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My Dad is almost 70 years old and plays cricket for Australia in the over 60’s team.
He recently came back from a cricket trip and Mum was telling me how well he still plays considering his age (shh..don’t tell him I’ve told you that). He plays against players who once wore the baggy greens many years ago in the Australian cricket side. They always comment on what a good player is now.
I asked Mum why Dad never played for Australia when he was younger. Mum said,
“Well, he didn’t really have anyone to guide him back then and as a result he never really saw the opportunities that were there for him.”
I wondered how my life would have been different had my father played for Australia when I was a young child. It made me stop and think about opportunities and regret and how this has been a huge part of my life over the past few years.
In 2007, I sat in my living room and wrote down some ideas about writing a book on how to travel the world, and having a blog and other websites to go along with it.
A massive door of opportunity opened up for me that day and I didn’t take it. I didn’t even try. I just thought, due to underlying fear and doubt, that I couldn’t do it. I closed the door on my dreams without even first researching to discover what I could do and how I could do it.
My excuse was that Lonely Planet had the market and how could I ever compete with that? Who would ever want to read my stories anyway?
I started to write the book, but it was more for me rather than for anyone else. I wrote it very sporadically and eventually stopped. I didn’t believe in myself. And so I went on with my life, growing more miserable by the day. I felt unfilled as I was not living my life on purpose.
The shit kept hitting the fan, until the one-day the Universe said
“Enough girl. Would you just goddam listen to me?” and cut off my Internet connection.
No one could explain what had happened to my computer, but I could not connect to the internet, which meant I could no longer waste time doing things that did not suit my purpose or lead me to my dream life.
With nothing else to do, I decided I might as well open up a word document and pick up where I left off a year ago on that travel book of mine.
During the time between 2007 at my kitchen table, and when the internet broke I had done a massive amount of work on myself.
I had spent two years looking deeply into who I was, what the experiences of my past meant, and who I wanted to be in the future.
I questioned, searched, discovered, and healed many scarred parts to me. I guess now I was ready to believe in myself. I walked confidently through the door. I started to see what I could do and finally began building what I dreamed in 2007.
When I look at the quick success we have had with y travel blog, and I think about how back then it was virtually an open playing field with no travel bloggers. I can see just where we could be sitting now.
I feel the sharp pain of regret. It slashes at my insides from my heart down to my stomach and I want to kick myself over and over again and hang my head in shame.
How could I have been so blind and stupid?
I think of all I lost in the process of discovering my purpose and believing in myself enough to just do it, and I want to cry.
Fear and insecurity stole nearly three years of my life. Three years I did not live well. Three years that I can never ever get back. And it’s all my fault.
Regret, my greatest emotional enemy, eats away at me. I hate knowing that I have missed opportunities, and that I have not made every moment count.
Look for the Rainbows
I’ve learned how to hold my head up now, in all times of crisis.
With your head down, you can’t see clearly what you need to do. And so in these moments, you must pick up your head and see what the purpose of those lost years were, when you closed the doors on opportunities that were made just for you and your dreams.
It is never too late.
The greatest tragedy would be if I never did it at all. Maybe in 2007, I just was not ready and if I started it may have gone all pear-shaped and I could have lost the dream completely. Everything truly does happen for a reason, and I am patiently waiting to discover what the reason for those lost years were.
And maybe my Dad wasn’t ready to play cricket for Australia, all those years ago, but now he is. Maybe the regret he suffered was there to teach him a lesson. The reward of his dream now made all the more sweeter by all those hard years of dreaming, and planning, and training.
The only thing I can take from this is that the sacrifices made, and the total commitment to improve myself for three years, means now I can offer so much more. And in that offering, reclaim ten times more than I lost. And that is what keeps me moving through those doors, believing it’s possible and knowing that I deserve it.
It’s better to close the door on regret and open it for the opportunities.
Close the door on fear and insecurity and just do it.
Sure you won’t know everything, and you’ll fail along the way – many times. But this is how we learn; this is how we progress and this is the only path that will take you to the achievements of your dreams.