Live life to the fullest - with no regrets
I read an article while on vacation this summer that struck a chord with me. It was about how to stop letting feelings of self consciousness stop you from trying new things. How when you look back at events in your life itís not the things that you did badly and perhaps feel embarrassed about that you regret most, itís the things that you were too scared to try at all that stick in your mind.
That resonated with me because Iíve come to that conclusion on my own over the years. I took three semesters of Spanish when I was in college, just because I wanted to. After three semesters, a student was eligible to go to Spain for a semester and live with a Spanish family and attend school at a Spanish university. By the time I qualified for that program I was just about to graduate myself. I decided to go ahead and graduate Ė not because I was so motivated to get started on life, but because I was too scared to go to Spain. What if I couldnít handle it? What if I did badly in school? Itís been more than a few years since I made that decision but Iíve always regretted that missed opportunity.
When my husband told me that he had a job offer in another country I wasnít exactly thrilled, but in the end I decided that I didnít want to let fear of the unknown hold me back. While I could always come home if it turned out that I didnít like our new location, I probably wouldnít be able to recapture that missed opportunity. There have been times that living abroad has been challenging and even trying but I can say that Iíve never regretted the decision to go.
Of course trying new things can be easier to do when you are on vacation Ė in a new place amongst people you might never see again and confronted with opportunities that might not come along again every day. These sorts of circumstances and thinking processes have gotten me to try a variety of things: boogie boarding in a very cold Atlantic Ocean, jumping off a platform into (a very cold) natural spring, riding a camel, partaking in a ďhappy herbĒ pizza in Cambodia, and taking a train into Amsterdam with two small children and no map on a long airport layover. Some things have turned out better than others (Iíll tell you about that pizza another time), but the older I get the more Iím all about seizing the day.
Thatís sort of the motto of Summer Donahue in my new book ONE CRAZY SUMMER. Sheís not happy when she finds out that her accountant has embezzled money from her jewelry store and run off to Mexico, but she doesnít let it distract her from enjoying herself while sheís on his trail in Cozumel. Or from Ben Martinez, her new hunky accountant , who has come along to help her sort her business troubles out.
I wrote ONE CRAZY SUMMER before I had consciously embraced my new credo and before I had ever traveled anywhere to speak of. When I created Summer, I was living through her, doing some of the things that I wished I had the courage to do myself. Iíd like to think that in exploring her character and her story that I learned a thing or two about joie de vivre and how to enjoy myself in my own life. Iím still not as carefree as Summer, but these days Iím less likely to let worrying about what others think of me hold me back.
So go on Ė live a little. If you need a role model, take a peek at ONE CRAZY SUMMER when it comes out on September 6th and let Summer give you an example or two