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    Living Without Regrets

      When you approach my front door you can't help but notice the bright white awning with green lettering that reads "No Regrets Apartments". An energetic, friendly and eccentric woman owns my building, it is the theme by which she lives her life. She has lived in the same neighborhood all her life, yet has friends she corresponds with all over the country, she never learned how to drive, yet gets around twice as much as people half her age, she sometimes skips lunch but a day never passes that she doesn't enjoy some gourmet chocolate, and her whole life even in fancy restaurants she always eats her dessert first. When I have asked how she is she has smiled back and said, with a smirk in her upbeat voice" I can't complain, it doesn't do any good anyway". She is on the move living by her own rules, always looking forward never looking back.

      Every time I walk under the awning and through my front door I am reminded of the importance of living without regrets. Every day, every moment we have a choice, a choice to be fully who we want, who we dream to be or to pretend that we are less magnificent than our true selves. To pretend we have few wants, few desires and few ideas for how we really want our lives to be. Have you chosen to reach for the stars while a living a life full of possibilities and passion or to keep holding on to the railing, by passing your time in the seat of the mundane, thinking about what might have been.

      You are responsible for making sure you are served up a full helping in life. No one else can go to the buffet line for you, you won't get what you want if you let anyone or anything else select the main course of your life.

      When you are older sitting on your sunny porch in your automated, back massaging rocking chair reflecting back on your life, will you wish you had done anything different? Will there be any opportunities you wanted to take but did not, any great ideas you let float away, any important dreams you let go unfulfilled, I hope not, everybody says they want to have no regrets. Take the time. In the words of George Elliot" It is never too late to be what you might have been".

      If you want to have no regrets at the end of your life that means you have to live each day of your life with no regrets. The answer is proactive living. This fulfilling lifestyle involves doing what you want to do, going where you want to go, being who you want to be. You know you are living and working without regrets when you are fully engaged, alert, alive, enthusiastic and in action in your life.

      When you are proactive in your life problems are seen as possibilities, obstacles are seen as opportunities to learn and occasions to do things differently. What could be possible for you in you were living a proactive life? Would you go back to school and study ballroom dancing or Buddhism, travel through Europe on a bike, risk that new romance, start a new business?

      The only thing standing between you and a life without any regrets is you.

      Think about your life, where are you proactive and where do you need a jolt to get you going ?

      If you are ready for a new proactive lifestyle where you will be more fulfilled everyday, and squeeze more juice out of everyday read on:

      Strategies for Proactive Living

      1. Commit Yourself to Proactive Living

             Right now this is the only life you have. Make an agreement with yourself that you are not going to sit this one out, commit to being a participant, not an observer. Commit yourself to the process of finding and following your dreams, wants and desires.

      2. Point Out Past "Pro-actions"

             Make a list of all the moments in your life where you felt proactive. Then identify what was it about that experience that made you feel that way. For example if you identified serving in the Peace Corp. as a time of being proactive, identify if it was, the adventure, the opportunity to educate others, to help shape a community, or learning about another culture that was the real positive part of the experience. Alternatively, if you felt proactive when you first used a computer, was it doing something new, achieving a goal or actually working with technology that made you feel proactive.

      3. Tolerate Nothing

             Ask yourself, what are you tolerating in your life? Is there a health challenge you are not addressing, a relationship you have long outgrown, a home full of paraphernalia that is crowding you? If you are not being proactive in life you are being reactive.

      4. Identify Proactive People

             Make a list of ten people you are acquainted with that you believe live life proactively. These are the people you want to spend time with, collaborate with, pioneer with, play with.

      5. Jot it Out

             Keep a journal for a week and notice when you are feeling the most proactive. Write these things down and then at the end of the week reread your journal and see if there are any common threads or directions that need further investigation.

      6. Try New Things

             Make a list of all the things you would like to do. Add to the list everyday. Once a week for six weeks try something new. In addition to having new experiences and perhaps finding some new talents and passions. Living without regrets means trying everything you want to try.

      7. Get Into Action

             Once you commit to proactive living, living without regrets the only thing left to do is get moving, get working on it, get going. Write out all the big and small action items necessary to get you living your proactive lifestyle. Start small with little steps, and as momentum builds you will find yourself naturally engaging fully in life, naturally not holding back.

      As you begin this new lifestyle, watch closely and notice what is different. Maybe soon you will place an awning or a plague or even a welcome mat by your front door that lets all who enter know. Here lives a person with no regrets.

      � 2003 by Caterina Rando, MA, MCC
      Keynote speaker, trainer, coach

      Author of the national best seller
      Learn to Power Think from Chronicle Books

      "Helping people achieve success with ease."

      Phone: 415 668-4535, 800 966-3603
      Fax: 415 668-6450