Many of us would long to go back to a time when we still had a father or mother, or both, still enjoying their love and care. I know that is a yearning of mine.
Maybe you would want to go back and relive an unrequited romantic interest just to see how it would have panned out if things were different.
Possibly you would like to go back to a moment when you could restrain yourself from saying something that caused bad relations between a loved one and yourself for a long period.
Yes, in an ideal world where miracles could happen, the above would be a reality.
However, let’s stop there and ponder something. All the above scenarios come with regrets.
Henceforth, maybe we could attempt living our lives in a more solicitous way, whereby we would not cause intended or accidental hurt to our family and friends.
In a nutshell, attempt to live your life with no regrets. The legendary actor Robert Redford, he of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid fame, once said: “I have no regrets, because I have done everything I could to the best of my ability.”
There is a Latin saying: “Primum non nocere”, which means, loosely translated, “First, do no harm”. It is popularly attributed to being part of the Hippocratic Oath that medical practitioners swear to.
However, popular theory is that it not factually correct. “Abstain from doing harm” is part of the oath.
What is correct is that it is a good maxim by which to live the limited lives that we are blessed with on this Earth.
Do no harm, verbally or physically.
In pondering this subject before writing it, I asked myself the following question: “What kind of person will people remember me as being when I die?” So I ask you - how would you like to be known when you “shuffle off this mortal coil”?
I would like to be remembered as a kind and loving person, who brooked nonsense but yet was caring and sensitive to the needs and feelings of my friends and neighbours.
I can make that happen. It is within my power to do so. If I care enough to watch what I say and do every day, every hour, every minute of my life.
It may seem scrupulously tedious to do that, but ultimately it will be the right thing to do.
To quote William Shakespeare in one of his most famous tragic plays, Julius Caesar, when his character Mark Anthony was whipping the crowd into a frenzy to avenge Caesar’s assassination: “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”
Some people have gone down in history as being bad, or even downright evil. Names like Adolf Hitler and Idi Amin trip off the brain easily.
Let’s strive not to be included in a similar roll of (dis)honour.
How do we endeavour to be good and leave a positive impression when we reach the “hereafter”?
How about while we are alive and able, telling the ones that you love how much you do love them. Regularly!
Say it and follow it up with deeds that reinforce the loving words.
As hard as it may be, try to be forgiving of others. If what they say and do does not harm us or our family badly, try to make peace and seek no vengeance.
Settling difficulties immediately allows them not to fester within ourselves and make us bitter and unhappy.
My last advice as far as living with no regret is concerned is a four-letter word: TIME.
Without sounding morbid, our time on this planet is limited. Make the best use of what is allocated to us.
Spend quality time with your loved ones. Make special memories. These are the things that will outlast our existence.
They are moments that will make our kin smile when they think back. In this way we can keep alive our memories.
Is there a certain hobby you want to pursue?
Or perhaps a place you want to visit? A long-lost relative you need to track down and reacquaint with?
Do it as soon as possible.
Work on your bucket list. Tick things all off until you have accomplished them in their entirety.
Then in the final accounting we can confidently answer the age-old question with the words: “Ah so that is what this thing called Life was all about.”
* Ravi Govender is an author, entrepreneur and philanthropist. His fourth book, A Medley of Voices, comes out this month. You can win one of five copies through POST next week.