We ended our March column, RED & BLACK … Don't Regret Your Regrets?, with me telling Red, "I do not 'do' regrets," but our actual conversation continued as she wanted to know how that is even possible to do. Knowing that she loves lists, I decided to put one together for her.

As a bit of backstory, having loved ones die, especially untimely deaths, can have a powerful impact. That is what happened to me growing up. It made me realize that the future is not a guarantee, but merely an incentive. And that, in turn, had a direct influence on my priorities. And, how I approach life … with no regrets.


  1. If You Love Them, Let Them Know
    This is probably the most obvious, but if "postponed" can become an extremely painful regret. Since I learned this at such an early age, I have been doing it almost my entire life – and can tell you that it quickly becomes a habit. Not sure how to start? Make a list of the people you love, and either through words or actions (or both), let them know. It can be a simple call or visit (virtual counts), or an unexpected email or note. Or, a long letter. FYI, this also works for people you respect, admire, or appreciate.
  2. Maybe You Do Not Need To Work Less
    As a die-hard workaholic and someone who proclaims, "I have no life," you might think this falls under "Do as I say, not as I do." Yet, if you were to track my time, you would see I always carve out time for exercise and try my best to be there when my sister and nieces need me. Pre-COVID, I always saved Saturday evenings for dinner with dear friends. Work/life balance means finding time for the things that are most important or bring us the greatest pleasure, which is different from saying "I need to work less."
  3. Be Brave
    This is semantics. If I said, "Take risks," I would get push-back as most people are risk-averse. For me, I look at risk-reward; does the upside potential outweigh the downside risk? Over the years, I have done things that did not work out as planned. Do I wish I had not done them? No, I look at what positive things came out of the experience (many mistakes can be fixed) ... even if only lessons learned. Research shows that people's biggest regrets tend to involve things they did not do when they had the opportunity, not the things they did.
  4. Worrying Wastes Time (And Cause Wrinkles)
    Time is a precious commodity as you can make more money, but you cannot make more time. So, why waste any of it worrying about things that are beyond our control? The next time something has you worrying, decide what you can do to change the outcome. If the answer is "nothing," then think about what you need to do to prepare for the worst-case outcome. Then, shift your mindset and focus on the best-case scenario. (I know Red often thinks I am an "eternal optimist" and sometimes has a hard time reconciling that to me being pragmatic.)
  5. Emotions Are Not Created Equal
    Yes, Red is the warm and fuzzy emotional one, while I am the pragmatic one. But, sometimes, you have to learn to be less emotional. For example, everyone has been emotionally hurt at some point, yet I know of people who stay stuck in bitterness and never get past the pain. If you learn to forgive, you can replace the time spent being resentful with more positive things. Maybe even little acts of kindness (a smile, a compliment, a small gesture). No one ever lay on their deathbed and said, "I wish I had been meaner and more spiteful."
There is no point in regretting what you wish you had done differently, but nothing stops you from coming to terms with your regrets and moving forward with a clean slate.
Design by Sawyer Pennington

People have told us they're using our sisterly banter to start conversations with others (family, friends, and even in classrooms), so Black created "Conversation Starters". Stay tuned as we'll be introducing new topics on a regular basis!


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io


I have two confessions. First, until we wrote our book and you insisted on having it printed in the U.S.A. , I never thought about the importance of buying American-made products. I had always focused on price and quality, not where it's made. My second confession is even though I became more mindful of buying American, I still didn't do it. But when I heard President Biden, in his first address to Congress , say, "All the investments in the American Jobs Plan will be guided by one principle: American tax dollars are going to be used to buy American products made in America that create American jobs" I realized that not only should I do more, but I wanted to. But how? Especially as I need to be cost-conscious and products that come from overseas are usually cheaper!


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Saying it is the first step to doing it. Then, get in the habit of always "checking labels" – whether it is a bigger purchase, like a car or major appliance, or smaller items, like clothing or household items. And, understanding your motivation might help. Is it a function of being patriotic, or about job creation? (FYI, buying American has a ripple effect as it helps the companies making the products and also companies that support them – from suppliers to energy providers to accounting firms.) Maybe it is related to climate change (shipping products across the world increases carbon footprints). How much "extra" are you willing to pay for environmental and safety reasons? (Many countries can produce products cheaper than we can due to less stringent (or non-existent) regulations regarding pollution, human rights, and consumer safety.) So, deciding "why" you want to "Buy American" will help make it an important part of your buying decisions.

THE CONVERSATION STARTERS

  • Are you already buying American-made products? If not, why not?
  • Black likes to say, "Printed in the U.S.A. is the most expensive sentence of our book, as it more than doubled its cost." Why do you think she did it? What would you have done?
  • When the U.S. government says it's going to buy American, that can have a significant impact. Do you think that one person can make a difference? Explain your answer.
DON’T MISS A THING
For Red & Black Banter in your inbox ...
FOLLOW US ON

So, the college applications, including financial aid, are done. And even though my daughter understood what it would entail, until you're actually in the midst of it, you don't appreciate it's a lot of hard work. And stress.

Now the difficult part … waiting. Wondering which of the schools will accept you. Hoping that you'll have options, including at least one on your "wish list". Well, before you know it, you'll hear back and will be faced with having to make a decision. One that may feel like the biggest decision of your life, so hopefully, these five steps will help …

Keep Reading ... Show less
True
Design by Sawyer Pennington

People have told us they're using our sisterly banter to start conversations with others (family, friends, and even in classrooms), so Black created "Conversation Starters". Stay tuned as we'll be introducing new topics on a regular basis!


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io


I have to tell you that when I first moved to Houston, I was not only totally clueless about how to deal with hurricanes, but was really scared of them. Years later, it's not like I welcome them, and after having to evacuate from Hurricane Harvey, I still can feel myself stressing out at the mere mention of a potentially serious hurricane coming our way. But, at least, I have my beloved lists, and year-round I have many things already in place (non-perishable food, plenty of water, candles, and extra batteries) plus last-minute items (keeping all my gizmos charged, gas in the car), the lists go on and on. But when last month's Texas winter storm was first forecast, it caught me off guard as I realized that a prolonged cold weather event has its own range of serious issues not typically experienced in Houston and the surrounding areas – like how to protect pipes and deal with loss of power when you have sub-zero temperatures for a long period of time. It's frustrating because although I'm a planner and love my lists, I felt totally unprepared.


black head assets.rebelmouse.io

What happened in the Houston area, and Texas, during that storm is inexcusable and was avoidable. And embarrassing as it was such a massive "fail" of a major point of state pride: energy independence. For individuals, there is a limit to what you can do for a rare event such as a historic winter storm as our houses and apartments were never constructed for extreme cold.

I, too, was as prepared as possible but there comes a point where you have to recognize that somethings are totally out of your control. And, all you can control is how you deal with the situation. Within a few hours of my high-rise losing power (we frequently lose power), I booked a room in a hotel down the street that still had power as I would rather have a room that I did not need versus needing one and not be able to get it (the hotel was totally booked within hours). I know that I was extremely fortunate – for many reasons. Unfortunately, many people were left with minimal or no options. Hopefully, Texas will start taking action now in order to be better prepared for next time …

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  • How much can you prepare for the unexpected without driving yourself (and others around you) crazy?
  • What potential weather-related events can cause disruptions to your life? Do you have an emergency plan in place? If not, why not? If so, do you review them on a regular basis?
  • Hindsight should be 20-20. Did you learn anything from this storm (or other weather events) that will help you be better prepared for future events? If so, what?