Zadra Creative Blog

If I Had My Life to Live Over

Ideas for making the rest of your life the best of your life.

Erma Bombeck was one of America’s most beloved authors and humorists. For more than 30 years she wrote more than 4,000 hilarious newspaper columns chronicling the everyday life of a suburban housewife and her kids. By the 1970s, Erma’s columns were read twice weekly by 30 million readers in 900 newspapers across the U.S. and Canada.

She once said, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say to God, ‘I used everything you gave me.'”

In 1995, Erma was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Shortly thereafter she published the following column, a dog-eared copy of which I still keep tucked in my “life’s little reminders” folder:

If I had my life to live over . . .

  • I would have talked less and listened more. I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.
  • I would have eaten the popcorn in the “GOOD” living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
  • I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
  • I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
  • I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
  • I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.
  • I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while participating in life.
  • I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.
  • I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
  • Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment realizing that the wonderment growing inside me was one of the only chances in life to assist God in a miracle.
  • When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later, now go get washed up for dinner.”

If I had my life to live over, there would have been more “I love you’s” . . . more “I’m sorry’s” . . . but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute . . . look at it and really see it . . . live it . . . and never give it back.


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