Regrets. Something that we all have no matter what we say. Regrets don’t have to be depressing or bitter. They don’t have to bring us woe. They can simply be a feeling of nostalgia as you glance in the rear view mirror and wonder about sliding doors.
I’ve blogged about regret PREVIOUSLY and being the type of person who is very reflective and self-analytical, the past and regrets often cross my mind. But without getting too deep and too depressing I wanted to share something with you. It’s not necessarily a regret. I don’t actually know what you’d call it, but here goes…
When I was growing up I was a shy little thing. Very much a wallflower, happy to observe from a distance and not bring any attention to myself. Not a lot has changed I guess, but that’s for another day. When I was a teenager ‘gap years’ were beginning to become ‘the thing to do’. People would graduate high school, defer their tertiary studies and spend the year working, travelling or doing not much at all! The big thing was ‘backpacking’ around the country or around the world.
The stories I would hear of adventures from across the seas in foreign lands filled me with intrigue and fueled my imagination. The world was such a big wide place back then, as opposed to now where you can use Google Earth and stand basically anywhere in the world. Virtually anyway.
But it wasn’t me. Travelling by myself or with like minded friends was not something I would have done. We didn’t have family or friends overseas and the only thing I knew of travel was that my Father traveled for work when he was a young executive. For me taking a gap year to backpack around the world was something that others did, certainly not this shy little country girl.
But now, I kind of wish I had.
The other night whilst vaguely watching the television, something piqued my interest. A woman in her thirties was being asked about her adventures as a young twenty something. She had backpacked her way around the world for eighteen months, and was reminiscing about the world that she saw and the experiences that made her who she was today. ‘It was the time of my life’ she smiled.
Could that have been me? Have I missed out on something because I didn’t travel when I was younger? Would I be a different person today?
Maybe. Possibly. Most likely.
Now I am older I am fortunate to have been able to travel quite a bit in the past ten years. Travel is one of my FAVOURITE THINGS to do, especially with my husband and family. We scrimp and save and resist buying expensive clothing, furniture and home-wares so we can travel. It’s our thing. So it’s not as if I haven’t been able to sample the diverse world that we live in.
But still I look back and, not so much regret, just wonder if I had have been one of those backpackers, what adventures and tales I would have to tell today. How different a person would I be with those experiences in the back pocket of my jeans?
It’s certainly not something that keeps me awake at night, I have far more pressing issues than that. What it does do though, is make me want the world for my children.
Not necessarily the ‘world’ to travel, but the opportunities.
I never want to hold them back from anything they want to do. I want them to experience the world and everything that it can offer them from our own backdoor to the other side of the globe. I want them to know they can open themselves to amazing opportunities when they follow their heart and that I will never stand in their way, even if it means not entirely agreeing with their choices. I want them to experience, take chances, fail, be scared, laugh uncontrollably, cry, be thrilled and encounter every possible emotion.
So even though I didn’t backpack around the world during my gap year, I have still learned a valuable life lesson. Don’t you think?
What do you see when you glance in your rear view mirror?