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Fear And Regret

Lately I have been thinking a lot about fear and regret.  Perhaps this is the result of writing about David Brooks’ “Life Reports” and thinking about how to build a life that I will look back on with pride rather than regret.

As I read these reports, many contain the same theme:  regret felt late in life because of risks not taken early in life.  Fear holds back so many of us from pursuing our dreams, whether personal or professional.  It is only later in life, when the fear of embarrassment or failure is replaced by a confrontation with ones own mortality that a true and accurate perspective is attained.  From the vantage point of old age all of those little fears that seemed so big at the time must appear trivial and regret replaces fear as we realize we can’t go back and confront those fears again.

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The Life Reports

David Brooks, columnist for the New York Times, is undertaking a project he calls “Life Reports.”  In late October, Brooks asked his readers over 70 years old to write reports about their lives, focusing on career, family, faith, community, and self-knowledge and then to give themselves a grade in each area.  Since then he has been publishing some of the reports on his blog and has written several follow-up columns about the project.

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Being Thankful

On Thanksgiving it is traditional to list the things for which one is most thankful. But as I think about those things, what strikes me most is how lucky I am. Lucky to be born of caring, supportive parents, lucky to be born in a part of the world that is economically and politically stable, lucky to be afforded an education before I was old enough to appreciate the value of an education.

Each of us can be proud of our accomplishments and our relationships, the things we have worked hardest for in our lives.  But this Thanksgiving it seems appropriate to also honor luck and the role it plays in providing the circumstances we need to find success.

Today at the dinner table I will toast my good luck.  Then I will hug my family, tell them how much I love them, and call all my friends and thank them for being a part of my life.

Here’s to good luck!

Happy Thanksgiving.

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