Live a Life with No Regrets

by Deanna Leigh

We are all so busy going through the motions of life, that we don’t to stop to realize it’s slipping by quicker than we realize. When you reach the end of the day after working, rushing to pick up the kids from school or daycare, taking them to basketball or dance, then getting home to quickly fix dinner as they start homework, it makes you feel exhausted or overwhelmed. It’s rush, rush, rush and then you start it all over again tomorrow. Are we living a life, or is life living us?

Now being in my early fifties, I look back on my life with no regrets but with valuable lessons learned.

I got married when I was twenty-four, thinking I was ready to take on the world and marriage. The truth was, I had no idea how important my decisions were, especially major life decisions such as marriage. Not everyone has someone in their life who teaches them how to make wise decisions or the process of thinking it through.

We all know that kids observe their parents without consciousness and form beliefs based on their actions, not words. So I thought of my parents as the great example! They were happily married, still in love after 56 years, and I never saw them argue or fight.

Some people don’t have any aspirations of getting married, while others dream of getting married one day. Marriage isn’t on everyone’s list. However, if it is on your list; it is one of the most important life decisions one can make. One thing I do know for sure looking back; I didn’t marry for the right reasons and that really hurt both of us. I didn’t know what values, characteristics, or beliefs were important to me. Personally – I think there should have a class in love/relationships 101 and it would be a core class required for high school graduation. At least it would be a positive step in guiding our young people toward making wiser decisions.

I was divorced seven years later with two small babies ages two and four, looking at me for their sole support since their dad chose to walk away. When I got married this scenario never entered my mind, but the reality of life was staring at me. In that moment, I made one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I knew in order to support my kids, I’d need to return back to college and finish my degree. I qualified for help from the state of Georgia and took out student loans to make it work.

We had a routine that helped me survive getting everything done. I’d dropped the kids off at daycare, rushed to attend classes on campus, and worked a few hours before picking them up from daycare. I’d cook dinner as they played and we ate dinner at the table talking and listening about their day; bath time and lights out for bedtime at 8:30. Only then was I able to sit down to give my full attention to my homework; which usually ran until about 11pm. Those two years were a complete blur! My routine and determination were the two most important things that helped me get my degree! Plus, I had two great kids who didn’t give me much trouble which was a God send.

To this day, now my grown children remember the tough times with fondness but also the reward of seeing me receive my Bachelor’s Degree. To the three of us, it was a great achievement because we earned it together.

With my degree, it opened the doors that allowed me wonderful opportunities to climb the corporate ladder, achieve great success, and provide for my children on my own. That decision alone was game changer. It shows how important one decision can be.

But looking back now, I can tell you even with poor decisions we still have opportunities to make great decisions that propel us to new heights we never imagined. I have no regrets with my decisions because it has made me who I am today - I’m simply more aware of how important each decision is now.

Deanna Leigh is a published author, speaker and business consultant. She was a Chief Financial Officer for over 30 years and has a passion to help others, being an advocate for women, and inspiring everyone she meets.

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