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Whoa, it’s been almost a month since I’ve written anything!  Hello again.  I had an entirely packed June, including a day hike in mud and on cliffs, a visit to the Markthalle, five days in Berlin and Weimar, the birth of my nephew, two days in London, a two-parter picnic birthday, a hike in Alsace, a three-week-long cold, and a visiting friend.

*whew*  I’ve officially decreed that July will be a time of rest and catching up.  Oh, and homework too!

My birthday officially marks the completion of my first year of a twenty-year resolution.  When I was younger, I would hold myself up to high standards.  Whenever I made a mistake or a social gaff, I would lie awake at night wondering how I could be so stupid and whether the other person would stop liking me.  I became very timid socially.

As I grew older, I realized that no one really remembered the little mistakes.  Our lives are too full of memories to dwell on the insignificant stuff.  And, if someone focused that much on every small thing I said or did, then I probably wouldn’t enjoy hanging out with such an unforgiving nitpicker!

My middle brother, Josh, always told me to stop regretting so much. Life’s too short to spend it wondering how it should have been, and fact is, the past isn’t going to change; the only thing you can change is the future. So instead of worrying, enjoy life.  He was right, of course.

One of my wise brothers, Josh

So, on my twentieth birthday, I resolved to live a life without regret.  This resolution came about when I encountered this quote by Mark Twain:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.”

I love symmetry, so I was happy that I could apply this quote to my own life on my twentieth year.  “The last twenty years were spent becoming an adult.  The next twenty years will be spent learning how to live life without regret, and learning to be uninhibited by fear!”  I also knew that I would be going to Germany in a few months, which made this quote all the more poignant.  I was scared to leave and do big things.

But I had to face the fears, travel the hundreds of miles, meet new people, adapt to a foreign culture and a foreign language.  And, after this first-year trial run (has it been a year already?), I’d call my birthday promise a success.  Here’s to another year of exploring, dreaming, and discovering.  Happy (belated) birthday to me!

A quote to live by.