Thursday, October 24, 2013

Following Twain's Advice

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

~ Mark Twain

I love Mark Twain. I think I always have. There is something about his spirit, his line of reasoning, and his ability to things like they were (and still are!) that makes me admire the kind of man he was. I've not only read his books, I have also read and researched his life. He really wasn't the kind of guy that Poppa would want a girl to bring home. As it is with many writers, he wasn't good with money, was known to enjoy a good drink and a smoke, and he could be quite...disagreeable...when he got the urge. 

Of all the quotes I love, from many different people, and of all Twain's words I enjoy, the quote I listed above is one of my favorite. When in doubt about what I should do sometimes, I think of these words. I ask myself, "Will my regret be that I did it...or that, when given a chance, I didn't do it?" It brings a great deal of clarity to a situation pretty quickly, to be quite honest.

One time I remember, in particular, was when I was crossing the English Channel this summer. I was actually walking on a path that appears, when the tide goes out, between St. Michael's Mount and the shore. The path has been there for over a thousand years.

As I was walking along the path, I had the urge to take off my shoes, roll up my jeans, and walk back to the shore barefooted. I wanted to take my time, have a seat on the edge of the path, take a few photographs,...pause in the moment and just breathe and be. So, I did.

Now, I realize it's a simple example of what I'm talking about, but you understand the spirit of it all, right? 

There have been many moments when I have found myself on the precipice of something wonderful. Common sense said no, but my heart and my spirit said yes - so I said yes. Not every chance or every risk I've taken has turned out the way I would have liked or wanted, but I don't ever regret the choice I made to experience that moment. 

Life is short,'s long, too. We are the only ones who must truly live with our choices. Only we know what prompted us do what we did at the time. Who are other people to judge?

Besides, I would rather live half a life boldly than a whole life concerned about what other people think.

I know Mark Twain would agree...

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