By: Helen Hignett
It’s a life long process and not an easy one, but it’s worth the hard work to know you’ve lived a happy life and not just existed. So figure out what will help you do that and you won’t regret it.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a lot of people from many diverse backgrounds and in their own way, however big or small they have all taught me something, but the lessons that have been the most profound have come from negative situations and people of the older generation and sadly the ones closer to death.
As children we are carefree, we live in the here and now and we rarely care about anything but the present moment, and this is a thing of beauty in and of itself to be that free. Unfortunately, the innocence of childhood doesn’t last too long and before we know it we are young adults and quickly become aware of the responsibilities, horrors, and atrocities in the world.
Many, if not all of us have uttered something similar to ” Oh, to be young and carefree again ” reminiscing about things we did as carefree children, however, the reality is we can’t go back in time, so why not try having that same living for the moment mindset now as adults, live for today so that we aren’t wracked with regrets later in life. I know that’s a lot harder to put into practice with the reality and chaos of life but take each day as it comes.
When those people I have had the pleasure to meet share their regrets and pearls of wisdom I have tried to take on board the one thing they ALL have in common, It’s better to regret doing something than doing nothing. I don’t want to be on my death bed, telling my children and grandchildren about my regrets and hoping they don’t make the same mistakes.
No matter how old you are if you aren’t happy in your life, have the courage to change it, it’s not easy I know from experience but it’s bloody worth it.
These are the 7 common regrets I’ve found in older people and I hope they inspire you to make a change should you feel they resonate with you.
1. NOT BEING HAPPY
It shouldn’t come as a surprise but we are in control of our own emotions. We may be affected by something in the outside world but we choose how we process and react to the situation. Take on board what happened, process your emotions and then move on. Change how you look at things, try to find the positive and it will make you happier and healthier and make your life more fulfilling in the long run.
We need to remember to live in the now, we can’t change the past and the future is just that, If we find ourselves longing for either we miss out on the present therefore never truly experiencing life and embracing the moments as we live them.
2. NOT EXPRESSING YOUR TRUE FEELINGS
This is one many of us struggle with and I’m no exception, We fear telling someone we love them in case it isn’t reciprocated, we lie or cover something up to save hurting someone’s feelings but at the end of the day, none of this benefits anyone. So say what you feel and mean what you say, if you love someone tell them, if you don’t like something or have a different opinion find a way to express it, live an honest life, you will sleep better for it.
3. NOT FOLLOWING YOUR DREAMS
We all have dreams and aspirations, they may change over time but we still have them and it’s only yourself that is stopping you from following through on them, it doesn’t matter what it is as long as you take the steps to try and achieve it, you may not achieve it, but there are more lessons in failure than not trying at all.
4. WORKING TOO HARD
Unfortunately, we need money to buy the necessities of life and in turn, we have to work to earn that money. Yes, it’s nice to have the big house, the flash car, luxury holidays but what is all that when you have no one to share it with, or you are never home to enjoy the house because you are too busy working to earn more money.
None of that will matter when you are on your death bed, what you will remember are the memories you make with your loved ones and watching your children grow, so make that your priority all work and no play is no fun for anyone, not to mention the toll it takes on both your physical and mental health taking you to your deathbed earlier than planned.
5. WORRYING TOO MUCH
We all have bills to pay, children to raise and choices to make but there is no point in worrying about something we have no physical control over, if you allow these worries to take control over you, you will never leave the house to enjoy life. Cross the bridge if and when it comes, life passes us by in the blink of an eye and before we know it we are getting our pension and realizing how pointless all these worries were.
6. CARING TOO MUCH ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK
One of the greatest freedoms is genuinely not caring about what other people think about you. Society can be very judgemental, it’s evidence everywhere but true happiness is found within yourself and not allowing the negative opinions of others impact on that and it will only lead to insecurities and depression.
If you want that piece of cake eat it, if you want to wear that dress wear it, do what makes you happy and if people decide to have an opinion it’s only because they aren’t happy themselves, but then what would you care as you are too busy being happy and enjoying life to notice anyway.
7. TAKING LIFE FOR GRANTED
At some point, I’m sure we have all taken life for granted, but every day is a miracle, we are not guaranteed tomorrow, so we need to appreciate it whilst we can. Enjoy the cuddles and goodnight kisses we give our children, the love and kindness from the people in our lives, the breathtaking views, the food we eat, the sun shining down on us, the birds singing in the morning, an amazing cup of coffee. All these are wonderful moments that some don’t get to experience so don’t take them for granted, waking up each day is something to be thankful for.
At the end of the day only you have the power to change your life and live one that makes you truly happy and fulfilled and only you knows what will help you achieve that. It’s a life long process and not an easy one, but it’s worth the hard work to know you’ve lived a happy life and not just existed. So figure out what will help you do that and you won’t regret it.