What Lesson The Treed Park in Ottawa, Ontario in Late Fall Can Teach Us about Regrets and Excuses

When I saw the many unfurnished trees, in the small wooded park, regret pervaded inside my heart. “This wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t keep putting off our plan to visit.”

Fall weather up in the northern hemisphere beckons for cute photos. Gold, orange, burgundy colors litter the background. Contagious smiles underline the foreground. Happiness is palpable, slithering its way from the stills to the spectators’ hearts.

"This weekend. We will take those fall photos this coming weekend."

The weather is crisp, amiable. You and your family huddled together in the car, ready for the main event. You notice a handful of locals spending their pleasant afternoon weather in the park, the last of the year's fall. As you push yourself out of the passenger’s seat, you let out a big grin of excitement.

At the park entrance, at the very first glimpse of the scenery, a wake-up call hit, "Oh no! Where are the gold and orange and burgundy colors of fall?"

The trees stood bare. Branches swayed, devoid of the strumming hums of the leaves dancing to the beat of the wind. "Too late. We came in late." 

life lesson

Weekend after weekend, before the crunchy, brown leaves blanketed the ground, I made excuses. Yes, far too many of them.

One weekend, I crave Texas-style steak, so we went feasting. The next, I wanted to own the pleated skirt I spied at Joe Fresh, so we went purchasing. Then, I wanted to check out in-store the camel coat I spotted online at Zara, we went window shopping.

Those weeks of excuses turned into a month. And each time we put off our plan, the leaves fell undeviatingly, waiting on no one until they are no more.

life lesson
life lesson

What are those things you keep delaying for later? What’s holding you back? Are your current plans for the next 5, 10 years important enough for the future you've envisioned?

Or perhaps you question. Why ruin the current comfort level, why take risks when everything is working fine?

I’m sure my little story is inconsequential to some of the things we face. For many, it’s scary to step out to the unknown, pitfalls await our path, twist and turns summon courage and strength. Naturally, not everyone is willing to face those formidable hurdles, in fact, no one ever is ready to face them.

The part where the battle happens to be the hardest is when we start to challenge the things we believe in, face our self-doubts, question what others will think.

We fear when others shut us down, tread the difficult path alone, go through embarrassment when the prospect didn’t pull through.

Here’s the thing though.

Making excuses instead of putting yourself and your dreams first only leads to a life of mediocrity and regret. 

Are the current excuses worth it compared to the pain of regret you’ll face in the future?

life lesson

As I look out at the late fall scenery, in the treed park tucked in the middle of the city, I knew there’s no one to blame but myself. All the excuses I’ve made, of why we can’t go the previous weekend, isn’t urgent, they can be done later, but the fall scenery only comes once a year.

Thankfully, I’ve learned the art of letting go. It will do me no good to dwell in regret. “It’s okay. Something can still be done today.”

Tomorrow isn't a guarantee. But we still have the gift of today.

In times when we relapse with our plans, know it's okay. Forgive yourself and keep moving forward. The important thing is, you've tried. And even when you fail, your heart is at peace knowing you took the steps, no matter how inconsequential it may be, compared to doing nothing at all.

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