I’m a little unnerved by my looming birthday. Fifty-four. Wow…that sounds old. But I don’t feel old and I’m trying to concentrate on that rather than the number. I feel younger than I did ten years ago and I’m in better shape–physically and emotionally–than I was in my forties. So I need to concentrate on living this next year paying more attention to making fifty-four look fun, interesting, and meaningful. Putting that face on fifty-four sound much better than the face of sad regretful dread as I march towards death. (I know people who feel this way about their fifties and it makes me sad) I think regret and envy robs us of our happiness. I realized I’m not one for regrest when I filled out a survey this past week.
I’m fortunate enough to be in a vibrant and lively internet community via Facebook. How I got there is a tenuous and boring journey of shared connections. The most important point is I get to be a part of this group loaded with talented writers, chefs, musicians, teachers, and just all round smart, deep thinking, open-hearted people. Recently our fearless founder posted an interesting and detailed survey. Everyone’s answers were at times funny and other times moving.
My own answers carried a theme of living without regret and never allowing myself to be a victim of circumstance, prey to another human, or the victim of biology. I’ve been thinking a lot about regret recently and despite my latest posts about reluctant motherhood, deep down I don’t regret not being Uber Mommy. That’s not me. If I had been Uber Mommy I would not have lived an authentic life. I believe the only regret anyone should ever feel is not living an authentic life. And once you discover what that looks like, take your life back and move to that authentic place you long to be.
Because I’m a Tall Poppy at times, here’s my list.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Getting out of my head and not letting my insecurities win.
What is your greatest fear? Snakes
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? my self-doubt.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? people rehashing the bad stuff in their lives.
Which living person do you most admire? there is no one person
What is your greatest extravagance? getting my face worked on every few months: filler/facials
What is your current state of mind? Peace
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? selflessness
On what occasion do you lie? protect other’s feelings
What do you most dislike about your appearance? my guant wattled neck and my back fat
Which living person do you most despise? I’m working very hard to not despise anyone
What is the quality you most like in a man? integrity
What is the quality you most like in a woman? integrity
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “like” it’s like a terrible habit.
What or who is the greatest love of your life? In this case it’s “was” and we simply moved apart and along different paths but Karen will remain the greatest love, the biggest influence on my life; and I on hers.
When and where were you happiest? At the beach in Puerto Morelos Mexico 2010
Which talent would you most like to have? singing
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? To have more self confidence
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Getting out of my own way to live an authentic life despite the need to let go of the the love of my life.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Beatrice the ranch dog. She is the most Zen being I’ve ever met.
Where would you most like to live? I would like to divide my time between several places.
What is your most treasured possession? my mother’s ring
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? The lowest depth of misery is being locked in a spiral of victimhood. Blaming someone or something for your current state. No matter what has happened to us we can look through it and live through it. It’s pointless to keep reminding everyone and ourselves of this bad thing or that bad thing.
What is your favorite occupation? I’ve only had one and I have a daily love/hate relationship with being a nurse.
What is your most marked characteristic? I live in my head.
What do you most value in your friends? Integrity
Who are your favorite writers? Jane Austen, AS Byatt, Nabokov, a bunch of romance novelists.
Who is your hero of fiction? Enzo the dog in Art of Racing in the Rain
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Colette
Who are your heroes in real life? I have a few patients who are my heroes. daily they deal and face living with overwhelming catastrophic illness their grace and courage as they live the fullest life possible is a huge source of joy and inspiration in my life.
What are your favorite names? for what?
What is it that you most dislike? Victims
What is your greatest regret? I’m working really hard to heal my regret. To mention my regret only gives it renewed power.
How would you like to die? quickly
What is your motto? “It is all unfolding in divine order.”