There is one thing that’s inevitable…
Someday you’ll breath your final breath, before kicking the proverbial bucket.
How much time you have is anyone’s guess, so it’s important to make the most of life.
Live it to the fullest, do all the things you dream to do, and exit the world with no regrets.
But then most of us go about our day as if we’ll live forever; putting off what’s really important until tomorrow.
Today we’ll be looking at those things we never get around to doing, in this article We will look at: 10 things old people say they regret not doing in their life.
was a visionary who left his mark on the world.
His company Apple revolutionized the personal computing world with the invention of the mac, changed the way we listen to music with the launch of the IPod, and connected the world when the first IPhone was released.
Jobs himself was known for his energetic approach to life, inspiring people with his motivational speeches.
Did he have any regrets?
You would think not, and his attitude towards death hints that he likely had none.
On his deathbed, Jobs looked at his sister Patty, then at his children, then at his life partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them, before uttering his final words, “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow”.
His sister, Mona Simpson, described his tone as affectionate, dear and loving.
Though Jobs left the world early at the age of 56, it certainly seems that he did so without regret.
But then Steve Jobs is not your everyday kind of person.
He led an extraordinary life.
What about those of us who will pass away without feeling that we have properly completed the journey?
It seems that many of the regrets people have are the same.
Looking at what the media says and the real life experiences of doctors and nurses who spend time with old people at the end of their life, here are the top ten most common regrets that we came across.
10. I wish I had learned a second language
Somewhat surprisingly, many people depart the world wishing they had learnt a second language.
Maybe they feel they would have been able to connect with more people in life if they spoke more than one language, or that travel to other countries and mixing with different cultures would have been easier.
It could also be that learning languages used to be much harder than it is today with heaps of internet resources, online classes, and language apps- so this regret should not exist for much longer, as you really don’t have any excuses for not following through and learning a language, if that’s something you wish to do.
9. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives.
She was quoted in British newspaper, The Guardian, saying that this regret came from every male patient she had nursed.
Because of working so hard, many people felt that they missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship.
Some women also spoke of this regret, but as most of the people she nursed were from an older generation, when women tended to spend their lives at home running the house and being mothers, this regret was much more common with men.
That’s now changed of course, so it’s likely that in the future, this regret will be high on the list for both men and women.
8. I wish I had been better at expressing how I felt
Bronnie also said that many of her patients expressed regret that they suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others.
Because of this, they never accomplished the things they wanted to.
Some of her patients even developed illnesses due to the bitterness they carried around as a result of hiding their true feelings.
Dr Barton Goldsmith who writes for online magazine Psychology Today says that when you express how you really feel, problems get solved, relationship issues get resolved, and life is easier.
You will also enjoy your life more because you’re not holding on to unhealed or confusing feelings.
7. I wish I had taken better care of my body
if you don’t look after your body, your time to leave will come much faster, so it’s no surprise that many people express this regret on their deathbed.
Obesity, smoking, or excessive drinking, can all drive you to an early death.
Most things in life can be replaced.
A new car or a new house, but you can’t nip down to the shop and buy a new replacement body.
So if this is one regret you think you might
have when your time is up, it’s probably
better to make some changes today.
6. I wish I had been more selective with my romantic relationships
One of the most common fears that people have in life is never meeting their soulmate. The person they are meant to spend the rest of their life with.
And of course this can show up when death is near, with the regret that life was spent with the wrong lover.
Maybe a person has been in a toxic or abusive relationship, or they walked away from the person they were meant to be with.
Many stay in relationships because they worry they may end up alone at the end of life, but when they do reach the end, some of these people are suddenly faced with regret that the romantic choices they made may have been incorrect.
So if you think you’re in this zone, maybe now is the time to get back to swiping on Tinder so you have no regrets in later life.
5. I didn’t need to worry so much
Karl Pillemer, a Professor of Human Development at Cornell University and the author of “30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans, spoke to nearly 1,500 elderly people asking them one simple question: “What are the most important lessons you have learned over the course of your life?” One of the most common responses he received was people saying they wish they had not worried so much.
One example is John Alonzo, an 83 year old
man who had been a construction worker, and who had battled a lifetime of financial insecurity.
But he didn’t think twice in giving this advice: Don’t believe that worrying will solve or help anything. It won’t.
So stop it.
That was it- his one life lesson was simply to stop worrying.
4. I wish I had spent more time outside of my comfort zone
To quote Albert Einstein
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
And if you spend a life doing the same thing over and over, waiting for something exciting to happen, then it probably won’t.
Exciting things happen when you get out there and make them happen.
But it’s often easier said than done, and many of us stick close to comfort in the hope of an easier life.
So when you reach the end and you’re looking back on it as a whole, you’ll be much more proud if you can say that the most unease you felt was that day you went skydiving, not the time you had to choose whether to eat meat or fish at dinner.
3. I could have given back more
Most of us will wait until the bank account is stacked up with cash before deciding to give a few dollars to the local charity, but it seems people find themselves on their deathbed regretting that they didn’t give more.
Giving does not need to be about money though.
More often it’s about helping and supporting others with what you can offer as a human being, and expecting nothing in return.
Maybe you have useful skills, or sometimes
just a listening ear.
Imagine you’re attending your own funeral,
and you hear a friend giving your eulogy.
What would you want them to be saying?
Most likely you would want to hear them talk about what a great person you were, and how you had an impact on their life.
There’s only one way to ensure you get a
eulogy of this kind, and that’s by giving back and by helping others.
2. I wish I pursued my dreams and aspirations, and not the life others expected of me
One of the most common regrets we found was this one: people who had arrived at the end of their life and had missed out on many of their hearts desires because they were too busy living up to what others expected of them.
Our nurse Bronnie Ware said that most people had not honored even half of their dreams, and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made, because of how others might judge them.
There is a freedom that comes with being close to death, but often that freedom is also when you realize the things you missed out on.
So if you have things you feel you should be doing…today, not tomorrow, is when to act.
1. I wish I had spent more time with people I care about
Many of us get caught up in the daily activities of life.
Working, shopping, raising the kids, holidays.
It’s hard not to be consumed by the endless cycle, but then later in life, we’re faced with not having spent enough quality time with friends and family.
With all the research we looked at online, this is the most common regret.
Everyone misses their friends & family when they reach the end, and they start to regret not spending more time with them in life.
It can also work in reverse, where the people who are left behind also feel the regret.
In 2014, when President Obama spoke at a town hall meeting at Malaya University in Kuala Lumpur, he said.
“I regret not having spent more time with my mother.
She died early, she got cancer right around when she was my age, actually, she was just a year older than I am now.
It happened very fast, in about six months.”
Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, died in 1995 of ovarian cancer at age 52, when Obama was 34.
Well, that’s our list of 10 things old people say they regret not doing in their life.
There are of course many more things old people regret.
So, how do you intend to live a life without regrets?
Let us know in the comments!
Also be sure to check out our other articles: 10 Mistakes Most Young People Make & Regret Later in Life
Thanks for reading, and, as always, don’t forget to share.