Respect, Regrets, Resolutions

Community is important. We need people. We can’t do it alone. When I was younger, I was willing to listen to anyone but my parents. But I find that as I get older, I’m much more ready to listen to what they have to say. I recognise the value in their experience. I had dinner with Dad tonight, just the two of us. It was nice. I asked him things. Things like,

  • Why did choose to immigrate to North America?
  • Do you ever wonder what it would’ve been like if you’d chosen Australia or Singapore or the UK like your friends?
  • How did you decide what you wanted to do with your life?

All fairly big life questions. The world is a big place and there’s an awful lot of paths you could take. I struggle to know, “Which one is the best one?” One of my biggest faults is that I can be quite obsessive. This translates to hours thinking over what might have been, rather than going out and doing. I’ve spent hours wondering what life would be like if I had questioned authority more when I was growing up, or if I had more gumption in high school, or had clearer goals of what I wanted out of my first degree. Sometimes, I try to compensate by acting on gut-feeling and without thought. This isn’t much better.

John Greenleaf Whittier wrote a poem about a judge and a maid who share a moment, but do not pursue that feeling. They each go on to live their lives the way society expects them to, with regret.

God pity them both! and pity us all,

Who vainly the dreams of youth recall.

For of all the sad words of tongue or pen,

The saddest are these: “It might have been!”

This is hardly the only quote on regret. (Kurt Vonnegut has one that is very similar.) I used to want to be original, or at least, be doing things the right way. Even in kindergarten, I can distinctly recall colouring assignments where much of it was brown and green. Why? Because wood is brown and grass is green. I have since taken a much more pragmatic point of view on assignments and life.

Get it done. No one is original. Everyone makes mistakes, but if you’re smart, you’ll learn from them.

Anyway, just some thoughts that have been rattling around.

P is away at a conference in Melbourne. It looks like a perfectly wonderful time. I’ve been bored witless for a week over this midsemester break. Some resolutions from this week of boredom and thinking:

  1. Continue New Years Resolution to do morning runs at least 3 times each week. This month has been excellent, with nearly one every single day. 
  2. Make a 5 year plan with specific, measurable, accurate, realistic and timely goals along the way. And some sort of rewards. like shopping.
  3. Spend at least 20 minutes each morning thinking about what I want to achieve for that day.
  4. No distractionary reading. Especially not fanfiction as this feeds daydreaming. (embarrassing!!) Speaking of which, no more daydreaming. If I absolutely must, then I will have a good idea from it that I can apply. And not for more than 15 minutes.
  5. At least 30 minutes before bed, start winding down. To exercise good sleep hygiene, no more bringing the Macbook or iPhone to bed. Find something to think about before bed. Other than what I need to do tomorrow. Because that’s what P does and I swear I can hear the gears in P’s brain ticking as I’m trying to fall asleep. Possibly reflections on the day.

Good plan. Now to do it. I wonder if this is the start of self-actualization.


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