The way I see it, life is divided into four stages. In the first stage, when we're very young, we are taken with how amazing it everything is. We constantly discover and explore new things and there is a joy of living that is unmatched by anything.
As we grow a little older, we enter a second stage. In that stage of life, we hold onto the illusion that we have the means to control the events of our life and the people who inhabit our corner of the world. The down side of this is that, as we focus on all of our efforts to control outcomes, we miss out on many of the small and beautiful things that are right in front of us. They invented the phrase, "stop and smell the roses", for just this reason. Sadly, the control we imagine we have is an illusion and, even when our plans come together the way we thought we wanted them to, our gains almost always fall far short of what we imagined they would be. Our lives are filled with frustration and conflicting feelings.
In the third stage of life, we begin to recognize that controlling the people and events in our lives are an illusion and that we simply don't have the power to do that. If we have power at all, it is the ability to control how we react to the events and people we encounter in our lives. This is where I find myself. Stage III terminal case of life.
In recognizing that we can only control how we react, we also start to realize that it is important to store up as many wonderful memories as we can for that final Stage IV, when all that's left to us is to savor the memories we made as they fade, one by one. A time when we recall the smell of a rose or the wonderful shape of an orchid and we smile inwardly for having stopped to experience them.
In the end, we regret most the things we didn't do.