Thursday, September 9, 2010

If Not Now, When?

I love this field of flowers under the trees in Parco di Monza by our home here in Italy. They are long gone now, they are only around for a brief time in the spring. As fall approachs and these trees are about to change their color and lose their leaves, and the bed of flowers has become mown grass. I met my intention to photograph them this year, since I missed them the first spring we arrived in Italy. Who knows what next spring will bring, my last spring here. Maybe there will be freak weather that prevents them from blooming, and this will have been my only opportunity. I'm glad I caught them while I had the chance.

Capturing these flowers is part of what I am calling a "no regrets" year. With limited time left on my work assignment in Italy, we return to the US next July, I have made a personal resolution that I will go home with no regrets. I don't want to sit down, years from now and say, "I wish I had done... whatever... while we were in Italy." Sure, there will always be ideas I have later, places I will see in pictures later and wish I had visited while I was here, but this "no regrets" year is about what I know now. If there is something I want to do now, I am doing it. If there is someplace I want to go while I'm here in Europe, I am going. If there is someone I need to meet (all these wonderful online friends!), I'm going to make every possible effort to meet them in person.

So this weekend, part of my "no regrets" year, I have a special trip planned. Just me, my camera and Paris art museums. I've been wanting to go there and just revel in the amazing art that is available, all in one city. To just have a little bit of time, where I plot my course for a day or two, recharge and refill the creative well on my own. Along with that blissful plan, I'm doing a nighttime photo tour with a professional photographer - absolute, and total, heaven.
I know that the pace of travel and activity and spending (!) I currently have is not sustainable long term. In a way, that's the beauty of this situation too, it isn't long term. There is a definite end, so I don't have to keep anything in reserve. I also know that even with this intention I have for the year, I will not be able to go everywhere, do everything, meet everyone on my list. But I'll be so, so much closer to it, and I'll have no regrets.

I have actually been blessed by having this limited time, in a positive way. To have my eyes opened without having something like a life-threatening illness for me or a loved one. It is easy to see, how in the course of our ever day life, how we put things off. We say... We'll go visit that place next month, and it turns into next year. Let's get together for coffee sometime, and weeks go by. I should really look into that organization, and before you know it the event you were interested in is over. Life picks us up, swirls us around in the every day, and we lose our hold on the tether of our intentions. Before we know it, we're swept along and away from what we had planned.

Think about this in your every day life. Is there one small thing you want to do, one place to visit close by that you've been putting off, one friend you want to meet for coffee but haven't found the time? Do it. Have your own "no regrets" day or week, living in the moment as if you have limited time. Because the reality is, we do have limited time. It's just not always so obvious, as it is to me right now.

And who knows, you might just find that you have spring flowers to enjoy, come fall. 


  1. That's the spirit, Kat. Great to hear the positive attitude. I need to learn from you as I am a little slow in that. (By the way, thank you for commenting on my blog. If you ever have a chance to come over to Yorkshire, you and family are always welcome to visit us and I'll tour you around.) Have a lovely weekend. xm

  2. Have a great time in Paris, Kat. I love your attitude and your post gave me much food for thought. Can't wait to see those night shots.

  3. Oh my gosh, Kat, how wonderfully well-written your post is. I love your "no regrets" year. What a great experience you and your family are having. I do regret not going to the Louvre in Paris. I went sightseeing and forgot. Now since I've started writing my goals down, I've accomplished things that I've put off or forgot about for years. I plan to see those flowers in the spring.

  4. This is a wonderful post.
    A camera and the Paris Art Museum spunds like a dream come true.
    I also love the idea of a "No regrets year."

  5. That is wonderful! I hope you have a lovely time :)

  6. we are definitely having similar life experiences right now. Having just left Germany after living there for 6 months, I am going back again for 3 weeks. And this time...

  7. So many people need a life threatening event to push them into a "no regrets" mindset. You are so wise to seize your opportunities because we never know what lies ahead, do we? I know you will have a fabulous time in's a photographer's dream. And the Musee d'Orsay--so fabulous! Enjoy, enjoy!

  8. Life is all about the Moment. It is about living the no regrets every day. I think for some of us that is easier than others but still think, the default of human nature is to over on, all the time. It takes practice and you, my friend, are certainly leading the way. Have a wonderful time! Can't wait to see what you come up with...

  9. A beautiful post, Kat. I learned this so many years ago when I lost my mother at the age of 20. It was clear to me, even then, that time was precious and you must make the most of every day. I always choose family over anything else. We've gone on trips rather than fix up our house. I make time for my friends over projects at home. Do I get everything done that I want to do? Of course not. But I have very few regrets over the choices I've (we've) made.

    Have a fabulous weekend in Paris. I can't wait to see the photos from your trip.

  10. You are so right, Kat. I agree 100% with what you said here. When we first came to the States, we thought we'd be here for only three years and we were on the road every weekend, exploring. Whenever there was a longer time than just a weekend available, we'd go to places further away. Now we're here indefinitely and our habit has changed. But as you said - it's not sustainable for an indefinite time.
    Have fun in Paris. Your planned trip sounds great and I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time. I'm looking forward to those photos!

  11. I love this!

    Your plans sound wonderful.

    I lived in Rome for one year about 10 years ago, and have no regrets, either. :)

    Can't wait to read about your adventures to come!

  12. Beautiful post and you are so right. Having a "no regrets" year or life is the way to go! Time passes so quickly and before you know it, many things have passed you by! I too don't want to miss a thing!!! Thanks for the wonderful reminder!
    Congrats on your POTW award!

  13. You are so right! Thank you for reminding me of this..."no regrets" many things surround many things we put off or postpone til many things we miss when were not paying attention to our life...I love your reminder here...hope you have a wonderful year of living with no regrets but I also hope that once you leave Italy you will continue to live each day in this manner. Congrats on POTW mention!

  14. Congratulations on your Post of the Week "Readers' Choice" award! :-)

    I absolutely agree with you,
    carpe diem,
    and may all your endeavors be accompanied by joyful energy!

  15. I loved that photo. Enjoy your year in Italy.

    I'm here from POTW.


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