Occasionally, we wake up to the many years we wasted in selfish and empty pursuits. And we’re now filled with regret realizing how much our life could be different today. While there’s a good grief here, we must not get stuck merely lamenting past regrets.

It’s been said the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. And the second best time is today.

We might rightly look back over our story and realize there are many things we should’ve started years ago.

How would our life be different if 20, 10, or even 5 years ago we intentionally invested in our friendships, managing our finances, growing spiritually and the like?

How much could we’ve improved our marriage, deepen our sexuality, fostered our relationship with our children, and bettered our communities with even just a year or two of intentional work?

While it’s true if we had started these things years ago we’d be much farther along today. But we didn’t.

And there might be a place for righteous anger and deep regrets. But at some point we must consider our next best choice.

And like the old proverb, the next best day to plant a tree is today.

Today we can start investing in our relationships and doing the work that matters. Today we can start growing into the best version of ourselves.

It doesn’t do us any good to continue being hard on ourselves for not doing it before.

This only sets us up for more regrets, and 20 years from now we’re still complaining about how things could’ve been different.

We overcome regrets by choosing to plant the tree today.

Accept the missed opportunities of the past. But don’t live here.

Choose to take a meaningful step toward better today.

Photo by Jed Owen on Unsplash

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