As my husband and I land more fully in beautiful Colorado, it’s given me much to pause and reflect upon. Specifically what I’ve been thinking a lot about is regret. I would guess there are very few of us who have no regrets, but what I’m realizing is that from here on out, for me life is about minimizing regrets.

A popular saying is that we regret what we did not do rather than what we did do. I am finding this to be very true in my own life.

Several months ago, before I even had an inkling as to how soon I would be moving away from Iowa, I sat with my 91-year-old grandmother for lunch and a chat. When I told her that we were thinking about moving, and that more than likely it would be to Colorado, she got a bit sentimental. She had lived in the Denver area briefly when my grandfather was stationed there and reminisced about how beautiful it was there, how much she had loved living there.

She then went on to tell me about how when she had been a snow bird and lived Arizona during the winters it was one of her favorite places she had lived. She wished she would have moved to Arizona or Colorado full time after my grandfather had passed away, when she was finally free to do so. “But that’s what we Kooglers [my maiden name] do,” she went on. “We come back to Iowa because we’re supposed to and then we die. That’s the way it is, I guess.”

It felt like a smack in the face to me. I could feel the regret oozing from her. The desire to live where she actually wanted to never being fulfilled. Always following her husband, wherever he might take her, and willingly accepting it because that’s what a good wife does. And then staying in Iowa even when she was finally free to leave, because that’s what the family meme dictates is best.

All I could think was, “Wow, I sure don’t want to be like that when I’m at the end of my life.”

Yet, I could see how I had been completely and totally on the same path as my grandma – staying in Iowa because my husband wanted to, completely ignoring what I wanted because good Kooglers come back to and stay in Iowa. It’s a wholesome and good place to live – on paper anyway.

And I could feel all the times my parents had called me an ungrateful child for putting up such a fight with them when I was 10 (and beyond) about moving from Colorado back to Iowa come forward. How I had been shamed into obedience and thus made to believe that Iowa was a good place for me to be, which it definitely was not.

As I drove the 90 minutes home from my grandma’s house that day, I made a resolve – no more fucking regrets – NONE. I have two major regrets in this life. Both of them due to me not listening to my intuition, both of them could have been avoided if I’d only listened to my own inner knowing and spoken up and said what I needed to say.

And what I knew as I drove home that day was that I would regret it for the rest of my life if I stayed in Iowa. I would regret it for the rest of my life if I listened to what my family thought was best for me and didn’t listen to my own intuition.

So if life is about minimizing regrets I have to say “fuck that” to all the shoulds and follow my own inner knowing instead. It’s the only guidance I’ve ever received that didn’t lead me astray.

So that’s exactly what I did. And frankly, I’ve never been happier in my life than I am right now.

How about you? How are you minimizing regrets in your own life? Tell me about in the comments below.

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