One day I might be 100 years old. I might be lying in my future bed, waiting for someone to come and open the curtains and let in some light. I might wish I could still walk around without help. I might know that I've become a messy eater but lack the ability to fully control my fingers. I might wonder where my ageing children are. I might only vaguely remember the sounds of my parents' voices. I might not know whether my old friends are still alive, and be fairly certain that I will never see them again. I might not be able to remember all the places I once lived.
I might look back on my life and think, "well, that went fast". As I lie there, 100 years old and waiting, I might remember days gone by. I might have some regrets.
But I am fairly certain that I will not have any of these thoughts:
(1) I wish I'd spent more time cleaning the bathroom.
(2) I wish I'd always behaved as people expected me to.
(3) I wish I hadn't spent so much time with my kids when they were little.
(4) I wish I hadn't bothered to exercise or eat well.
(5) I wish I hadn't bothered going to any foreign countries.
(6) I wish I had worked more and had less fun.
(7) I wish my house had always been tidy, with all the ironing done.
(8) I wish I hadn't made any friends.
(9) I wish I hadn't laughed so much.
(10) I wish I hadn't written those books - proof that I once lived, learnt, tried and saw amazing things. Proof that I listened, had feelings, I loved, lost, laughed and wept. Proof that I was out there once, engaging with the world.
* * * * * * * *
Surely, many of the things that seem important to me now - and occupy so much of my thinking time - will seem completely insignificant in the future. Surely I should spend more time having fun? Surely I should be doing more good? Surely I should stop fretting about stupid things that don't really matter?