Have you ever imagined what your life would look like 40 years from now? Accomplished? Full of regrets? I am 22 years old and I admit that I can hardly imagine a time when my grandchildren and great grandchildren will be running around me. It seems so far away. However, I can feel time passing.
I like a quote quite a lot, which I have promised to lead my life around: “It's better to regret what you have done than what you haven't”. I think the biggest disappointment is to feel that you could have done more, that you were capable of so much more, that you could have reached so much further if only you had followed a plan. You can find a short list below of 10 things that you might regret when getting older (yes, it’s short but believe me, it will probably be followed by a part 2). After reading them, write them down and think about the changes you can make today to feel accomplished tomorrow!
1. You didn’t travel when you had the chance.
When you get older, trips will become so much harder to do. You probably won’t have the energy to spend hours in museums or exploring unknown streets. Unfortunately, you probably won’t have the same physical strength either. Did you find a cheap flight ticket? Don’t hesitate and take a short holiday. Wander the country, discover beautiful places and create memories that you can joyfully recall when older. Although all the photos are now digital, don’t forget to print some and gather them inside a photo album. I am sure you will look at them with pleasure, together with your grandchildren!
2. You didn’t learn a foreign language.
Believe me, the satisfaction of understanding and speaking a language other than your native one can’t be matched by almost anything else. Over the years, you will realize how easily you could have learned an interesting language – it is not just about the fact that you could have discussed much easier with the people from another country, but you would have felt yourself richer. If you like how Italian, Spanish, even Chinese or Russian sound like, don’t hesitate to start taking classes. While your mind is still ready to learn.
3. You stayed far too long in a toxic relationship.
Any person looking back on a toxic relationship wishes they had ended it much sooner, instead of wasting time and energy in vain. Although all people pass through our lives for a reason, many times we keep clinging to them in vain – they do not have the same values as us and they do not help us to grow individually, intellectually, etc. Although it seems hard to realize, sometimes we need to select the people around us and invest feelings in those who deserve it.
4. The fear of trying certain things.
What’s your biggest fear? Bungee jumping? Or? All the phobias we have in our youth - whether it's amusement parks, trampolines, airplanes or more profound things, such as the fear of leaving your home country or meeting new people - will become regrets in our old age. Don't let yourself reach the question "What would have happened if ...?"
5. You didn’t make physical exercising a priority.
We spend too much of our lives on the couch and, when we’re 50 or 60 years old, we will imagine what we could have done in all this time. Although, as youth, we may not realize how important physical activity is, when we get older we will definitely regret not leaving our comfort zone.
6. You didn’t quit a terrible job.
It is true that we have bills to pay, but this does not mean we have to struggle for years at a job that only consumes us, instead of bringing any satisfaction. In 30 years’ time, if we’re still stuck in an unsuitable job, we will realize this.
7. You haven’t worked enough at school
It is true that grades are not the biggest factor in what you become in life. However, you will realize how easy it would have been to spend the day learning beautiful things and you’ll wish to have paid more attention to educating yourself.
8. You were afraid to say,, I love you”!
Don’t be afraid to say “I love you!” when you truly feel it. Many people avoid revealing their feelings because of vanity or vulnerability. However, over the years you will realize how accomplished you are at sharing your love and abandoning your fears of not receiving anything back.
9. You cared too much about what people think.
In 20 years’ time, you won’t care anymore about the bad things you used to worry about. We consume ourselves for a word that we have probably misinterpreted for gossip or a small unfounded insult which hurt us. Instead we should be concentrating our attention on the beautiful and good things in our lives. The more we worry about being and doing what other people want, the sadder and more unaccomplished we feel. When we’re old, we will realize how naive we were to have cared so much ... when we should have treated other people’s opinions with indifference and thought only about our own wellbeing.
10. You haven’t done enough volunteering.
At an older age, you will realize that when you help people around you, you make the world a better place. That will make you feel infinitely more accomplished. Start gathering from an early age the most beautiful volunteering experiences, so that when you get older, you can remember the people you met and the actions that brought them happiness.
At an older age, King Solomon, a wise ruler of the Jews, admitted that youth must not be wasted. In the book of Ecclesiastes he wrote: “You who are young, be happy while you are young and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart!”. Every night before you fall asleep, take time to think about the people, things and daily experiences that make you feel blessed. And if you can only count a few, i say it’s time to reorganize your priorities!