This I Have Learned: Perhaps

Mary Jo Bellner Swartzberg

Perhaps … or in other languages: Tal Vez, Womöglich, Forse, 也許, Магчыма, ‘S dòcha, 多分, Có lẽ, Być może, Возможно, אפשר, शायद

Perhaps. It is an interesting word, and it is used in every dialect on the globe. Apparently, everyone on the face of the earth uses the word.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, there are several definitions for the word perhaps, meaning:

1. Possibly,

2. To make a less definite statement,

3. To give a rough estimate,

4. To agree or accept something unwillingly, and

5. To make a polite request, offer, or suggestion.

The word perhaps might also suggest looking back and having regret for not doing things in one’s life. Could it be that people see the end of the tunnel, so to speak, and determine that it is time to re-evaluate past relationships, issues, or the what-ifs while still living? Perhaps. Maybe this is human nature—that is, looking back. If so, here are some thoughts one might have:

Perhaps I should have:

* Spent more time with my children as they were growing up;

* Told my wife/husband that I loved her/him more often;

* Worked harder in high school/college;

* Been more involved with clubs or in activities in high school/college;

* Watched my weight more;

* Tried my hand at art or sports while I was younger;

* Learned how to play bridge;

* Spent more time in the kitchen to learn how to cook;

* Learned another language;

* Read more, such as the classics;

* Been more outgoing and become involved in community theater;

* Dated more when I was younger;

* Been less of a complainer and more of a positive person;

* Taken better care of my health;

* Become more involved with my faith system;

* Volunteered with not-for-profit organizations;

* Used my professional skills more since I have retired;

* Apologized to my children or friends whom I have not spoken to for a duration;

* Called to check up on my parents, aunts, and uncles with more frequency;

* Paid more attention to what my parents said;

* Tried to drop grudges that I have held onto for years;

* Been more accepting of people who are different than I am—in political views, ethnicity, race, sex, and religion;

* Kept in touch with friends who knew me in high school or college;

* Traveled more to experience new cultures;

* Exercised more;

* Taken more interest in others;

* Learned to be a better listener;

* Appreciated my significant other more;

* Tried different foods;

* Gone birdwatching to learned about our feathered friends;

* Listened to my significant other more, and with intent;

* Been more forgiving of others;

* Been more loving towards others; and

* Been more forgiving and loving of myself.

Some people have said that we should not look back. But, perhaps (maybe?) this quote says it all:

“You live life looking forward, you understand life looking backward.” —Søren Kierkegaard (Danish theologian, philosopher, poet, social critic, and religious author who is widely considered to be the first existentialist philosopher)

This I have learned …