“Don’t Ever Give Yourself The Chance For Regret”
4 minute read
I had the most amazing drive to work this morning.
I’d woken up to blazing sunshine, had a shower and got changed. Downstairs I ate breakfast as the sun poured in through the blinds, the reflections of light casting horizontal lines across the dining room wall.
I stepped out into my garden and drank coffee under perfect blue skies, in that unmistakable early morning warmth, the type that makes you feel like you’re glowing. And all I could hear was the enthusiastic melody of bird song.
And then I went out to my car and chose the music for my drive to work, settling upon a compilation of mellow tunes that I’d created for my road trip to America back in 2013. I put on my sunglasses, put the car into gear, and then set off.
As I drove out of my village and the houses gave way to open countryside, I drove along a picturesque stretch that I pass through each day. Winding country roads, inviting hiking trails, and a beautiful mixture of trees that cover the lush green hillsides.
And then there are the two donkeys that inhabit one of the fields that I always look out for, and today they were both laying in the grass underneath an old oak tree.
When I hit the main A-road and settled into the journey, the sun was to my right, warming my face. And as Bruce Springsteen sang about being in Maria’s Bed, I realised that it was a morning in which I’d not been distracted by thoughts. I wasn’t thinking about the past and I wasn’t worrying about the future. All that had mattered was enjoying every moment of this most perfect morning.
But as the drive continued, the music began to stir up a number of wonderful memories for me. And I was now happy to let my mind begin to wander as I got thinking about that 2013 road trip.
It was a trip that almost didn’t happen, and it was one that was originally intended to be something different altogether.
In the beginning there was supposed to be a large group of us travelling to Las Vegas to celebrate a bunch of 30th birthdays over three days. I was the first to book my flights, and I’d figured that if I was travelling all that way then I’d make it an extended trip. Three days became three weeks, and I’d have the freedom of America’s open roads to myself before meeting up with my friends in Vegas for the big blowout.
Unfortunately though, and to cut a long story short, the other people never booked their flights and the intended Vegas trip fell apart. But I still had my flight tickets, and there was no way I was going to miss out. So despite feeling painfully disappointed and somewhat let down, I began planning my itinerary.
With only a few weeks left to go until departure, it was set to be another trip as a solo traveller.
But then I went to the pub with two friends.
I don’t even remember how the conversation went exactly, but I do know that it involved beer and me venting to Kev and Col about what had happened. This somehow led us onto talking about taking the trip together, but with the quantity of beer that had been drank and the short period of time leading up to departure, I admit to not taking the discussion all that seriously.
And so when the conversation continued over text and through sober minds the following day, a new plan slowly came into place.
Very often there can be an element of uncertainty about some of the decisions we make, some degree of doubt, but every so often we’re gifted with a set of circumstances that seem like it was just meant to be. And then all it takes is for those involved to take the plunge and to commit.
Despite the short notice and the expense that would be involved, quite simply, we just said fuck it.
Soon afterwards, the three of us set off for Gatwick airport.
The three weeks that we ended up spending together in America were amongst some of my very best memories. As we took in a journey that covered a few thousand miles that started and ended in Denver, Colorado; we had myriad adventures throughout Colorado itself, as well as Arizona, Utah, and Nevada.
We drank beers from the local brewery in Estes Park, dangled our feet in waterfalls, and drove along perilous mountain paths in the Rocky Mountains. We rode cable cars, hung out of car windows, and created comical freeze-frame photos. We went to local movie theatres, discovered old ghost towns, and stayed in log cabins. And we got drunk in Vegas, gambled in Vegas, and what happened in Vegas, stayed in Vegas.
I remember mountainous forests of silver birch, dramatic rock faces, and the flow of the Arkansas River. There was Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, and Zion National Park. There was Monument Valley, Route 66, and the Million Dollar Highway.
We got battered by hail stones, got soaked by rain storms, and had adrenaline pumping through our veins. And we fled raging storms and flood water as Colorado descended into a state of emergency.
And then there was ‘that’ night when we tactically fled from a bar because we weren’t from around here. You could almost hear the banjos playing.
And that’s only scratching the surface.
But what mattered above all else was the three of us, away together, at a time when our lives were ripe for such adventure. And just like on my perfect drive to work today, while we were there, we were there, in the present, not thinking about home. We’d seized the moment and we’d not let opportunity pass us by.
And I’m so glad that we did, because since then our lives have changed dramatically. To put it simply, if we hadn’t have done this in 2013, we wouldn’t have done it at all.
Sometimes you have to embrace opportunities that are there, while they’re there, because take one blink and the opportunity may be gone. Don’t ever give yourself the chance for regret.
There will always be things in our lives that we miss out on, but the things that will keep you awake at night are the things you wouldn’t have missed out on, if only you’d taken the chance.
Each and every moment is to be cherished. It is so easy to fail to see what’s right there before us because we’re lost in thought. Maybe we’re thinking about the past, or maybe we’re trying to predict the future, but all that we ever really have is what is here, right now.
So whether we’re talking about your career, love life, setting off on an adventure, or the chance to drink your coffee in the early morning sun, don’t ever let those opportunities pass you by.
Because you just never know when the weather may change.
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