When it comes to life’s regrets, we all have this in common… 57



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Most of us have regrets in life, although surprising new research has revealed there’s often a common theme connecting us. In fact, we are all more likely to regret things we didn’t do, as opposed to things we did.

Last month, a team of video researchers erected a blackboard in New York City. Here they asked people to write down their biggest regrets. The responses collected were poignant and powerful, including:

– I regret not saying “I love you”
– I regret not pursuing my artistic passions
– I regret not staying in touch with friends
– I regret burning bridges
– I regret never speaking up
– I regret everything I put my body through
– I regret staying inside my comfort zone
– I regret not getting involved
– I regret not having babies before my dad passed away

Interestingly, the researchers noted most people regret “chances not taken”. Regrets are normally about “words not spoken” and “dreams never pursued”, the research video also stated.

In an unrelated study, Professor Karl Pillemer from Cornell University spoke to over 65-year-olds about their life regrets. He also discovered an overwhelming theme.

“I wish I hadn’t spent so much of my life worrying”, the majority of people told Professor Pillemer. “It’s my responsibility to be as happy as I can, right here, today”, one lady even added.

Professor Pillemer explained that many over-60s he spoke to perceived worry as a wasted effort. “We worry when there is actually nothing concrete to worry about”, Pillemer explained.

“This kind of worry (ruminating about possible bad things that may happen to us or our loved ones) is entirely different from concrete problem solving”.

The beauty of life though, as the researchers in New York pointed out, is that every day is a clean slate. Even at age 60, it’s not too late to pursue the dreams we’ve forgotten, and we can also teach ourselves to worry less.

What is your biggest regret? Do you still have life dreams to pursue? Would you like to worry less? What advice would you give your younger self?

Watch the video from New York City here:

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I have to admit I am and have always been a worrier and have never been able to control the emotion.

    3 REPLY
    • Sorry to hear you’re a worrier, Fred, but hope you are able to worry your way out the other side, mate.

    • Thanks John, it’s only been in the last decade that I’ve realised that this is something that I thought was normal but isn’t. Fingers crossed.

    • Nothing wrong with that! Just proves you are human, forget the normal… What is normal anyway? 😉

  2. Life is too short for regret. What is done is done and even if we do regret things that did or didn’t happen there is little value in dwelling on the past.

  3. I regret never being a naked fan dancer but I will sadly have to live with that regret as I can’t find a big enough fan now 🙂

    9 REPLY
  4. I am thinking hard. No, no regrets. I appreciate where my life is at. I do suffer from anxiety. I find the best way for me to cope with worry is to do what the Buddhists do, if something out of your control is going to happen worrying will not stop it. If it doesn’t happen then what was the point of worrying. Here is another one, worrying about tomorrow spoils the joy of today. Live in the moment. Maybe that is my regret, wasting all those todays worrying about tomorrow.

  5. My greatest regret was getting married too young ….. instead of joining the Navy ….. That was my dream but didn’t eventuate.

  6. Mabe I could have given my kids a little more freedom?? But then again mabe not whose to know? I was a little overprotective mabe..oh whatever it felt right at the time and they are both good kids

  7. Worry achieve’s nothing all it does is make you grow old faster. If you can make your life better then do it. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith..

  8. No regrets. At my age every day is a precious gem. One must look forward not backwards or risk turning into a neurotic mess.

  9. Nothing more really, I’ve had a wonderfully good and happy life with just enough sorrow for me to realise it. I’d have loved to adopt two more children had my husband wanted too.Two boys Michael, new born who I breastfed at Calvary for eight weeks and Paul, from the Catholic orphanage in Hobart, he was four, a few weeks older than our eldest son. However now I can understand that my husband was worried he might not have always been able to support and educate all the children. We divorced one of those sorrows, but we are again 25 years on very close again and dear friends. I have a wonderful life living with my sister who has always been my soul mate, what more could I be blessed with at 72. We will be together now until an end of life takes place. We can love laugh and enjoy every day living here in Southern Tassie on our farm and with our dogs.

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