As the old adage goes: hindsight is 20/20. I’m sure that we have all wished at some point that we could turn back time. That we could somehow get a ‘do over’. That we could have done or said something differently and therefore avoid regret. But we don’t get ‘do overs’. What we do get, however, is experience.
These words suggest that instead of longing to change the past, I can use the experience and lessons from my mistakes and shortcomings to inform my decisions, intentions, and responses in the future.
As the year continues and I reflect on what I want for myself and for my life this year, I can’t help but think about how I want my hindsight to shape my foresight. I want the lessons from my past to inform my vision for the future.
And so I make this resolution list. Not a list, as in years gone by, where I set goals to be done. Time has taught me that I have enough to ‘do’ and that I need not commit myself to short term accomplishments in order to add value to my life.
Rather, this list contains a visual of who I want to ‘be’ this year, and of the lessons I want to implement in my life one day at a time and in the coming years.
In this, my vision for 2020, I want:
1. To do less and to be more.
I’ve had enough of the fast-paced life accompanying an over-extended schedule. Unfortunately, we can spend so much time ‘doing’ that we don’t leave enough opportunity in our lives for ‘being’. Experience has taught me that a to-do list doesn’t have to be long in order for it to be important. And so I purpose to create margin in my life by creating pockets of time within which I can allow myself to simply be, without having anything else to do.
2. To know my worth, regardless of what I ‘do’.
Of course, intentionally creating space so that I can ‘be’ doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that need to be done. But, I have learned that, regardless of any external trappings of success, my worth is intrinsic, and has nothing to do with my work. Success has little to do with work and productivity. Success is measured by the positive impact that we leave in others, just by being our very real, albeit sometimes broken, selves.
3. To be more forgiving, both of myself and of others.
Even as disappointments come, and they will, time has taught me not to dwell on a wrong. The bitterness that comes with unforgiveness is something that we can all do without. And so I will endeavor to forgive others, and, more importantly, to forgive myself, because in both instances I am deserving of peace.
4. To be less critical, both of myself and of others.
I’m learning to cut myself some slack. It’s not easy being a perfectionist in an imperfect world. I like to think that perfection can be attained, but the truth is, it is an illusion. We are all fighting a battle. We all have failings and shortcomings. But these failures don’t define us. Instead of being so hard on myself and on others, I can choose to see the effort which was made, and to accept best effort as enough.
5. To be more present.
After many years of being close in body but far away in thought, I have learned that giving myself fully to each moment is the only way to find true fulfillment. And so, if I am at work, I resolve not to wish that I was somewhere else, doing something else. And when I am with the ones that I love I resolve to be fully there. To leave my worries where they belong, and to show up exactly where I am.
6. To scroll less and to stroll more.
What is a resolution list without a bit of exercise? I have come to believe that seeking intention in every area of life has made me more aware of my body and of the importance of self-care. Self-care is not selfish, it is necessary. Thankfully, self-care requires little more than a casual and consistent stroll. In years gone by, I thought that I didn’t have the time for a walk outside. But I see now that the time spent attached to my device is much better invested by immersing myself in the sights and sounds that abound right outside my window.
7. To seek passion.
It’s easy to lose ourselves in the everyday humdrum of life. After all, we have expenses to meet and responsibilities to tend to. But that doesn’t mean that life must become clinical. We are deserving of passion. We are deserving of fun. I used to think that I had to work overtime in order to afford a grand escape every now and then. But I see now that lending myself in little ways to the things that make me feel alive in turn creates a life that I feel no need to escape from.
8. To pursue happiness.
Is it possible to be happy all of the time? Probably not. Is it possible to be miserable all of the time? Absolutely. And so I will choose to pursue happiness over and over again, knowing that even though life is full of disappointments, I am not destined to live a disappointing life.
9. To leave a legacy of love.
It is only natural to work in such a way so that we can leave something tangible for the people that we love. This is called a legacy. But what if we lived our lives with the intent to leave something in the people around us? To leave in people a reminder that love has the capacity to break boundaries and to mend spirits.
I have learned through the passing of loved ones that if the only thing that can be said of me after I am gone is that I loved without bounds and conditions, and that I have encouraged others to do the same, then I would have left the greatest legacy of all.
Learning from my past doesn’t mean that I won’t make new mistakes. It doesn’t even mean that I won’t repeat the same mistakes. But with hindsight as my guide, I am better equipped to see my way more clearly, and to boldly step into the vision that I have for myself and for my life.
About the Author: Hailing from a small island in the Caribbean, Angelina Lee is a wife, mother of three and Attorney-at-Law. After her Plan A life left her wanting more, she is exploring her Plan Be in which she tries to live more intentionally.