I Don’t Have Time For Regrets

By the time this post hits the Inter-Web, I will be 34. People keep asking if I’m concerned about turning 34. I find that every year when a birthday approaches, people tend to crawl out of the woodwork wondering if you’re going to flip your shit and ball up under your desk. Seriously? It’s 34, not 104.

When I first sat down to write this post, I thought it was going to be a reflection of the top lessons I’ve learned in the past year of my life. What did being 33 teach me? But as I started to type, I realized lessons can sometimes have a negative connotation. Lessons can be construed as regrets and I have come to realize, in my 33 years and 11 months, that I don’t have time for regrets. But 33 did help me put some items into perspective, focused me a bit more, and those little pearls of wisdom I do want to share with you.

Always say I love you.

This sounds so simple but honestly I’ve seen in the past year how hard it can be for some people. I say I love you alot. I admit it, I’m a lover. But I truly want people to have no doubt in their minds how I feel about them. I talk to my Gram probably once a week on FaceTime, far less than I should, but we do text and email in between. She’s 81. Do I think she’s going anywhere? Not anytime soon – she’s got too much left to do, but having been through the agony of losing a grandmother once already, I know she is going to leave me someday. I always, always, always tell my Gram how much I love her. If she were to pass away tomorrow, there wouldn’t be a question in her mind of how I feel about her. Don’t wait for a major holiday, a birthday, or anniversary to tell someone you love them. Do it on any day that ends in Y.

Push yourself to do things that terrify you.

One random Saturday over the summer, we took a road trip to an amusement park a few hours away. After getting back into the roller coaster groove, we decided to take on the new free fall tower. Standing at 189 feet high, this tower rockets riders to the top before blasting back to the bottom at 45 miles per hour. As I stood in line, I had to have my back to the tower, I couldn’t even look at all – I didn’t need to, I could hear the screams. It’s hard to recall a time when I’ve been more terrified. But I did it. I’ll probably never do it again. But I faced what terrified me and I pushed myself to do it. Terror is completely subjective. That free fall tower was my terror. Yours may look much different but no matter what, don’t let it control you.

Understand the worth in your life.

I’m afraid I’m going to lose my life hostage. Each and every day I live with that fear. It’s not crippling by any means but it does tell me I have something special, something that I know the immeasurable worth of. Worth is not in the designer handbag you carry, the newest iPhone that goes in your pocket, or the sweet Nikes on your feet. They’re things. Items. If you lose them tomorrow you’ll be disappointed and likely upset. But what if you lost your best friend tomorrow? They have a worth that can’t be replaced in any shopping mall. Know that, understand that, and appreciate it for everything it is.

All in all, I have to say 33 was not a bad year. Ironically, the people who I always secretly, out loud, judged for saying things like, “I’m a much different person at 33 than I was at 32.” are not wrong. For the first time in my life, I do feel different with this passing year. Let’s see what I have left to accomplish at the ancient age of 34. Insert exaggerated eye roll.

Rachel Olszewski

A hot mess held together on a daily basis by dry shampoo and probiotics, Rachel is still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up but for now is a communications professional by trade. A true Chicagoan through and through, she is an East Coast transplant trying to set down roots. Although the height of her high heels may be getting shorter, Rachel’s expectations are not getting lower and she is on a mission to change the world one person at a time.

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