10 Things Old People Say They Regret NOT Doing 


Muhammad Ali rightly said that old age is just a record of one’s whole life. While aging is a natural phenomenon, making the most out of life is the choice of every human. 

David and his colleagues in their book, Emotion, showed that people do have regrets bordering on who they are, who they should be, and who they would have been given the ideal circumstances. Guess what? Old age makes regrets appear more of a loss than an opportunity cost.

Old people can be said to have little time to undo and amend situations of the past. Sometimes, sickness and loss of a treasured person call forth “had I knowns” and “how I wish-s” in quite a number of aged men and women. Life happens, and so does regret.

In this blog post, we’ll be sharing with you the 10 most common things old people say they regret not doing. 

  1. Not being very expressive of their emotions with people

Being open to saying things in words, and showing in actions how one feels inside could be thought of as easy to do. However, for many people, making known their innermost feelings of interest and emotions of love and hatred is difficult. 

Unfortunately, as life draws closer to the end for them, they feel it should have been otherwise: they should have professed more about how much they love their spouses and friends; they should have bought gifts and picked flowers more often; they should have told someone off and stood for the right things; they should have told people how much they needed them. 

Having so much that was unsaid or undone proves to be a source of regret for the aged.

  1. Missing out on moments

This also implies being absent in person and in mind to family and friends. Time flies more swiftly than the bird of the air.

Moments to make memories are as simple as reading a bedtime story to one’s child or the sounds of merriment in a family get-together.

What many failed to realize before old age dawned on them is when they looked back to find themselves struggling to remember valuable moments made with their children, spouses, and friends. If only they could turn back the hand of time!

  1. Those that had moments more often regret living for others than for themselves

People indirectly expect that the satisfaction of all their desires should be met by the person readily available to help. Inasmuch as such expectations are impossible to meet, it is saddening to note that many people have been caught in that cozy trap all their lives. 

From dressing the way that pleased others than oneself, to marrying who others like more than one do. There is no end to what people will ask of others. Some old people wished they had lived far from trappers, and lived for who they were. 

Unfortunately, that has become an emotional pain difficult to undo. Not only does a sense of worth go missing; lifetime losses of the joys of living are too much to bear for many victims.

  1. Mourning pain and failures for too long a time

The ups and downs of life are inevitable for the moving man. That becomes a sudden reality to the aged who spent most of their rewarding lives being miserable over circumstances over which they had little or no control toward. 

Death, abuse, the collapse of a business venture, relationship break-ups, and chronic health conditions are situations that are very loaded with inexplicable pains. It is okay to feel the pain and to mourn deeply for such mishaps. But life continues, as we all know.

The time to get up and move on came and disappeared for the folks who dwelt on the past that gave them pain. 

Before they knew what they must have done to their poor selves, opportunities to love again, to build again, to be committed again, and to live joyously again danced past them. They say it is regrettable, and we can’t agree less.

  1. Not taking enough risks

Life is in itself a risk, even though it is an unconscious one.

To leave every act of living to chance has been tagged as the best mistake any human can ever make, with outstanding results. 

If all equations are to be gotten right before investing in a cause, that could have brought unending cycles of inadequacies on the part of the prospective investor. 

Most old people, if given another chance, would go back to living in the moment where taking risks is as healthy as waking up from bed every morning. They would have trusted their gut feelings less and believed in their abilities more. 

They would have chosen to make mistakes and learned from them rather than live in the perfect maze of uncertainties. They would have just gone on to live life in their comfort zones.

  1. Being less helpful to the needy

Philanthropic actions are truly enjoyable when one is able to carry them out in health and youthfulness. In spite of having the needy amongst us all the time, many of the aged amongst us have become too dependent on the welfare of others to cater to the less privileged. 

The strength to take part in community services has dissipated in old age. For those who embraced the privilege to minister to the incapacitated, and to volunteer for the good of others, old age is a gift well accepted. 

For those who think they should have done better toward the needy, old age is an awful time clothed in regrets.

  1. Not taking care of their health

Overzealousness to work and business can rob one of the necessary attention toward one’s health. Subtle signs of deteriorating health turned to become visible once the vigor that once marked the essence of one’s life eventually crumbles.

There are many poor health conditions in the aged that could have been absent if only routine health checks were undergone and if the right meal or rest routine was adhered to.

  1. Not letting their children do what they love most

As important as guiding children in making crucial life choices are, many parents regret taking it too far by pinning their wards to a given course of life that selfishly appealed to them. 

Such manipulation, in the end, boomerangs against them through watching their children be a shadow of who they should be and an eternal resentment in their hearts for their parents for contributing to their miserable living.

  1. Not connecting with people of different life inclinations

The beauty of life lies in diversity. Trusting that ethnicity and religion are part of the way of life of the humans makes connection interesting to enjoy. 

Connecting with people outside one’s locality is achievable mainly through traveling. It is sad to say that many grew old without experiencing the fun of trying out exotic foods in foreign lands alongside meeting wonderful personalities from different social and cultural backgrounds. 

Not only is it sad; but it is also regrettable.

  1. Not living their childhood dreams

Maybe they were told to forget the dreams, or they told themselves that they couldn’t live the dreams given people’s logical senses reasoning. 

Either way, it is a thing of regret for old people who still wished that they had been bold enough to do what they had nurtured in their tender hearts to do, even before people had their opinions. 

Such dreams could be building their own houses, marrying the love of their lives, attending college, taking on an “impossible” job, or working for nobody. Instead of those dreams, they lived out realities that they regret in old age.

These regrets are relatable and somewhat unchangeable. For those with much time left, it is not too late to make little changes. A worthwhile life is one where regrets did not have the final say at last.


Thank you.

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