It's not the destination but the journeyI skipped two grades as a child, and so for most of my life, I was always much younger than everyone else. So I always felt like I had to prove myself. And play "catch-up" to all the older kids.

Sadly, by forcing myself to charge ahead, I missed a lot in the process. And quite often, I wish I had just taken my time and enjoyed life before it passed me by in a blur.

I'm not quite sure why I rushed through everything, from starting college early to finishing college early, taking a full load of classes straight through every summer.

Then I started my internship a few weeks after I graduated, found a job before I was done, and then worked up through leaving for graduate school, which I finished quickly as well.

On one hand, I feel so fortunate to have been afforded so many opportunities as a young person, which led to much professional success.

But on the other, I look back now and wish I had taken my time a bit more. And had more fun.

Okay, A LOT more fun.

I certainly had my fair share of good times, in between classes and working and studying and doing all those things I was doing to try to finish everything early.

There were no spring break trips, however. No long summers spent traipsing through Europe, or working at the local pool as a lifeguard (the cushy, coveted job of my youth).

No "remember that one time, at band camp ..." stories to tell.

And now that summers are just like any other season, I long for the days when I could have partied a little harder, enjoyed myself a little more, and well, lived a little.

I can't rewind my life and add in moments of spontaneity or even a bit of reckless abandon, as much as I'd like to have those memories interspersed with the ones where my head is stuck in a book or taking a test.

But I can live that way now, even in the confines of my life as a working mom to four children. I could live in the past or take the lessons I've learned and apply them to my life as it is.

And I can encourage my children, within reason, to enjoy their lives. To slow down and take in their surroundings. To appreciate the journey along with the destination -- safely and wisely, of course. Here's hoping I don't eat my words later on when my children, all under 9, are teenagers.

Yes, I may be nearing 40, but there's still lots of fun to be had. Perhaps not as spontaneous or as reckless as I imagine I could have been long ago, but fun nonetheless.

Do you regret missing out on anything from your past?

 

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