Lunchtime Wisdom

Whenever I learn something new, I foolishly assume everyone else knows it too. Working with kids has helped show me that youth are still curious to uncover life's biggest truths.



Rosa’s favorite part of lunch is her chocolate treat.


Today, I ate lunch with the 7-year-old at camp along with her older sister and her new friend under a cherry blossom tree. They enjoyed asking me questions as they munched on their parent-packed lunches.


When it was time for Rosa to eat her chocolate, she asked me, “You need sugar to survive, right?”


“Yeah, kind of. You need carbohydrates, which the body uses for energy. Some kinds of sugar can be good for you, but it shouldn’t always come from candy,” I told her.


She giggled, understanding my point as she pulled out her piece of chocolate from her lunchbox.




As Rosa started tearing away the silver foil, she cleared her throat, preparing to read something from the wrapper.


We sat in silence as she began reading, “In the end, you’ll only ever regret the chances you failed to take.”

“It’s true,” I said as I nodded my head. The three of them looked eagerly at me with blank stares.


“Do you understand what that means?” I asked Rosa.


“No,” she said as she shook her head. The other girls remained silent as they waited for my response.


“It means that at the end of your life you’ll only ever be upset about the things you didn’t try. You’ll wish you had taken more chances.


For example, if you want to audition for the school play, but you don’t because you’re too scared, you’ll regret it. If you try out anyway, and even if you don’t get in, you’ll be glad you tried. It’s always better to go for it than not to, and wish you did.”


The girls collectively let out a breath of air, enlightened by this new concept, yet a sense of curiosity still lingered in the air.

When you’re young, you unapologetically do what feels good. You ask someone to be your friend, you perform a silly skit, you tell people you love them. Regret is not in your vocabulary.


As you age, your newfound ability to overthink gets in your way. Chances you once would have easily taken feel more distant as fear blocks your view.


Before we know it, we’re making decisions based on others’ opinions. We don’t try out for the school play because our friends told us we suck at acting. We don’t move to the city because our parents told us we’d fail. We don’t try for that promotion because our coworkers told us we’re not capable.


We stop taking chances in order to gain others’ approval. We say goodbye to our wildest dreams so that we can fit in with the crowd. We no longer do what feels good for us as an individual, but what is best for the common good.


What happened to your creativity, your imagination, your zest for life? Have you forgotten that your life is yours?

What if we could reignite the awe we felt as children? We could all become a little less insecure and a lot more daring, fully experiencing what life has to offer.


Rosa’s favorite part of lunch is her chocolate treat.


She doesn’t care about what other people think, whether it’s healthy for her, or if it makes her seem weird, she knows it’s her favorite, and that’s all that matters.

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