Nadine Stair, an 85-year-old woman from Kentucky, was asked “How would you have lived your life differently if you had a chance?” Her response became an instant classic. She said,
“If I had my life to live over again,
I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.
I’d limber up.
I’d be sillier than I’ve been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances,
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would, perhaps, have more actual troubles but fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I’m one of those people who was sensible and sane,
hour after hour, day after day.
Oh, I’ve had my moments.
If I had to do it over again,
I’d have more of them.
In fact, I’d try to have nothing else – just moments,
one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.
I’ve been one of those people who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat, and a parachute.
If I could do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.
If I had to live my life over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances,
I would ride more merry-go-rounds,
I would pick more daisies.”
– Nadine Stair
As I read Nadine’s response, I couldn’t help but wonder how I would answer that question at the end of my life. Certainly she offers great insight at 85 years old. But then I thought, why wait…
Rather than looking back on the entirety of my life wondering what I wished I’d done differently, with no time left to make any changes, why not look back each year and ask the same question, “If I had last year to live over again, what would I do different?” What about last month? Last week? Yesterday?
Every day we have the opportunity to look back and learn, so we can live tomorrow differently, better than the days that came before. If you had the last week to live over again, what would you do different? Perhaps you can do it differently today.