If I Had My Life To Live Over Again

Nadine_StairWhen asked “How would you have lived your life differently if you had a chance?” Nadine Stair, an 85-year-old woman, from Louisville, Kentucky, provided these poetic words as her response…

If I had my life to live over again,
I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.
I’d relax.
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 persons 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

What beautiful words to ponder. What a sweet and sobering poem. It perfectly reflects the message passed down to me from from my elders when I worked in nursing homes in my early 20’s.

Those wonderful people, who were getting close to the end of their days, taught me so much about what really mattered in life. Their wisdom set me on the path to conscious living and for that I will be forever grateful to each one of them.

In today’s world, the emphasis is on getting stuff done rather than enjoying the unfolding dance of life.

It’s not often we allow ourselves the luxury of being fully present for our precious moments. When we live like this – always trying to get somewhere instead of being here – we are short changing our lives. 

So, ponder this poem deeply my dear friends. Let it seep into every cell and molecule of your being. Let it open you up and break through the belief that the next moment will finally make you happy.

This is it.

This moment.

This is your one wild and precious life, here and now.

-Love Melli

p.s If you like this article and want to explore what it would be like for you to be in Nadine’s shoes you’ll love this one too Hurry Up & Slow Down

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Comments

  1. Brides Little1 says:

    “I would, perhaps, have more actual troubles but fewer imaginary ones.” If it wasn’t for a crash course in mindfulness with vipassana, I think I’d still be doing this. Gosh I wasted so much time and energy worrying about things that never actually came to fruition. It’s crazy!

  2. I find it scary – even if we have ‘known’ about the principles like the ones you share on here Melli – just how much we still need wakeup calls.

    It often takes a boulder to de-rail your sleepwalking through life. Do you have any advice of ways to ‘shake yourself’ awake that you use?

    • Yes i do have one very simple piece of advice to counter the habit of taking our lives horrendously for granted – contemplate death every day. Watch the transient nature of all things. Nothing lasts, nothing is permanent. Find a way to stay connected to that truth and you’ll live a rich and fulfilling life. Maybe you could simply read this poem every day? Buddhists and yogis sometimes used to drink/eat out of skulls as a reminder. Some visit graveyards each week.

      You could find your own little ritual or reminder. To some this may seem a somber thing -to contemplate death but i think its much sadder to never really be fully alive in the first place.

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