I should have said grace at my grandparents’ table at age five, letting myself stumble, forget some words, etc. I could have done it so well, and my grandparents would have been touched (and possibly tickled) by my efforts.
I should have auditioned for my high school production of Gypsy (the mom) in high school. I could have done it so well.
How I wish I had visited my Aunt Sue in the hospital the 20 years she was in a coma. Instead I listened to Mom, who advised against it, since I would want to remember my aunt the way she was when she was healthy and vibrant. Looking back, I feel like I could have made a difference, just sitting by her bedside, holding her hand, perhaps singing a song to her. I could have done it so well.
I should have gone to visit my mom and her husband, spent more time with them, appreciated our relationship, been more of a devoted daughter. I could have done it so well.
The “should have’s,” and “could have’s” can be overwhelming. Although I tell myself that regret is the cancer of life, there are times when I reminisce about the things that might have been had I only made the effort, believed in myself more, threw caution to the wind, etc.
One day I will be very old and/or ill, and I will look back on my life and think,
“Why couldn’t I have been happier and more content with all the choices I made, in spite of missed opportunities, etc. Why didn’t I appreciate what I had while I was still able to enjoy it all? I could have done it so well.”