Some people look at bucket lists as a neat little place to store all the wild and crazy things, such as climbing Mount Everest, they’d do if they had a different life or personality. The end of life brings with it tremendous reflection upon the lost, missed, and neglected opportunities.
It’s the time of life where regrets surface over the very tangible and real things they could’ve, would’ve and should’ve done, and these things aren’t necessarily the unrealistic feats so many use to fill their bucket list. Let’s look at the top 30 regrets most people face at the end of the day and how you can set yourself up to avoid them
1. You Only Know One Language
Whether it’s a job application question, pressing a button for what language you’d like to hear something in, or being in a foreign country struggling to communicate effectively, most people find endless situations throughout life where learning a second language would’ve been an asset. Learning a second language isn’t just a fun way to immerse yourself in a new culture. It’s also a career and social game changer.
2. You Didn’t Travel Enough
One of the biggest regrets most people recognize at the end is that they spent their entire lives working and taking care of business at home base and didn’t get to enjoy much of the world around them. This world is huge and full of miraculous sights to behold, and not everything translates into photos.
The magic of Disney, the wonder of the pyramids, and even the adventure of a road trip to nowhere, in particular, is something that must be experienced firsthand to truly appreciate.
3. Fear Overruled Adventure
Numerous studies have shown that people regret never stepping outside their comfort zone. One study by the Allianz, an insurance company showed 25% of respondents had this regret. With personal and financial responsibilities, such as being caretaker for aging parents or young kids, it’s easy to stay in the safe zone.
But, keep in mind that being adventurous doesn’t mean you have to put your safety at risk by jumping from an airplane or cliff diving. There are plenty of thrills to be had that still keep personal safety in a modest realm and balances risk and reward.
4. Relationship Wrongs
Whether it’s platonic or romantic, a big regret is continuing to nurture a relationship that’s one-sided, disappointing, or unhealthy. On the other hand, many also regret not nurturing worthwhile relationships that have broken down simply because they’re hard to maintain because they require extra effort and work.
5. Continued Onward In The Wrong Job
Given a 40-hour work week, the average person spends about a third of their entire lifetime at work. Yes, a third of your life. Since it takes up so much of your life, don’t you think it should be something you enjoy and that brings you fulfillment, not toxicity, resentment, or misery?
Regrets can be working for a paycheck, not fulfillment; working with bad company or management; not putting your finest skills and attributes to work; or just settling for mundane, not challenging, work.
6. Not Finishing Your Education
You only made half-hearted attempts in school. Perhaps, you didn’t finish high school, college, or graduate school. You could’ve realized that you completed the wrong educational path and didn’t want to take the time and resources to backtrack. In any event, education regrets carry forward to your personal and professional life like a stack of dominoes falling the wrong direction.
7. Not Enough “I Love You” Being Said
People too often live by the mantra that they’ll do it tomorrow, but tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone. An accident, illness, and so forth can mean you’re here one second and gone the next. Don’t wait to say nor hear the important things in life. Don’t assume those around you know how you feel and don’t settle for being left with assuming how others around you feel. Say it today.
8. Sweated Your Appearance Too Much
Labels fade. Beauty fades. They’ll always be someone more beautiful, skinny, and youthful. Wasting time obsessing over how you appear to others in how you look, the car you drive, the labels on your possessions, and such is a waste of precious happiness. These aren’t the things that define you, and they aren’t the things by which people will remember you. Focus on allowing what’s inside you to shine in the mirror each day.
9. Didn’t Listen To Your Parent’s Advice
At the time of offering, it often seems like words from people who couldn’t possibly understand. With age, however, you realize your parents weren’t the out of touch fools you once thought. We have to live and learn and follow our own paths over the paths others envision for us. However, it often turns out that you wish you would’ve at least considered the council of your elders on many subjects that they had already lived and learned.
10. Spent Too Much Time And Energy Supporting Others
When you sacrifice your own happiness continually to please others, then you’re doomed to look back on a life full of regret.
11. Spent Too Much Time And Energy On Yourself
If you spend all your time only focusing on your own feelings and desires, then you’ll look back wishing you’d have spent more time building meaningful relationships. There’s a balance between prioritizing your own needs and considering the needs of others.
12. Festered In Failures
Everyone makes mistakes. It’s called being human. Learn what you can from these mistakes. Recognize that repeating the same mistakes over and over is the definition of ignorance. Respect that making amends for a mistake means to strive to not make the same mistake again. But, don’t waste time getting stuck in the past reliving mistakes and letting them moot your productivity. Forgive yourself and move on a wiser and better you.
13. Gripped A Grudge Too Long
There are times where relationships must come to a close if a wrong is so grievous that it prevents a healthy relationship. Life is short, though, and such instances are actually quite few and far between. In most cases, grudges arise out of miscommunications and non-malicious intent that can easily be solved by talking, not ignoring. In either case, holding a grudge doesn’t hold anyone back but yourself.
14. You Weren’t Assertive Enough
Some people have no problem standing up for themselves in all things and with all people. Meanwhile, others may look back at life much differently. They’re remembering all the times they should’ve spoken up or acted on their own behalf.
15. You Didn’t Give Enough Of Yourself Freely
Volunteering your time, skills, talents, resources, and so forth to others less fortune than yourself opens your eyes to the plights of others and allows you an empathic mindset that leaks out into everything you touch within your community. It promotes a sense of purpose and respect that can’t be gained when you’re compensated for your actions. Once you give of yourself this way, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to give freely to those in need.
16. Having A Workaholic Schedule
Of course, everyone has to pay bills and plan for the future of their families. Yet, when life begins and ends at work, you miss out on the value of friendships, the closeness of a family unit, the companionship of a spouse, and the enjoyment and fulfillment of doing the personal things that add value to your life. You’ll regret not balancing your work role with your other roles in life.
17. You Were Too Serious
It’s hard to be carefree when Peter and Paul are demanding a dollar, but just as there’s a balance between work and play, there’s also a balance between seriousness and just being in the moment. Take time to smell the roses and appreciate each moment life affords you. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Laugh at yourself. Don’t stress about the things that are 100% out of your control.
18. Didn’t Get A Family History
Your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other elders have a plethora of knowledge about who you are and where you came from in life. Take time to listen to those stories about your family history. They’ll find great happiness in reminiscing and you’ll have information that you can one day pass on to your children and grandchildren.
19. Failed To Follow Through
How many things, whether it be a hobby or project, have you started and given up on when it didn’t work out or took up too much energy or time? Some things just don’t suit us, but it’s usually worth finishing if it peaked your interest in the first place. Don’t look back 20 years from now and wish irreplaceable deteriorated photos would’ve been put in that scrapbook project you never finished.
20. You Made Poor Parenting Decisions
It’s tempting to want to be the yes guy, not the no guy. It’s easier to be the friend than the disciplinarian. You can rationalize your lack of presence with presents. You’ll be the best parent ever in the moment, but these types of parenting decisions often lead to regrets when the children become adults still living at home or behind bars because they missed out on being taught the life skills and realities of becoming a functioning, productive, and thriving member of society.
21. Getting In With The Wrong Crowd
It may be cool at the time, but falling in with the wrong crowd can lead you down a path paved in regrets. Choose your friends wisely because you won’t have them to blame when the things you went along with come back to haunt your education opportunities , job opportunities , and future relationships.
22. Lived Too Strictly To Society’s Standards
Society places expectations upon us to go with popular opinion and expectations. We live to appease this and fit into the neat box that has been created for us based on gender, race, religion, culture, etc. This is living a life for others, not yourself. Be an independent thinker and have the confidence to carry forward with what your own intuition, morals, and happiness dictates.
23. Electronics Ruled Life
Smartphones and computers have made life easier and faster, but they’ve also hindered us in an unprecedented way. They’re all-consuming. Hours can pass before you realize how long you’ve scrolled social media or answered emails during times you could’ve spent face-to-face with your loved ones. The cumulative impact is time you’ll never get back for a redo.
24. You Ignored Your Gut Feelings
It’s easy to shrug off intuition as superstition or paranoia… until hindsight becomes 20/20 and you wished you’d have spent more time listening to yourself.
25. Missed Out On Once In A Lifetime Opportunities
In a sense, most things are once in a lifetime opportunities because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for any of the components. Your favorite band could split or have a member die. A hurricane may wipe Disney off the face of the earth. Your kid may break his leg and never play soccer again. So, prioritize life’s events accordingly. Don’t put off till tomorrow anything you’d regret missing if tomorrow doesn’t come.
26. You Took Someone For Granted
Kindness is something we so freely give to strangers and often have the hardest time offering to those steadfast in our lives. We take for granted that what we do today can be forgiven or amended tomorrow. Treat those you love with respect and appreciation every single day so that you aren’t left with regrets should the unexpected happen and they not be there tomorrow.
27. Didn’t Say Goodbye Or Have That One Last Moment
Take time to attend to your loved ones in their times of need, especially if they’re sick. If you don’t take anyone for granted, you really don’t have to worry about regretting not having that one final moment with them. The totality of each day and how your relationships are maintained give you a sense of peace that all involved know how the other feels.
28. You Allowed Insecurities To Hold You Back
Have you ever needed courage to speak at a funeral, wedding, or job function, but you allowed fear of what others would think, emotional distress, or something else hold you back? Don’t allow your insecurities to hold you back from honors and opportunities. Believe you’re worthy, and you are worthy.
29. You Didn’t Grab Ahold Of Your Passions
This really applies to all the above. It could be love, travel, work, children, friends, hobbies, or anything that you care about and value and didn’t take the time and energy to invest yourself inappropriately. We tend to favor the path of least resistance. It may be easiest, but it’s not the most rewarding, and it can certainly leave you with a lot of what-ifs at the end of the day.
30. You Neglected Your Health And Well-Being
From diet and exercise to your teeth and skin, you have to make yourself a priority before you can be an effective and efficient component within anything else. That applies to your job, relationships, and everything between. Think about this – you apply sunscreen to the kids religiously, but you never take the time to apply it to your own skin. Who will take care of your kids when you’re sick or die of skin cancer?
How many of these 30 regrets do you already have? What do you plan to do to see that you’re left with more fulfillment and fewer regrets?
Feel free to use the comment section to help a friend, ask a question, or tell us your thoughts. Do you know some friends who might be headed down to a path of regret? Tag them along to encourage them that it’s never too late living the life they want.