15 Things Many People Say They Regret Now That They're Older


Everyone experiences regret, even if they think they don't.

While most people are able to move forward in life, knowing that they've done something they regret, others let their regrets manifest into a huge weight on their shoulder.

Regret should never define a person, but inspire them to become a better version of themselves.

As you get older, it's normal to regret more things than when you were younger, but it's important to share these lessons to younger generations.

So whether you're here to share these points to a child, sibling, grandchild, or maybe yourself, reflect on these 15 points.

Here are some of the most common regrets people have shared on the internet, and it's seriously an eye-opener!

1. "Not resolving family conflict"

Let bygones be bygones.

You can't change people; The only person you can change is yourself.

Many older folk express that they regret not being the first one to resolve family conflict, especially with their own parents.

And others express not resolving conflict with their siblings or children.

As Bernard Melzer once said, "When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the future."

2. "Feeding the worry bug"

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I'm guilty of this all the time. The fact is, prolonged anxiety has been found to shorten one's life span.

It's not always about how long you live, but the quality of your life.

Sometimes things don't happen because they're simply not meant to be, and when people get older, they understand this more and more.

The people who regret being a worry bug say they actually don't regret the things they've done, rather they regret having felt a huge sense of worry every step of the way.

3. "Not expressing my true feelings"

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In hindsight, you know all the things you should or shouldn't have said. But remember, it's never too late.

If you think it is, that idea will always hold you back. Many older people attest this.

According to an article by Today titled 8 Lessons from older Americans, one of the biggest regrets of people who are in the final decades of their life is not spending enough time deciding on the right life partner.

If you love someone, don't hold back, and if you don't love a particular person, walk away, because one day you'll sit and wonder what could have been.

4. "Living life for others"

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My mom always told me, "You have only one life, so you might as well make the most of it."

Of course, easier said than done.

Many people don't take enough chances or follow their dreams because they're worried about how others perceive them.

By the time they're older and don't have the same energy or health as they used to, they regret all the chances they didn't take.

5. "Disregarding my health"

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Older people who spent a good chunk of their life smoking, drinking, and eating unhealthy foods often regret those bad habits later on in life.

I get it, when you're young, you feel invincible. The idea that "you'll die a little sooner" is something I've heard time and time again from younger folk.

It's not about living a long life, but having quality of life.

6. "Letting fear control my life"

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Another common life regret is never taking a big risk, not traveling more often, and procrastinating so much until you convince yourself that you never wanted to pursue that dream or goal anyway.

This can be quite toxic, and older people often express that being unable to conquer fear when they're younger makes getting older that much more difficult.

7. "Not standing up for myself"

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Some older folk say one of their biggest regrets is not standing up for what they believe in or not knowing how to handle themselves in a difficult situation, which ended up creating more problems.

As the old saying goes, "Stand up for what is right, even if you stand alone."

8. "Thinking it's too late to start something new"

People love to say, "It's never too late," but how many people take those words to heart?

I remember my grandma always regret never trying out for theater when she was in high school and university.

Then when she started a family, she considered getting into theater to be "impossible."

When she revealed this deep regret to me last year, at the age of 74, I pushed her to try out.

She laughed. One day I surprised her by taking her to our local theater group, who welcomed her with open arms.

9. "Not stopping to appreciate the moment"

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For the first half of our life, we're moving from one thing to another. There's barely enough time to catch a breath and observe what's happening around us.

We all want to be successful in life, but oftentimes the most important aspects of our lives are the little things.

Our milestones are important, but every step of the journey is precious.

10. "Getting caught up in unnecessary drama"

It's tempting to argue with people who simply infuriate you. Instead of condoning these negative people in your life, walk away.

We all must choose our battles. The more we get caught up in unnecessary drama, the more we'll feel like we wasted our lives.

11. "Forgetting to be grateful"

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Gratitude is something most older folk have, and younger people rarely realize.

Many older folk say they regret not being grateful for all the little things in their life when they were younger.

It's a human instinct to crave more things in life. When you're an adult, you work hard for a better house, car, cottage, boat, or maybe more luxurious vacations.

But the more you want these materialistic things, the more empty you'll feel, because that craving tends to become insatiable.

12. "Not spending enough time with loved ones"

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Actress Betty White has always said her biggest regret is not spending enough time with her late husband, Allen Ludden.

"You better realize how good life is while it’s happening, because before you know it, it will all be gone..." she told Oprah on Where Are They Now.

"I spent a whole year, wasted a whole year that Allen and I could have had together, saying, 'No, I wouldn't marry him' ... I wasted a whole year we could have had together."

13. "Not trusting people"

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This regret took me by surprise.

In a video by Glamour Magazine titled "70 people ages 5-75 answer: What do you regret?", one older woman's biggest regret was not trusting people enough.

It's always good to be wary of people's intentions, but in human society, we depend on one another to survive and prosper.

It's not that we should trust everyone, but that we should trust the right people and cut toxic people from our lives.

14. "Downplaying my potential"

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Oftentimes, we tell ourselves excuses as to why we shouldn't pursue something.

Then we'll procrastinate thinking about it, until one day we declare, "Oh well, I guess it's too late."

A majority of older folk express regret over not only pursuing their passions, but downplaying the potential they had to prosper.

15. "Being so upset that I have regrets"

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We all have regrets, whether big or small, but that should never hold us back.

As mentioned before, it's never too late to do the things you want to do in life. If you have the right mindset, you can achieve anything!

Send this to a friend, your children, or grandchildren so that they can make every day count!