What Would You Change?

We all have a timeline and it seems like such a shame to waste it on procrastinating, holding grudges or letting insecurities get in the way.

I think the worst mistake we can make is thinking that we still have time. Our lives can change so quickly and unexpectedly ~ and the time we think we have is ticking away.

A few weeks ago, I was driving home from work and decided to stop at a favorite “specialty” grocery store and pick up a few items I don’t find at my “usual” grocery store. New next-door neighbors have recently moved in and I wanted to buy a “welcome to the neighborhood” treat to give them when my husband and I go over to introduce ourselves.

After purchasing something I hoped they would enjoy, I began my drive home. Since it was a gorgeous day I decided to drive a more scenic and relaxing route that runs parallel to the lake, so I could enjoy the beautiful views. I felt happy, relaxed and looking forward to getting home.


All of a sudden, I experienced very rapid heartbeats with one strong beat in particular that felt like a definite misfire.  I immediately realized I had shortness of breath (which I had never experienced before) and I felt like I was going to pass out  – the episode continued for several minutes.  During this time, I gripped the steering wheel and prayed that I would not hurt anyone by losing control of my car as I tried in vain to find a place I could pull off.  I kept telling myself “it’s okay, you’re fine, it’s okay, you’re fine” over and over all while fighting the urge to give into the light-headed feeling.  After a little while the palpitations returned to normal and my breathing became more regular. This has happened to me off and on all of my adult life with no identifiable triggers, but never ever, not ever with this intensity. All I could think of was I just wanted to get home!

Update: I went to my doctor who referred me to a cardiologist. Long story short the EKG as well as the more advanced echocardiogram plus the treadmill stress test indicated nothing was abnormal nor any indication of heart disease. I am so thankful!

This experience (although blessedly minor) has been a real eye opener for me and as fate would have it I ran across If I Had My Life to Live Over written by one of my favorite authors, Erma Bombeck.  She wrote it after she found out she had a fatal disease.  If you have not read it, please take a minute to skim it.

Erma’s heartfelt words remind us that life is short as she expresses what was or should have been important in her life.  For some of us the wake-up call comes when an illness hits, a relationship ends, or when you begin to realize your immortality.  These events can force us to slow down and stop to really feel the warmth of the sunshine, deeply inhale the sweet smell of fresh cut grass, gaze at the beauty of the wind as it slowly dances among the leaves or really listen to the sound of your children’s laughter. It is not often we allow ourselves the luxury of being fully present for our precious moments.

This is it.  This day.  This moment is really all you have for certain ~ your one precious life.

I have spent way too much time and energy worrying about things that did not turn out nearly as badly as I thought they would.  If you had your life to live over, what would you change?

“If I had my life to live over again, I’d dare to make more mistakes next time. I’d relax. I’d limber up. I’d be sillier than I’ve been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances, I would eat more ice cream and less beans. If I had to live my life over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances, I would ride more merry-go-rounds, I would pick more daisies.”  Nadine Stair

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