A few years ago, I decided:
“I want to be the woman with the stories, not the regrets.”
When I’m a very old lady on my deathbed, sipping my hot tea with honey, lemon (and maybe a splash of whiskey), I want to look back on my life and think, “Well THAT was fun ride! Hell yes!”
I don’t want to look back and think, “Oh. Hmm. There’s a lot I wish I had done…”
I want to collect the stories, the memories, the moments, the experiences, the full range of emotions—like sparkling gems, each one a little treasure. I want everyday life to feel like an adventure, an exciting story that’s always in progress.
Some of my favorite stories, so far:
– When my daughter was heartbroken after her first break-up, and I told her, “Pack your suitcase. We’re flying to New York City for the weekend.” And then we actually did it.
– When I saw a wild piece of artwork—a neon light fixture that says FUCK—and I decided, “Yup. That’s definitely going into my office TODAY.”
– When I decided to clear out all my old, sad, tired, frumpy “mom clothes” and reinvent my entire wardrobe, signaling a new chapter in my life. Goodbye, Lands’ End catalog. Hello, leather pants.
– When I went to Washington DC to participate in the Women’s March so that I could be part of history—and so my grandkids would have a photo of Grandma Susan wearing a pink pussy hat.
– When I took a big emotional risk and signed up for a writing class that was being taught by one of my all-time heroes. This meant she would be reading—and critiquing—my writing. GULP.
– When I spent one month living in Thailand with my son Ryan. He did Muay Thai every day. I met Thai villagers who possessed literally nothing and who understood the true meaning of happiness.
– When I surprised my sister by showing up at her doorstep on Thanksgiving—with my entire family in tow. It was hellish to get there—so many delays, so much drama, terrible weather—but the look on her face made everything worth it.
And what about you? What are your favorite stories, so far? What are the stories you want to create next?
A great story doesn’t necessarily have to involve international travel or new clothes or making a big, dramatic decision. A great story can be, “This one time, I woke up my wife at 2am so we could go outside and watch the meteor shower.” Or it can be, “I’ll never forget how it felt to play hooky from work that one day, sneak my kids out of school, and head to the beach on the most perfect summer afternoon. Just because.”
Create the life of your dreams. Cast yourself as the main character in that movie.
Be the person with the stories, not the regrets.
And the next time a friend texts you to say, “I know this is crazy and last-minute, but would you like to fly to Los Angeles on Monday? Because I’m throwing myself a 50th birthday party and I saved you a seat at the table…”
Don’t say, “Oh, I wish I could.”
Say, “Hell yes.”