Regrets in Old Age

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One of my former students passed away at the end of last week. It was a sudden, tragic accident and unfortunately his heart gave out very soon after. He was just 18 years old. While I didn’t know him for very long, he was a good kid who had turned his life around and wanted to make something of himself, and once again I am reminded of how short life can be. It isn’t the first time that I have experienced this, but it doesn’t get any easier, and I can’t possibly imagine what his family and friends are going through.

I was feeling in quite a philosophical mood today, and this consequently led to the idea of opportunities and regrets that we may have in life. I’ve been lucky enough to achieve some of my goals and have had wonderful experiences, but there is still so much more that I want to do.

Here are the things that I don’t want to regret further in my (hopefully) old age

Working Too Much. I’ve mentioned before about the work/life imbalance that I have, and I’d like to be able to work to live, rather than the other way around.

Not travelling to places that I want to see. I’ve yet to see the Sydney Opera House, the Acropolis, the Hollywood Sign or Alcatraz. And that’s just to start…

Worrying about everything. I’m often told that worries become less as life goes on, but I’ve found the opposite. I need to start asking myself if my current problems will be worth worrying about in a week’s time.

Holding onto grudges. My sister and I don’t have the relationship that I would like. I’m still angry at a family member for what he did to the rest of us. It’s time to move on and let it go.

Not taking risks and being afraid. I can remember at least two incidents where I was afraid to do something and wished I had done it differently.

Taking life too seriously to enjoy it. As with worrying, I often forget to see the funny side of things. I need to laugh more.

Not taking care of my health. I have abused my body atrociously over the years, and have gone from being a fit, athletic sporty – type to someone who is a couch potato sack of potatoes. I think that it is time to sort it out.

Not taking time just to make the life of somebody else better. I keep saying that I am going to volunteer and yet never seem to get around to it.

Finally, not taking time just for me. Just to be happy.

What about you guys? Do you have any regrets?

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33 thoughts on “Regrets in Old Age

  1. Death has an amazing way of making us think about life. Do I have any regrets? Yes and no. There are things that I wish I would have done (or not done), but at the same time I think that maybe those things have pushed me in the right direction. I don’t know what the future holds. Some of the difficult things that have happened in my life have given me a larger compassion for humanity.

  2. First: This is a great list of things you do not want to regret later on. ⭐
    Second: I guess that things happen for a reason. It is healthy to look into the future with confidence. And I would also follow your list. 🙂

  3. Sorry to hear about your student, what a horrible loss.

    I have two regrets that come to mind….
    1. wasting my dating and then marrying Mr.Crazy ….
    2. Believing that my mother truly changed and wanted to mend our broken relationship…..the third time I fell for that was the last and final time.

  4. Great post, Suzie. Sorry I’ve been absent for a while – unavoidable life “getting in the way” of blogging. Three people I am close to are seriously ill at the moment. It led me to the same realization you describe so well – we should make the most of every minute in the day, try to resolve problems with those around us and do thiose simple things that make the world of difference for us and those around us.

  5. I have always been a KISS Theory guy – Keep It Simple Stupid.

    Seeing the wonder in the most simple of things as if through the eyes of a curious child has been a good friend to me for nearly 60 years. I highly recommend it.

  6. (hit return too early!!)

    I am really sorry to hear about your student – good luck with focusing on the things that really matter. Life is too short and it is easy to forget that!!

  7. Hi Suzie I hope things are a little calmer for you. In my 32 year old wedding album nearly every guest who was at my wedding have past on, four people who were in my class at school have passed away, its a sobering thought really, my wifes best friend since nursery died at age 24 with a stroke and a heart attack. That is why we live day to day and try and live it to our best and I kick myself when I find me lazing even more so when I am unable to get out because of my condition, I do try and not look backwards but I have two regrets not joining the Royal Navy instead of the RAF and no having a daughter, I love my son, but every father should have a daughter to take down the aisle, I have have two beautiful granddaughters and I wouldn’t swap the for anything.
    Take care, God bless, long life 🙂

  8. Definitely stop worrying! I’ve done enough of that for everyone in the whole wide world. Such a waste of energy. I’m recovering and still somewhat addicted to it – it’s kind of like guilt – a useless occupation.

  9. So sorry to hear about the student’s death, such a tragedy. I’m so pleased for you that it gave you an opportunity to look at your own life though. I do worry about having regrets later in life and I know that the only real regret I would have is not going travelling so I plan to rectify that next year. Other than that I always try to live my life without regrets, I can’t look ill on anything I have done because it has all got me to this point of my life where I am happy and loved – what more could we ask for?

  10. Sorry about the kid. No point in having regrets, what´s done it´s done, you can´t go back in time so why pound your head against the wall over and over again. You learn from your past experiences and move on, about worrying….it´s part of life, you gotta know how to handle it though so it doesn´t overwhelm me. I look back at my life and sure I would change some things, but at the same time I don´t regret what I´ve done, no point in driving me crazy, plus bad things that have happened to me or that I have done I have somewhat managed to turn it to a positive. Positive thinking.
    Damn, you made me think.

  11. How can parents possibly cope with the loss of their 18 year old boy? Very sad.

    I can have no regrets, Suzie. Regrets will leave me anger and bitter and I never want to feel that way. I can have desires and dreams going forward (like you, hoping to make it to Australia), but never regret for what was lost or what I didn’t do. I’m looking to my next 30 years of adventure and I’m excited to see what comes my way. 🙂

  12. Hey Suzie,
    I’m sorry to hear about your former student. It is always sad when someone dies so young.

    When it comes to regrets, I don’t bother. It is my philosophy that the past is in the past. I can’t change it, so why worry about it?

    I do agree that there are things to do in the present that can help prevent regrets in the future. Travel, see the world and stop worrying fall into those categories. But I do not think holding a grudge is always a bad thing. There are some things that can never be forgiven. And I do not regret those few grudges that I hold. (I am very slow to anger, and it is rare that I get angry enough to hold a grudge, but the grudges that I do hold have very good reasons that border on criminal, so I don’t think it is worth regretting.) The actions of others are beyond our control, so there is no reason to regret anything that is related. If you are holding a grudge, then maybe you are not ready to forgive.

  13. I’m so sorry to hear about your former student. (One of my former students was killed in a gang related shooting, and I was devastated, so I understand how shocking and awful it is.)

    Amazing list of regrets to avoid!

  14. I’m so sorry to hear about your student. As a former teacher myself, I can imagine how devastating that must feel. Whether in your classroom for a day or a full year, a student always makes an impression on you. Thank you for sharing.

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