us might become involved. I live in Chipping Norton and each week the ‘Chippy Larder’ distributes food boxes and craft packs for children to over 300 households who are isolating or in need. Then there is a phone network to enable the isolated to keep connected and every Thursday along with the whole country, we clap hands on our doorsteps in thanks to the NHS workers and all those who are supporting us at this time.

Finally by exploring your local area on foot during your daily exercise you really will start noticing so much more. I have enjoyed finding new tracks and walking paths from my home and discovered some wonderful circular routes and places I never knew about, even though I have lived here for 10 years!

To quote Ms Sherlock, ‘ whilst it is an unusual time for all of us, it is a time we will never get back, so let’s make it count! No regrets!’

Mrs Crossley