Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A Life Well Lived

While living in Arkansas in my twenties, I drove with some friends to Dallas, Texas for the weekend. Outside a restaurant where we were eating, a sumo-wrestling activity was set up on the grassy knoll nearby. We went out to see what was going on. They had set up a giant mat on the ground and had huge sumo suits people could wear. The suits had helmets that looked like the heads of sumo wrestlers - complete with the hair in a bun on top. 

Another person in my group and I decided to do it. The suit and helmet were huge - both making me a giant rolly-polly. We got on the mat and started trying to wrestle. It was hilarious. Every time I would get hit, I would lose my balance and fall over. I couldn't get up wearing the huge suit. I would roll around trying to find a way to get on my feet - which I could not even see poking out of the bottom of the suit. The other person would try to help me but I was laughing so hard it was impossible. Most of the time the other person would end up falling on top of me. Then both of us would be rolling around the mat laughing til we could hardly breathe. 

And we got it all on tape. 

Unfortunately, I misplaced the tape when I moved to Arizona. It is a fond memory of mine and I wish I still had it. 

Recently I was recounting the story to my niece. I was telling the story and laughing, really enjoying the memory.

She replied, "How could you do that? It would be so embarrassing."

That made me think. 

I never thought of it as embarrassing. To me, it was an opportunity to have a good time - and I did. 

Another time, during law school, we were divided into groups and had to 'act out' a legal case. Our group chose a famous Vanna White case involving a robot dressed like Vanna White. The legal issue was whether a famous person was a brand with intellectual property rights over their image.

We decided to set up a Jeopardy game and I agreed to be Vanna White. I wore a prom dress with prom heels and a blond wig. I then danced around the room pointing at letters on the screen. 

It was hilarious. Everyone had a good time, especially me.

I think everyone was a little shocked though - I am fairly reserved by nature. To those who do not know me well, this was definitely an unexpected activity for me. 

But this is life! 

Life is meant to me savored. I may not always be the life of the party, but I always embrace opportunities to enjoy life. 

Is dressing as a sumo wrestler and rolling around a mat on a public knoll laughing my head off embarrassing? Is dressing like Vanna White and dancing around a law school class embarrassing?

I can see how it would be for some, but for me it was fun. I had fun and I enjoyed letting others see a side of me rarely shared. 

Embarrassment is short-lived, memories are forever. Even embarrassing moments become some of our most enjoyable stories to re-tell.

In the end, memories and stories are all we have and I plan to have some doozies when I am old and gray. The more of them I can catch on video and pictures the better. I plan to have so many memories that my mind is too full to hold them all - and then I can relive them through pictures and videos.  

No regrets. Just a life well lived. 

Do you hold back from doing things because you are worried about what others will think? Is the possibility of embarrassment a big part of your decision-making process? 

How important are memories to you? Do you share your experiences and memories with others? 

Are your major regrets things you did or things you didn't do?

Deedra Abboud is the founder of the Global Institute of Solution Oriented Leadership, a "rising tide raising all boats" resource on the art and science of finding solutions, not fault - at work, at home, and in the community. She is an author, keynote speaker, lawyer, and frequent media resource. When she's not helping clients or speaking at organization events, she's traveling the world.  At last count, she's been to over 15 countries including Bahrain, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

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