Do you ever take stock of your life? Do you ever think back over decisions and have regrets?
What do you do about it?
I’m not a wise old bird. In fact, I’m not even 45 yet but I have lived a full life, and seen and experienced so much. I also know there is much more to live, experience, and learn.
One thing that sticks out to me is that most people assess their life and choices at some point. And when we do, we may or may not like what we see.
When that happens, we have a choice: to change or to stay how we are.
I don’t know about you, but I hate change. I like to feel like I am in control of my life, but this is such an illusion, as the only constant in life is that it is always changing.
We never have control of it—we simply assume that we do as it fits into our plan.
My grandparents all passed when I was very young, and my mother too, and there are many life lessons that I have learned from them. The biggest is to not live with regrets.
When I look at their life, I recognize that they were from a different time than now, and so our dreams and goals were different. But I know what they longed for and I know their regrets.
The things that they didn’t do because they were too afraid to try.
Life sometimes gets in the way of our dreams, but I wonder if that’s the Universe’s way of getting us back on track or even showing us that we are stronger than we think.
I’ve learned there are two ways I can look at my life. One is to feel like a failure because I haven’t achieved much in life. I haven’t stayed in the same job for 20 years, and I’m not married. I’ve experienced trauma after trauma, feeling like I am in the wrong place all the time. Two is to believe that I am always in the right place, as I have the strength to cope with the trauma, help and support others, and inspire them to keep moving forward. That I am where I need to be—right now.
Living a Life
In between the trauma, I have been scuba diving with sharks, researched the grey nurse breeding areas in the wild, volunteered at major aquariums doing the hard, behind-the-scenes work, being the tour guide with quirky facts about animals, and teaching people that they can be self-sufficient in their own homes by growing food and so much more.
I stumbled into aquaponics (the growing of fish in a man-made ecosystem where the fish produce fertiliser and the vegetables filter the water—a beautiful, harmonious relationship) many years ago now when I was financially broke, beaten down emotionally from trauma, and struggling with mental health issues.
Being able to walk outside while renting and harvest my dinner, lunch, or a snack that was organically grown, environmentally sustainable, and healthy gave me a better way to live and serve others. That is how aquaponics changed my life: a healthy way to be, now. Not waiting until I owned my own home.
I’m a huge believer in balance within life, and aquaponics suited me as it is all about balance too. I shifted my mental health into a good place, and became part of society again. I was able to help people again, this time by teaching them to grow healthy food.
Leaving Regrets Behind
When I think about regrets, it is often the things we don’t do that we regret most. If we try something, it might go belly up (pardon the pun), but it might also change our lives for the better. And we would at least know we tried, and even succeeded; not live with the knowledge that we didn’t even put ourselves out there.
My mother regretted that she wasn’t healthier. But this was something she needed to invest in her whole life, not just when she became sick. By then, she was pushing a heavy car uphill alone.
Had she made the change earlier to live a healthier life, her health-related illnesses might have been altered. Even if they couldn’t be prevented, there are some things about her life that could have been changed: better movement, reduced pain, better fitness. She may not have been able to grow old gracefully, but I bet she would have been able to grow older than she did, which was something that was cut short and that she regretted on her deathbed.
I’m not a wise old bird, but I do know that the more we listen to ourselves and what we truly want for ourselves, we will be inspired to take that step. To try. To not live any part of our life with regrets.
Whatever our belief about death, living, where we go, and what happens, we must remember that we are human, and regret makes our souls heavy when we are alive.
One of the biggest wishes most people have is to be healthy and for their family to be healthy. What does that look like to you? To age with grace, movement, and health? What can you do to get there?
For me, I sometimes regret that I am not like everyone else. My whole life I was called “quirky,” and felt that I had to fit in, but I just couldn’t. I regret that I didn’t know when I was younger that I could be proud of my quirkiness. I was never meant to fit in—and I wasted a lot of energy on this.
Now, I am proud to be me, with all of my quirkiness. I understand my soul purpose is not to stay in one job for 20 years, instead I am here to challenge others to help themselves evolve when they are ready. I do so with an open heart and deep passion. For a time, I stood against injustice in various areas, now my soul needs a break from that, and so I inspire others to create healthy food security in their backyard or courtyard.
I teach women how to have the confidence to build their own aquaponics system, starting small. And I show them that it’s possible, as I produce 80 percent of my veggies with aquaponics. With this knowledge, I know that I won’t have the regrets my mother did. Not only do I have healthy food in any space or climate, but I advocate for others to have this right too.
Right now, my dream is to help women feel confident to grow healthy food, without any experience or a “green thumb,” as everything is a learned experience. My advocacy now is for backyard gardens, community gardens, and growing food in a way that works with the environment, not depleting it as commercial farming does. For healthy food, and therefore healthy bodies, to not be a luxury but an achievable goal for everyone who wants it.