Today I supported my brother at a funeral of an old friend. A funny, kind, caring man who left this world too soon. We were told how, through all of his suffering he never complained and remained a real rock to his family. I remember him fondly, spending time at our house when I was a young teenager. He left behind two beautiful children and his wife read a speech written by his daughter, a part of which really struck a chord in me. She said that ‘although goodbyes are hard, you have to look at them not as endings but as new beginnings’. Wise words from someone so young. It made me think of a Maya Angelou quote that I used to have pinned to my office wall at an old job ‘If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.’ Life doesn’t always go the way we plan and it’s not always within our power to change things and we have to accept this at times. While death is hard the one positive that it can bring, I think, is it makes you look at the life you are living and decide whether you need to make changes and whether you are living life to its full potential. It makes you appreciate the people you have in your life and it makes you reflect on the past, be it good or bad.
I’ve been reflecting a lot recently, reflecting on decisions I made in the past. I was invited to a school reunion and while I really wanted to go, a big part of me was scared to. School didn’t end well for me, I won’t blame it on anyone but myself. I made some bad decisions, got my priorities wrong and as a result I lost most of my close friends. Sixth form was tough for me, by the end I dreaded every day I had to go in. I had alienated myself from the people who really mattered to me. This is one of my biggest regrets in life and something I’ve thought about a lot especially now we have the world of Facebook. I was happy some of my old friends accepted me on Facebook but in some ways it made things harder. Seeing pictures of them at each others weddings, holding each others babies etc. it makes me feel sad. It shows me everything I missed out on. So because of this I made myself go to the reunion and I’m so glad I did. I felt physically sick driving up, but when someone came straight to me at my car and was genuinely friendly it made me feel at ease. Everyone was lovely and while it doesn’t change the past it helped me let go of my regret and move on. It helped me change the ending of the story.
Life is too short and in the blink of an eye you can lose the ones you love. Spend as much time with your loved ones before it’s too late. It’s easy to use the excuses of a busy life but you have to make time, make plans and stick to them. Don’t put yourself in a position where you are regretting the time you missed out on. I ask anyone reading this to reflect on their life. Do you need to make a change or do you just need to accept the things you cannot change? I think I need to do a little bit of both……..