Let me put you in my shoes, I'm nearly 22, I've just finished university and I'm just starting to realise I won't be young forever like I once thought I would. I'm sure many of you have already pasted this stage in life and you've probably already had to think about the difficult questions on my mind at moment such as, 'what's my purpose in life?'
I'm sure you're wondering, why a 21 year old guy is worrying about all this? I'm still so young right? Yeah, I suppose but I know I won't be forever, and once my youth has past I'll never get it back again. There are no second chances here, not for any of us, I need to make the most of what I have left of my youth and then of my life. I recently watched a TED Talk where Jane McGonigal highlighted the top 5 most common regrets from the dying. I recommend you watch the full video but for now here's the list:
Think about what you want from life at the moment? Maybe you're saving up for a new car or maybe you're trying to get a promotion. I know most my friends who are finishing university are looking for full time employment right now, and that's great, but when you're lying on your death bed and someone asks you, 'what do you regret the most?' Would you reply, 'not getting that car', or, 'not getting that job'?
People often state, 'happiness comes from within', and I think that's probably half right. There are two categories these regrets seem to fall under. The first set are regrets about who we we're and how we acted during our life; our personalities. The second categories is what we did, and who we interacted with; our choices.
We all wish we were slightly different, maybe we want to be more confident or more outgoing but how can we make these changes and be the people we want to be? It's hard to just simply say, 'today I'm going to be more social', and then actually go do it. I've always been an awkward kid, I never liked social events, they made me feel like I was out of place and different to everyone else. Although I didn't like social settings I always felt I was missing out. I noticed all my friends having fun and wondered why I couldn't enjoy myself like that. I knew I didn't want to regret not being a part of that when I was older, so a few years ago I started making a change, I started going to social events and spending more time with my friends. This was the first small change I made. Next I decide I needed to be more sociable so I tried to interact with people whenever I could. Like with everything the more you practise the better you get and now I'm a lot better and I honestly enjoy going out and spending time with my friends and even meeting new people. If you want to change who you are you'll need to make these small changes. Put yourself into these uncomfortable, unfamiliar situations and realise although you might regret it at the time you probably won't when you're older. You know what they say, you don't regret the things you've done, but those you did not.
That's just half the story though, even if we have a great positive personality to truly be happy and be free from regret in our lives we need to have a rich set of experiences that make us fill we lived out our life to its fullest possible. They experiences could be traveling, or something crazier like skydiving or mountain climbing, basically doing things that make us feel we've accomplished something. Again it's not easy to just go out and do these things, but one way we could help increase the amount of experiences with have is simply to be move open to new things. If you have a co-worker or friend who is going to a cool place or has a cool hobby ask if it would be alright for you to join them. Try to say 'yes' more even when you're not sure if you'll enjoy it at the time, remember most the time you'll be glad you did it!
To conclude remember your happiness is the most important thing. A certain amount of money will make you happy but if you're working 6 out of 7 days every week you've probably not got a good balance. The first step in regaining control of your life is by realising you don't 'have' to do anything, and in fact everything you do in life is of your choice. You choose to go to work just like you choose to do anything. You always have choices, even if sometimes they might be difficult to make. So put happiness first and live a live true to your dreams without regret.