What would you say to your partner that you haven’t said?
What would you do with your partner that you haven’t done?
What would you regret?
Death scares the shit out of most people, but our mortality can be utilized to embrace life.
I used to be quite neurotic and obsessed with my mortality. I’m not anymore. Having a disability has not let me forget that there are certain fundamental things that are just out of my control.
I have learned over the last decade or so to use my mortality to my advantage. What I fear much more than dying, is reaching the end full of regrets. I’m not talking about regretting whether or not I traveled someplace or got a certain car. I’m talking mostly about my roles as son, husband, father and friend.
I’m far from perfect in all of these categories, but I am clear that these are the things that matter most to me.
12 things to do to prevent regret
- Check in with each other for ten minutes every day. Ask what's on your mind and how you're feeling and just listen.
- Go to dinner once a week just the two of you. Take turns planning each week.
- Plan a date once a month to go to a museum or a show.
- Go to the movies together once a month.
- Remember that both of your defenses will be on high alert, looking for reasons why you're going to be hurt and there will be a pull to the status quo. Sometimes it'll get the better of you. That's inevitable. Your job isn't to get rid of your defenses.
- Start paying attention to what triggers you, how it feels, how you react.
- Hold hands. Hug each other.
- Brainstorm together or separately other things you can do together, even things you don't do now like listening to an audiobook or taking an online class.
- Never assume you know what the other one is thinking, feeling and needs.
- Never assume the other knows what you want or need.
- Be patient with yourselves and with each other.
- Both of you need to set reminders for your dates, check-ins, etc. Don't assume you'll remember.