Are You Living A Life Of No Regrets?

I was living in Boston on 9/11. You may recall that both of the planes that hit the World Trade Center originated there. In the days and months that followed, I became panic-stricken every time I heard an airplane overhead. I was extremely suspicious and paranoid of everyone everywhere.


One month after the attacks, my husband (then boyfriend) took me to a restaurant at the top of the Prudential Center for my birthday. Although I tried desperately to enjoy myself, I felt completely detached from my own body. At times, my anxiety was so intense I literally thought that I was dying.


On Thanksgiving, I took Ativan before boarding a plane to visit Gavin’s family for the first time. I was so drowsy — all I remember is being introduced to them and then excusing myself to go lie down. Fortunately, I was able to make up for that first impression later.


I honestly don’t know how I would be functioning right now if I was still living in Boston, especially with two young children. The sound of sirens and helicopters kept my friends awake last Thursday evening. Children woke up on Friday to the news that school had been cancelled and in their innocence, ran to their windows looking for snow. Hopefully, parents had enough good sense to shield them from the media and limit their own exposure as well. The media always has a way of making it seem as though hatred and suffering in the world outweigh the good.


When something like the Boston bombing or the Newtown shooting or any disaster happens – the everyday “dramas” in my own life suddenly seem so insignificant and petty. I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for everything in my life and guilt for taking it all for granted. It’s humbling to think about the people in this world for whom “lockdown” is a regular way of life, for whom freedom, privacy, and security are not assumed, and for whom living in a constant state of fear is familiar.

no regrets


I ask myself: What if (Heaven forbid) something were to happen to me or someone in my family tomorrow? Would I be able to say I lived with no regrets?


I want to live so that I can look back on my life and say (as my father’s mother did), “I have no regrets.”




I don’t want to say:

  • I wish I had spent more time with my kids and less time doing work.
  • I wish I had spent more time looking into my children’s eyes and less time looking at my phone.
  • I wish I had focused more on what my kids did well, rather than judging and criticizing them for their shortcomings.
  • I wish I had nurtured and prioritized my relationship with my husband more.
  • I wish I had really listened to my kids when they said they were hurting, rather than feeling annoyed and inconvenienced by their crying and whining.
  • I wish I had told my kids and husband how much I loved them more often.
  • I wish I hadn’t yelled so much.


I want to be remembered by my children and husband as someone who made them feel treasured, important, appreciated, and absolutely adored. I don’t want there to be a shred of doubt that I loved them and accepted them for exactly who they are.


Unfortunately, it’s not always so easy. I’ve got to put aside my ego – that part of me that wants to be “right” and in control…the part of me that complains about what “isn’t”, rather than accepting and appreciating what “is”…the part of me that feeds on the negativity of others and gets sucked into their drama.


I started this blog exactly five months ago with a post about gratitude. I mentioned that I wanted to start up the ritual of writing in a gratitude journal with Marissa again and we finally did…last week. It feels good to bring gratefulness back into our daily lives. As I mentioned here, what we focus on expands.


In the comments below, I challenge you to answer the following 3 questions.

1. Are you living your life in a way that you can look back and say, “I have no regrets?” If not, what do you need to start doing differently?

2. What do you want to be remembered for?

3. What are you grateful for?


Try to be as specific as possible. Sharing your comments with others makes it more likely that you will take action and can help others in this community as well.


As always, thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends!



Showing 2 comments
  • Laura

    So true, Pam! Thanks for posting… My mission is 2013 has been to reassess myself and get my ‘things’ in order… Major life events take place and sometimes bring the rest all into perspective. I know for myself, I have been able really step back and figure out how I want to be remembered… I have been writing a lot about this very topic… What kind of legacy do I want to leave? How do I want to be remembered… sometimes these horrible tragedies remind us that life’s little ‘annoyances’ aren’t so bad after all… Working to focus on the positive and give thanks for what matters most…

    • Pam Howard

      Hi Laura! It’s great that you’re already thinking about this…you’ve totally piqued my curiosity now…what do you want to be remembered for? What are those little annoyances that aren’t so bad? And what matters most to you? I’d love it if you shared with us:)

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