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One of my Biggest Regrets is Saying "No" to a Trip More than 30 Years Ago


I was 16 and in my junior year in high school. My sister was studying abroad in Costa Rica for a semester and my dad said, “I’m going to Costa Rica to visit Danielle. Wanna come?”

I wanted to go sooo badly but I was torn because my basketball team had some final playoffs coming up. So I decided to stay home and play with the team. I mean, that was the responsible thing to do.

The play-offs came. The game started. My coach put me in for a few minutes to change things up. He subbed me out again. The game wore on while I watched from the bench and …

we lost in the first round.

Then, my dad came home with pictures of him salsa dancing at a local club, the lights twinkling all around. He had a big smile on his face. There he was hanging out in the town square watching men juggling melons and other fruit with their feet. And finally, I see him again, basking in the sun on pristine beaches with the jungle behind him. He told about the squirrel monkeys swinging through the branches and the sounds of the jungle.

Ouch! I realized I made the wrong decision. I tried to console myself with the thought, Well, there is always next year.

But next year came and it was time to go to college. And then, life came so fast I couldn’t keep up.

Little did I know that it would take me over 30 years to finally visit Costa Rica.

Once again, the timing wasn’t great. It was Christmas. And the boys had commitments with school, church, and friends. You know how busy Christmas is.

But my ex announced to our kids that he was going through another divorce. For my sons, who had spent a great deal of time with his second family, it was a big blow. They felt the loss deeply.

I decided that NOW was the time to finally make that date with Costa Rica. To all of our responsibilities, I said, Nope. Too bad. I’m sorry, we just can’t make it.

I found some flights on sale that worked with our days and, on a whim, we packed our bags to go. For twelve days, we traveled around the country — river rafting, zip lining, swinging on hanging bridges.

Finally, it was my turn to see monkeys … and crocodiles, sloths, toucans, and snakes.

When we returned home, we were exhilarated. It was an epic adventure that we’ll never forget.

The next year, the pandemic hit. I let out a huge sigh of relief because I realized that I almost missed that chance. That exciting time with my boys would never have happened in the years to come because they were heading off into their own lives.

I’m so glad I learned my lesson. To say yes to the inconvenient, memorable thing and no to all of the other demands on our time.

You know what? I can’t even remember the things we missed that Christmas. And I’ll never forget that time we had with each other.

What about you? Are you setting yourself up for some regret? Saying yes to little responsibilities and no to the big, memorable adventures? Don’t make the same mistake I did. Who knows when you’ll have another chance? Start making the calls now. You’re just not going to make it. You’ve got a date with destiny.



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