I just finished the book The Midnight Library. This book pushed me to consider some things I had not thought about before now. Here is an excerpt that I read and re-read. I wanted to share it with you.
“It is easy to mourn the lives we aren’t living. Easy to wish we’d developed other talents, said yes to different offers. Easy to wish we’d worked harder, loved better, handled our finances more astutely, been more popular, stayed in the band, gone to Australia, said yes to the coffee or done more bloody yoga.
It takes no effort to miss the friends we didn’t make and the work we didn’t do and the people we didn’t marry and the children we didn’t have. It is not difficult to see yourself through the lens of other people and to wish you were all the different kaleidoscopic versions of you they wanted you to be. It is easy to regret and keep regretting, ad infinitum until our time runs out.
But it is not the lives we regret not living that are the real problem. It is the regret itself. It’s the regret that makes us shrivel and wither and feel like our own and other people’s worst enemy.
We can’t tell if any of those other versions would have been better or worse. Those lives are happening, it is true, but you are happening as well, and that is the happening we have to focus on.
Of course, we can’t visit every place or meet every person or do every job, yet most of what we’d feel in any life is still available. We don’t have to play every game to know what winning feels like. We don’t have to hear every piece of music in the world to understand music. We don’t have to have tried every variety of grape from every vineyard to know the pleasure of wine. Love and laughter and fear and pain are universal currencies.
We just have to close our eyes and savor the taste of the drink in front of us and listen to the song as it plays. We are as completely and utterly alive as we are in any other life and have access to the same emotional spectrum.
We only need to be one person.
We only need to feel one existence.
We don’t have to do everything in order to be everything, because we are already infinite. While we are alive we always contain a future of multifarious possibility.
So let’s be kind to the people in our own existence. Let’s occasionally look up from the spot in which we are because, wherever we happen to be standing, the sky above goes on forever.”
I recommend the book. It will certainly give you something to think about.