The saddest words in English Language are – “I should have….”
The novel ‘War and Peace’ by Leo Tolstoy has a character called Ian. Ian is old and he is dying. On his deathbed this is what Ian says to himself
“What if my whole life has been wrong? What if all I did was live by the rules – others wanted me to live by? What if those rare flashes of inspiration – which lasted only a few seconds and which I let pass as something abnormal – were the real thing? What if I never did what was really important to me? What if all the happiness I felt was only incidental – not created? What if the happiness I felt could have been deeper, richer and more intense? What if I never really asked myself what was important and never figured it out? What if… what if my whole life has been wrong?”
In the twilight of life, it is not what you did that bothers you – it is what you didn’t do, what you could have done – that gnaws at your soul.
In old age, with so little left in the future and so much there in the past, you will come back and live your life all over again. A life that is being created now, as you read this message. Try and make it a life, you can look back on and tell your grandchildren about, and laugh silently at the looks of admiration in their eyes.
Because the alternative is grow into a cynical, bitter old person where you will choose to make your existence mundane, routine and uneventful while the wait for inevitable death continues.
Remember, we do grow old and die, you know.