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Tuesday, 10 August 2010

A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams. ~John Barrymore

I've been writing this post for about a week now. And things just seem to crop up with more things to add.

Every now and again things happen in my life that startle me, they shake me to the core. On Monday night I had some spare time and I decided to visit some of my favourite blogs and bloggers I frequented all the time but haven't had the time for recently.

Lately I thought a bit about a girl whose blog I admired and I wondered why I hadn't seen any updates from her lately. I clicked on her blog and saw a post from her husband. She passed away last month. She was returning from a buying trip and was killed in a car accident. She was in her 30's and left behind a heart broken husband and two gorgeous children under 10. Her husband's post broke my heart. Rest in peace Marija. Even though I only knew her through her blog, her death has really left a mark.

I also totally related to this thisfreebird's birthday reflection post. My birthday is about 5 weeks away and I'm beginning the mourn the things that I am getting too old for and beginning the question the past year of my life, beating myself over not achieving enough, over buying too much junk, not making enough of an effort with friends....

One of my biggest regrets in life is not doing a semester abroad while I was a university student and I vowed to myself when I graduated to work abroad for a few years instead.  But I'm slowly running out of time to do that too. As much as I love life in Australia, I wish it wasn't so far away. As I get older, I miss Europe more and more. I want to move to perhaps Germany or Switzerland or Austria. I dream about being a few hours away from my extended family in Serbia. I miss my cousins. My grandmothers miss me. I am an only grand daughter on both sides of the family. On my dad's side, I am the only girl born in 4 generations. I feel guilty about not calling them enough, but when I do, they cry and in turn I cry too. And I feel heart broken for a week. I'm guilty either way - for not calling and when I do call, for being so far away. I was last there 2 years ago exactly. Think I'm due for another visit.

I used to be a good sleeper. I was always concerned for people who said they couldn't sleep. Now I'm kept awake by my future. Thoughts of money, of my parents getting older and needing me more, I worry about the person my little brother will grow up to be now that I am not there to help him and guide him through life on a daily basis.

Nothing in my life has turned out the way that I had wished and prayed and I've had many sleepless nights worrying about what the future holds... or doesn't hold. My faith in God is often the only thing that keeps me going. A priest once told me that just because the things we pray for don't happen, doesn't mean that God didn't answer our prayers, it just means that what we were praying for wasn't right for us and that it would eventually make sense. I think about those words often.

I always make sure I learn from my mistakes and from my experiences and that I make a difference in the world, no matter how small. Imagine how good the world would be if we all did something small, something tiny to help at least one other person? Earlier this year I helped to form an organisation for youth - to enrich lives, to mentor... Even if we can help only a handful of people, it's better than nothing. It is very time consuming and and the task ahead can be very frightening but it's worth it. I'm in it for the long haul.

Seeing Desert Flower was an eye opening moment for me.  I couldn't hold back the tears. Waris Dirie is an inspiration for using her terrible experiences to help other women, to speak against something and do something about something that bothered her, that she knew was wrong. She was brave. And I want to be brave too. I don't want to sit and watch and let life pass me by. I want to do something, I want to help, I want to shape somebody's future. I don't want to have any regrets.

I had always wanted to go to New York and I probably, in theory, shouldn't have paid for the trip on my credit card, but 16 months on, I remember the trip and cherish the memories every day, long after the credit card has been paid off and long after I've forgotten how much credit card debt sucks the happiness out of me and weighs me down.  No regrets.

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  1. Amen sister. Amen and amen and amen.

    I actually started to cry a little reading this post. We are so on the same page it is both frightening and comforting at the same time.

    I always said, "I don't want to look back and think gee I wish I would have" - I try to live by those words.

    So why have I not gone back to visit Europe? Oh, because I went to Kauai, but STILL.

    I, too, long to make a difference in the lives of others. I am missed by my family and feel like I am missing out, but also like where I live. I worry about my parents getting older. How will this all work out??

    Your priest was right, at least in part. I also think that God does answer our prayers even when we're not getting what we want right away. His answers are: yes, not yet, and I have something better. That I truly do believe and have lived...holding on to that right now as well.

    hey do you want that ebelskiver?? i forgot about that!! eeps!

  2. Your post really resonates with me. As you know I'm living in Melbourne and think about my friends and family constantly- I miss them so much it hurts. Right now I'm in a predicament. Am I doing the right thing being over here? How long should I stay for? Am I pausing my life? Shouldn't I be in England, with my mum, sister, a fiancee, having babies, doing the everyday things like coffee with mum, hangovers with friends, laughing with my sister? It is such a weird feeling being in the mid 20s and still finding our way...It's an exciting part of life- difficult but exciting.

    Being reflective is what it's all about. Situations, problems, predicaments always turn out the way they should, so keep positive x

  3. You are a good and lovely person - and I am sure you are a wonderful, daughter, grandaughter and sister - don't beat yourself up too much about things you cannot change but take all opportunities that come your way. Yes, I too was so shocked to the core and so saddened by the death of Marija. We never know what is around the corner which is why you should at your young age (and believe me, you are young and have so much to look forward to) enjoy your life and live it to the full... And to Sophie P who has commented above (who happens to be my dear niece) - you know I say exactly the same to you too. XXX

  4. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of what sounds like such an extraordinary woman, how awful. I really feel for her family, and hope that they're coping the best that they possibly can.

    My biggest fear in life is regrets and I try to live my life and make my decisions based around that fear: I never want to look back and feel disappointed! And to me, travel is ALWAYS a worthwhile pursuit: credit card or no credit card!

  5. that is so cool that you helped organize that mentoring program - how lucky for those kids. and this resonates with me too, as i get older, etc - i wonder if i'm doing what i should be doing. but you have time, you know? you're not going to change everything over night but you can make small steps to get towards your goals!

  6. This post really hits home with me. I'm a worrier by nature and am constantly stressed about this thing or that. Then I hear about a major tragedy someone else endures and my worries seem so trivial. I need to learn to relax and live in the moment (something I work on almost every day in yoga, but need to translate to daily life). Thank you for the amazing reminder!


  7. Very strong post. The winds of change have been howling through my life at the moment - I am not a buddhist so believe I am only here the once. Therefore I believe if you feel very strongly about something in your life you must do it our journey is so short (I have had a few shocking reminders of this in the past 3 months). I agree with the semi expat - her comment is good. Just like you Xxxx

  8. I completely lose my mind during the week of my birthday, neurotically worrying about my life and assessing my achievements. I wish I could be placed in a medically induced coma during that time of craziness and spare everyone!


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