This is a preview to the chapter Regrets from the book Should I Stay or Should I Go? by Paul Allen.
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So we’ve gone through the major pros and cons of moving abroad. By now you should be in a position to weigh up your choices: should you stay, or should you go?
But there is just one final factor I’d like you to consider: the future.
Imagine yourself at 90 years old, near the end of your life and looking back. In your mind’s eye you see all the things you have and have done: your skills and accomplishments, the achievements in your career, the places you’ve seen, the experiences you’ve had, your family, and the life path they’re on.
What does this vision look like? Is it full of wonderful memories, excitement, adventure, joy, love, growth, challenges braved and overcome? Is it a life of which you are proud?
Or does it feel unfulfilled? Is it dull and lifeless, constricted, like a balloon only half-inflated?
Are you looking back thinking, “I wish I’d done that differently”? Or “I wish I’d taken that risk”?
Are you full of regrets for the life you wished you’d had, the life you know yours could have been if you’d only had a bit more courage?
It is this thought that impelled Chris Jones to accept the offer of a job transfer to New York: “What finally swung it was the greater fear of missing an opportunity and passing it by with huge regret,” he says. “It was too good to miss. If you don’t try these things you can spend your life wondering ‘what if?’”
The last conversation I had with my father, before he died of a heart attack the following weekend, we talked about regrets. He’d retired, had some money in the bank, and after a lifetime of hard graft was finally getting to do the things he wanted – to play golf a couple of times a week, go to concerts, travel, have the financial wherewithal to help his sons out if we ever needed it. His only regret though was that he’d not been able to do these things earlier.
That final conversation reminded me that life really is short. You hear it all the time, so much so that it’s become a cliché. But it’s true nonetheless. It just never properly hit me until then. And it’s full of surprises. One day I was chatting with my Dad as we strolled down the sunlit fairways, and five days later I was crying over him as he lay on a hospital trolley.
and all the others, when you
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