As I Stand Idly By

Sometimes I take a moment and reflect on my past and wonder how I got to where I am today. Where I am today is not where I want to be tomorrow. I am not in a bad place now, but could it be better?

I want to live my life so that my nights are not full of regrets. –David Herbert Lawrence

What are the things I regret the most as I look back upon my past? I would like to say it was just isolated incidences of making wrong choices, such as a moment of weakness or indecision that has always haunted me. Of course, those things have happened, but what I regret the most is the all the seemingly insignificant actions that led to those bigger mistakes. There were careless decisions I made that didn’t seem important at the time. But one decision leads to another, and eventually I found myself on a road that I didn’t intend to travel. What happens when you go down the wrong road? You are not where you are supposed to be. You are wasting time either trying to find a new route or backtracking back to the straight and narrow. Have you ever read John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress? It is a book that I am always thinking of. All the temptations are trying to pull you off the road. They don’t want you to reach your destination.

I look back on all the time I have wasted. Not the time lost backtracking, but the time I so carelessly threw away. I remember the days I didn’t have any plans and so I slept in. I watched a little television or played a few video games until a little became the whole day. At the end of the day, I told myself I would do better. The next day, I would do it all over again. I didn’t have much discipline then, and I was too blind and too young to care enough to change. It is sad when you don’t appreciate the precious little time we are given. Often it is not appreciated until you are old and wondering where the time has gone.

Live each day as it were the last day of your life because, so far, it is. –Richard John Colangelo

The regrets I contemplate are a reminder. They are also my biggest fear. I am on the road I want to be on, which means all my decisions, even the seemingly insignificant ones, are important. My fear is that I slide again into complacency justifying the occasional bad decision. If I allow even one, could it lead to more?

It is the complacency that I fear the most, the fear that I could once again take that small detour and then blindly cruise down a road farther and farther away from my destination. All it takes is settling into mediocrity. All it takes is choosing to idly stand by and not live life to the fullest each and every day.

It is disgraceful, instead of proceeding ahead, to be carried along, and then suddenly, amid the whirlpool of events, to ask in a dazed way: “How did I get into this condition?” –Seneca’s Letter #37: On Allegiance to Virtue

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