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Adults Share Their Biggest Regrets And How They Played Out

How did I let this happen?

Adults Share Their Biggest Regrets And How They Played Out

There are so many lessons in life that we never fully appreciate. When we're younger we take for granted all the wisdom that is being wasted on us. First lesson... listen closer. Absorb what the elders are saying, they do in fact no better because they've lived it. We all feel invincible when we're younger and we live day by day under the delusion that there will ALWAYS be time. Lesson #2... there will NEVER be enough time. Those are just the tip of the ice burg.

Redditor u/manywoes wanted everyone to share a few important life lessons... To all the older folk (50+), how short is life really? What are some of your biggest regrets? There are some important points here, listen up people.

Hello 60!


I turned 60 this year. Life goes by so fast, especially when you're raising kids. Sometimes you just have to stop and think of yourself here, in this moment because if you don't, it will be gone in a flash.

Regrets? That I didn't believe in myself when I was younger. That I didn't push myself to be the best that I could be. I've had a good life, but I feel I've fallen short of what I could have been.


55 and counting...

55 here, and each decade seems to go faster than the previous, which is scary. Regret not taking more risks, telling people I care for them before they're gone, but am happy with all I've done and look forward to the few fast decades ahead.


Like sands through the hourglass... 

My wife and I are in our thirties and are astonished how years go by so quick... hearing the same about decades is a bit terrifying.


I'm only 24 and already noticed how much faster each subsequent year is passing.


Stay true...

57 here. The old adage is true that life speeds up as you age. Seasons and years fly by now. I've got 3 wonderful grown daughters but the 25 years I spent raising them are mostly a blur. As far as regrets, I wish I had taken more risks and not been held back by fear. I'm working on that now.

The best part of being this age is that I don't give a crap what others think of me anymore. It's liberating. An important lesson I've learned is that we are put on this earth to give of ourselves and to love others and love well. Nothing else matters.

Stay in the moment, be true to yourself, and love, love, love.


40 begins again...


I am emboldened by your desire to take more risks. At the age of 40 I decided to liquidate most of my belongings, suspend my career, and move to the other side of the planet (literally, I'm 12 time zones away from where I was) with no connections or prospects for work.

I had the epiphany that our single most valuable asset in life is time; it's the only thing you're guaranteed to run out of and you have no idea how much you have left. Seen through this lens, it was easy to drop a life that felt routine and safe for the opportunity to seek out new experiences and challenges.

I am barely a month into this new life and, of course, I have had moments of worry and fear about not having a steady source of income, but I have not encountered regret in any form. Here's to spending my most valuable asset in the pursuit of learning through new experience!


Just love...

Im 50.

I didn't tell some of the people in my life that I loved then enough. Then they were gone, taken by accidents or murder. I have never once wished I told someone less that I loved them.


The Reaper is among us...

No one tells you this, but as you get older you experience death. So much death.


On average you experience the death of half of everyone you know.



I'm 50 this year. But actually I'm 20 + a few short phases.

  • Graduate college and start the new job -- now I'm 30
  • We had a baby, now there's 2 -- now I'm 40
  • That baby is already done with high school, and all I did was go to work and buy groceries -- now I'm 50.

Here's the deal, you're brain remains 20 the whole time that stuff happens. I'm still mentally 20, but my body looks old and everyone expects me to play the role of 'older guy' now. F**k them. ACCOMPLISH AS MUCH AS YOU CAN BEFORE 30, because after that life takes off like a rocket.


What are they waiting for?

I will be 64 next month. (That old Beatles song keeps rattling around in my head.) There is more road behind me than in front of me, but it was well-traveled.

I've been happily married for 36 years, We have two sons, one of whom has been with a lovely woman for 10 years, and I wish I could become a grandma before I am too decrepit to enjoy it, but that's their business.


The Second Half...


51 here. The days are long but the years are short. That's my sense of looking back.

So many challenges, mistakes, things for which I can only amend but never change...yet the deep realization that had I not passed through it all, sometimes inelegantly (or, usually inelegantly, tbh) I wouldn't be where I am today. And I've learned from my path so far and like the old, bald guy in the mirror.

There's a book I'm reading that tackles "The Second Half of Life." The first half is building and setting up the self to be autonomous, secure, stable; the second half is letting it all be torn down, expanded, risked... it's when the real adventure begins.

No idea how long I'll be kicking and breathing — mid-life assumes one knows how many days one's life will be, after all, but I'm not stopping growing, learning, experiencing.

I wish I had developed some personal care habits learned over the past 10-12 years sooner. That's one regret, I guess. Yet, I couldn't see the need or efficacy of such self-care 10 years ago. Like what? Therapy, meditation, accountability partners, taking time off instead of "working through life."

Hope that helps a bit to answer the question — this is my best, public answer (I can go into more details with people in private).


Too young to die...

My son died last month at age 35 from undiagnosed illness. Life is not only short, it is fragile. We treat each other as if we are made of concrete. We might chip off a bit or make some cracks, but nothing too important to physical or mental integrity. We are casual in our cruelties and negligent in our care.

We should be aware each of us is a fragile organism that requires attention and careful handling to thrive for as long as possible. That doesn't mean helicopter parenting or constant vigilance. It requires we be wholeheartedly with the organism when interacting, we are responsible in all our interactions, we take care when the organism is at its most vulnerable, we are aware each interaction might be the last with that organism, we tell them how we feel whether good or bad without blame (our feelings are our responsibility, not theirs) and we recognize each organism is unique, but equal to ourselves.

Time goes quicker as an adult. We get tied up with jobs, chores, or pastimes without giving any thought to how we really want to spend the precious minutes we get in life. I have wasted time doing laundry while my son visited. Or worked in my garden while he played with the dogs waiting on me to get done. So many things. When I should've been focused on the people in my life. I can't get those minutes back. Neither can you.

Life is so short mainly because we ignore most of it, waste so much time on trivial things and deny we are all fragile and can be gone in a moment.


Simple plans... 

The key takeaway from this thread is 1. take more risks 2. tell your loved ones that you love them 3. Hit the Gym!


Find a passion! 

53, recently separated, no close friends.

I see my adult kids a couple of times a week. My granddaughter the same.

The days are long but the years are short.

I was never able to manage it, but ferchrissakes find a vocation you enjoy, because you are going to spend a lot of time doing it.

I regret many things, but at the time I did them, they were all I was capable of doing.


Yes to me...

63 yo...

My biggest regret is spending waaay too much time attempting to please other people and not putting myself first more often. People get used to you being a doormat and the one time that you dare to say "No" to someone you are accused of being selfish.


We may live forever...


My biggest regret is that I didn't save enough for my retirement.

Even though being single and childless made it less complicated to go wherever my employer sent me for months or years at a time, I am now facing old age without a family.


No regrets!

Not quite 50 yet, but I do know that the older I get, the older "old" becomes! I reckon 80 is getting on a bit now - I still remember when I thought 30 was over the hill!

Along with a lot of other people here, I have no regrets. Happily married for just on 15 years, no kids, 4 cats, never had an argument, still madly in love with each other =) I don't think there's anything I would have done differently, even if just because exactly where I am right now is so lovely, I wouldn't want to change it =) I lived through being young and doing stupid shit, but it made me who I am now, and I love me, and my life (I sound SO sappy!)

Actually "no regrets" is something I kind of live by - everything I do is exactly the right thing for me to do at that moment in time. Until I was about 30 I hated myself. I came to that right thing/moment realization around then, and that was when I started to love myself.


Listen... and don't inhale! 

55 here. I have only two real regrets: starting smoking, and not paying attention to my grandparents when they would tell me stories about the 1930's and 1940's. Now I would give anything to hear those stories, especially since both sides of my family were in Europe during WWII.

If you're young and still have living grandparents, take the time to listen to every story they tell you instead of just nodding, smiling, praying the story will end soon and hearing nothing but the voice of Charlie Brown's teacher. Years from now you'll be glad you did.

Same applies to your parents, of course.


Back away Satan!

Not keeping toxic people out of my life. I just had a friend rip me off that I knew for about 30 years. He sole my car and is claiming I gave it to him. Had a friend jump into a job I had with a client and decompile my project, and take the project from me. Had a boss that was hitting on my fiancee, even my brother did. Had a boss that made my job a living hell.

I can go on and on, but allowing these people to share any of MY TIME was a regret.

I wish I had quit that living hell job sooner than I did. I which I had broken up with a toxic GF sooner. I wish I was better at filtering out who will be my friend.

It's kind of a balance, I stayed at the living hell job for over 2 years and saved some pretty good money and worked very hard at my programming skills, but it's still allowing others to do this.

All you'll ever have is time, allowing others to make YOUR TIME a BAD TIME is cheating yourself. It's not about being so self centered that you only think about yourself, it's about people that rip you off. I helped a friend from being homeless when his paycheck bounced and I floated him, when I needed help, he said no. Family that doesn't pay you back and won't help you out.

Bosses that can't respect worker, they act like you have no other choice...


Make it worth it! 

It's not that life is short. It's that by the time you get to this age, you've really got a lot more things figured out - like managing money, parenting, how to keep up the yard, etc. So you have all this wisdom you learned mostly from experience, but now you're coming around the final turn heading into the home stretch. Wish it was just halftime.

My biggest regrets are that I didn't get started on a real career before age 30, that I mostly lost connection with my daughters between ages 12 to 22 because we lost common interests and I was traveling too much for work, and my biggest regret is that I didn't treat my wife better than I did all along the way. She's my rock and deserved better than me.

And on that topic, I most highly value having shared 37 years (so far) of marriage. I wish everyone could experience it. It's more than I ever expected. We just keep growing closer. You have so much history together. Words seldom fail me, but it's hard to describe. I fully realize some marriages are just not good, but I'd advise to try harder. We've been through some stuff. It was worth it.


I love you mom! XO


Time missed with my Mom. She was diagnosed and gone within three months. She was 83 , problem is I spent my life so driven / distracted with my life I forgot about her. Sorry Mom.