Many people look back on their lives filled with all sorts of regrets. Here are some of the most common things people wish they had done differently:
Romance. They spent their 20s being in love with people who didn’t love them. They wish they could take back all of the time they wasted on the romantic drama, but they can’t.
Children. They assumed that unlike career accomplishments, kids just happen. Then they hit 40 and their eggs are old because they put their priorities in the wrong place. Or if they do have kids, they wonder why they aren’t bonded or give a damn about them as adults. Live on less and participate in your family more.
Parents. Instead of spending time with their parents, they rebelled or gave them a hard time. You cannot negotiate with death; it’s final, often sudden, and very personal. When your parent dies, a door is closed that will never open again. So if you have good parents, stay connected as long as you can.
It’s ironic that people are more likely to stay connected to bad parents than good parents. The reason is, if you had good parents, you’re probably happy and doing well in life. But if you had really bad parents, you spend your time trying to turn them into good parents. Instead of getting on with your life, you stay inexorably and unhealthily connected to your bad parents.
Education/Career. They wish they had followed their dreams instead of going to college and doing what their parents expected them to do. Instead of believing in their talents, passions, and dreams, they got a post-secondary education that ended up in mounting student loans and a place in the job hunting pack.
I almost did that. In order to prove to my dad that I was super smart, I earned my Ph.D. in physiology from Columbia University. However, when all was said and done, I pursued my credentials in psychology because I preferred to be a therapist (which my dad thought was crap). I figure that I have helped more people doing my passion than I would have experimenting with mice and learning cell theories. You have to ask yourself what you really want to do. What do you enjoy? What’s your passion? Most people in college shouldn’t really be there because they’re not learning anything of value to them, and they’re not on the road to where they want to be.
Bad Health. They regret not taking care of their bodies or getting the psychological help they needed.
Friendship. They feel bad about putting everything above maintaining friendships and not asking for help when they needed it.
Finances. They wish they hadn’t worried so much about money and taken more chances. A lot of people will tell you that if you quit a certain job, you won’t find anything else. But you will.