5 of My Silliest and Most Meaningful Regrets

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of American Heart Association / American Stroke Association for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

5 biggest regrets
We all have them…those moments or times in our lives we look back on and think, “What if?” or “I should have done this instead.” I’ve said I don’t like living my life with regrets, but from the serious to the silly, I do sometimes reflect and laugh or shake my head…

1. I dyed my hair orange
You all, I listened to the wrong hair color advice and chose a gloss that turned my hair orange. BRIGHT ORANGE. I kid you not. We’re not talking locks like Jessica Chastain either. Think carrot juice! I hid my hair under a scarf when I went out that night. My saving grace was a late night call with an expert hair colorist who taught me a trick: use dandruff shampoo to remove some of the color. It worked and I had it fixed the next day. I was none too pleased, but it was a reminder to self: Laugh at the fixable.

2. I got married young instead of catching a dream
I had an offer to study at one of the top universities in Switzerland, full ride. It was terrifying and thrilling at once. Then I met my ex-husband and declined it. I had wanted to live outside of the USA and to pursue academia. Instead I chose a buff blonde with blue eyes who could probably pass for Swiss. Errr, not quite the same…

3. I didn’t take the bet
I am not really the gambling type, but I almost – almost- bet on my Miami Heat right before I married the hubs. Then I chickened out. Imagine how much more shopping we could have done with the kids on the family-moon then haha! (Disclaimer: In all seriousness, don’t gamble money you don’t have and keep it fun; nothing more). 

4. I ate the mint chocolate
Shout out to one of my junior high besties-she knows who she is. Picture it, 1989 on Ft. MacArthur Air Force Base. Two thirteen year olds were tasked with babysitting on New Year’s Eve. Those two thirteen year olds thought, “Hey, adults toast with something special, so let’s partake in something, too!” That something happened to be a giant block of mint chocolate we somehow proceeded to eat in its entirety. The next day I was ill. Very ill.  I have not been able to eat or drink anything mint chocolate since. True story. <shiver>

5. I waited to get the lump checked
People sometimes wonder why I am so animate about getting anything checked out immediately. The first time I got sick, I had no idea I was actually sick. I wiped out surfing on the North Shore of Hawaii and the surfboard hit me. That same night I developed a lump in my neck right where the board got me. It kept getting larger and I kept thinking I just hurt my clavicle. I felt run down and tired, but I was shocked when I was told I had cancer. I don’t dwell on the “what-ifs”, but I do wonder if my complications could have been prevented had I gone to the doctor sooner.

It’s been a long time since those days and I am glad for all the lessons that came along with my ‘regrets’, but one thing I don’t ever want to regret is taking my health for granted. If you follow the blog you know that – holy cow – I am 40 and I want to rock it and all of the years to come – mind, body and soul! I want to keep my braininess intact (hey, I’m proud of it) and because of my own health history coupled with my family’s, stroke and heart disease prevention is especially important to me. Well, with their Life’s Simple 7, The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is helping me and you and everyone to do just that!

Life’s Simple 7

You take four really simple healthy behaviors:

  1. Eat better
  2. Be physically and socially active
  3. Don’t smoke and limit your alcohol intake
  4. Maintain a healthy weight

And you add in three ways to monitor and control your health:

  1. Keep an eye on that blood pressure
  2. Control your cholesterol and
  3. Keep that blood sugar in check

And you’ve got Life’s Simple 7!

The choices we make as adults affect our Brain Health throughout the rest of our lives. Eighty percent of strokes and heart disease may be preventable so lifestyle changes – especially if you need to make them – can help prevent memory loss, dementia and stroke and heart disease. I have watched two grandparents, one who was a smoker; suffer through stroke and dementia before they passed. They would tell you to take care of your physical and mental health. And believe me, you listened to grandma and grandpa or else!

So What Else Can We Do?

First, my peeps, don’t take your brain for granted mmmm’kay? Think about it; this little three-pound organ controls everything we do. From the serious stuff like, “Ouch I burned myself picking up that candle, I need to put it down STAT!!!,” (yes I did that today), memorizing your favorite songs (c’mon sing at the top of your lungs in the car, it’s good for your brain!) and growing into over the top, WOW how can a feeling feel soooo good LOVE-the big stuff or the little stuff- it’s not possible to exist without it. So, healthy living – it’s that simple. Don’t smoke. Forget the benders. Get that rest and pick up that book you’ve been putting off.

I for one, want to be independent when I get into older age.  What I don’t want? To regret not taking care of my health. I want to relish every single day I’m given the gift of life, dance my rear end off while I sing to the music and rock it out in the retirement home. Look for me, I’ll be leading the conga line! And lastly, I want to look back on my regrets and remember my life wouldn’t have been so incredibly meaningful and hilarious without them.

This post is dedicated to the loving and crazy memories of my Grandma and Grandpa Wilson, two of the toughest and most stubborn people I ever knew. While stroke and dementia touched their lives in the end, their brute and obstinacy lives on.

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