As one gets older, really old, many wonder what would they feel like then. What, if any, would their regrets be. While these would be very specific for each individual depending on their life journey, its like likely that a number of rerets aand happy moments experienced by older people might apply to you too. A religious minister of the church shares what she heard as the most commonly articulated regrets from people in their 90s. You may want to think about it and if you wish to fix them for yourself there is still enough time. Team RetyrSmart
Avoid regrets in late life. Learn from what the older people have to say
What 90-somethings regret the most
I began each conversation by asking if they had any regrets. Their responses abounded with self-blame and deep sorrow.
They all expressed similar sentiments: “If only I had done this differently.” “If I could have seen this coming, maybe I would have done something differently to prevent this.”
I was intrigued to learn that their biggest regrets had little to do with their careers, missed opportunities or things they didn’t achieve. Rather, their pain came from failures in their relationships.
- They regretted not cultivating closer relationships with their children.
- They regretted not putting their children on the right path in life.
- They regretted not taking risks to be more loving, such as being more open about their feelings for new people or more affectionate with those already in their lives.
- They regretted not being better listeners; they wish they had been more empathetic and considerate.
- They regretted not spending enough time with the people they loved.
The happiest moments of their lives
I then switched up the mood by asking them about their most joyful memories. Each and every person I spoke to cited a time when their spouses were still alive or their children were younger and living at home.
I found this surprising, as their answers seemed to contradict the “U-bend of life” theory, which suggests that our happiness generally dips in our 30s and reaches a bottom in our mid-40s. Then, at 50, it rebounds and continues to increase years after.
But the people I interviewed said they were the happiest from their late-20s to mid-40s, when they were raising kids and trying to figure out who they were — the exact phase of my life right now.
When I asked one man if he wishes he had accomplished more, he responded, ‘No, I wish I had loved more.’
How to live a happy and regret-free life
The lesson, it appears, is that now is the time to be crazy, overextended, in love, curious and explorative.
That might sound unrealistic at first; parenting is hard, marriage can be emotionally taxing, work is crazy and “leisure time” is so limited. But if we take these fleeting moments for granted, we’ll regret it later on.
According to my 90-something interviewees, the secret to happy and regret-free life is to savor every second you spend with the people you love.
Put another way, when I asked one man if he wishes he had accomplished more, he responded, “No, I wish I had loved more.”
Despite their deepest regrets, the elders I met still laugh like crazy, fall madly in love and fiercely pursue happiness.
Turns out, aging ain’t so bad after all.