Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.
I focused on the gaps between my footfalls – when I floated through space, and my spine lengthened and aligned. Then, when my feet landed, coiling like springs… I focused on blasting off again, from my hips.
It was around 8AM, just south of downtown Baltimore, at the Inner Harbor. I sprinted up the corner of Federal Hill. It’s a manmade hill cut like a trapezoid, overlooking the harbor and buildings.
During a nighttime thunderstorm over 156 years ago, General Benjamin F. Butler led a thousand Union troops to the hill, where they secured a fort. They dug their heels in, for the entire Civil War.
That morning, I used the unnaturally steep incline to challenge my muscles, lungs, and nervous system.
The effort triggered a gush of growth hormone through my system.
And all kinds of pleasurable brain chemicals began flooding as I did some chi gung afterwards, amidst the trees. Usually playing with one tree.
Back when I lived in downtown Baltimore, that was my Saturday ritual. Usually, I’d sip some water mixed with a pre-workout stimulant, while walking to the hill. Later I discovered it was spiked with amphetamines. No wonder I felt so amazing.
I regret not performing the ritualized workout more often. These days, instead of taking a full week to recover, I do stair sprints every 3rd day. If only I’d kept up this pace in Baltimore. I imagined how much less stressed I would have been, how much more creative, and how much healthier.
While pondering this, I decided to list out a bunch more regrets. But not one-off opportunities I didn’t take, or single mistakes I made. Or anything to do with predicting the future. Instead, I wrote only about habits. Here they are:
- Not doing hill sprints more often
Already covered this one above.
- Not constantly writing articles
I was too lazy, didn’t see the value, assumed they’d take my energy away from other projects, or feared I’d run dry on creativity.
None of this turned out to be true. Once I kicked the laziness to the curb, I discovered putting energy into writing that’s fulfilling, delivers me more creative energy. And rather than running out of things to say, I’m downloading more. Much to the chagrin of many, I’m sure.
- Not setting a consistent wake-up time
I used to let myself sleep in, and wake up “naturally” – figuring this would give me more energy. But instead, it settled me into a subtle malaise. Now I set a wake-up time that’s just a little bit “too early” and I feel more energized.
- Not eliminating tension in my hips
This year, I’ve been fascinated in how tight and misaligned my hips have been for decades. And how much emotional gunk has been trapped in there.
Relaxing and aligning them (with virtually zero stretching involved) has been exquisitely slow. Like a flower blooming. Fun to witness. But I regret not starting sooner.
(Notice how these first four regrets revolve around energy, with a focus on health?)
- Not meeting more great people
When I lived in Colorado for the first time, I was shy and egotistical and terrified and made almost zero friends. I drank. I cried. Then I went bankrupt and crawled around the bottom for a few years.
My second time in Colorado, I met friends and friends of friends, and now maintain a MasterMind in the industry I love. Great connections, answers, vendors, and clients are an email away. I get special access and prices (sometimes this price is free – or I get a valuable service nobody else could even pay for). I have zero fear of becoming financially destitute again (unless we experience a devastating global financial catastrophe, and I’m still working on that fear). This (almost total) lack of fear isn’t derived solely from my income, or even mostly. It’s the knowledge that I have relationships with great people.
- Not pushing myself to write better and study better writing
For years, I coasted by on writing that was “good enough.” I could have stayed that way. And lived on a relatively stable income. Now I see I was turning my nose up at sharpening my skill, because I feared the work and the new territory. No more.
- Not dropping the damn guilt and anxiety about being myself
I hated company parties. So I hated myself for hating them.
I worried about my zany thoughts, so I kept them to myself.
Nowadays, I simply avoid the stupid party – if it’s too loud to hear people speak. Otherwise, I tolerate it just fine.
And now I blurt out my thoughts. People either engage, or we both learn we’re not a match for each other.
However, my thoughts were not always blurt-able. Some still aren’t. Which is why I regret…
- Not getting therapy
From someone competent. Someone great.
Because the best therapy is someone empowering their psychology to help you detox yours.
The benefits are exponential. When your brain is optimized for what you want to feel and experience, all your results come easier.
Positive-minded coaches are fantastic to help you drive ahead. But sometimes you get stuck from moving forward until you work out the psychological vines twisted around your ankles.
I’m glad I still feel a tinge of regret for everything I wrote about here. Because it reminds me to keep doing them. More. I wonder what I’m not considering now, that I’ll regret next year? Or five years from now?
How about yourself. What habits do you regret not doing a year ago? Five years ago?
What habits and rituals would you BEG your children to do?
Are you doing them now?