Not long ago, I had a conversation with my folks. At one point, my mother told me, “Eric, you’re almost 29 years old and gotta start living your life”. When she said to me that, I had mixed feelings about what she meant. On one point, I think of it as giving up on my dreams, slowing down, and settling for average. But on the other hand, it could be a wake-up call to work harder in living the life I desire. I thought of the most common regrets in life, people reflect over the years. Those regrets aren’t ones I want to face in the years to come.
The most common regrets in life: What are some common regrets people have?
You see, people in my age group don’t think a lot about regrets. Maybe they regret some things, but not the ones people think back when they get older. Some common regrets people reflect on include:
Not spending more time with family and friends
Working too much, while not doing things they enjoyed doing (i.e. their passions)
Doing things that others expect them to do (typical societal expectations)
These are common ones people regret when they get older. They wish they could go back and do it all over again. But for the most part, it’s too late to make those changes. These situations are all also every day for the elderly to overcome at the end of life.
My current situation: My biggest regrets in the last 11 years
In 2020, I’m at a crossing point telling myself, “I wish I hadn’t done that. If only I had made those decisions early on”. While good things have happened, I’m still disappointed by the decisions I made over the last decade. If I had the right mindset early on, things would look different and much better today.
However, that wasn’t the case. I can’t go back and do it all over again, and I’ll have to live with my regrets. At this point, I believe it’s the right time to step back and think about what I can do moving forward. But first, I want to discuss some regrets I’ve faced in the last decade. My biggest regrets include:
1.) Working more hours to earn more money
2.) Bitter relationships at work
3.) Giving up on my business ventures early on
4.)Not staying in touch with old friends
The most common regrets in life
Work more hours to earn more money
In my last job, I’ve worked a lot of extra hours to help with business needs. Especially in my previous position, I worked a lot of long, tiring days. It was detrimental to my health (physically and mentally) and resulted in burnout sometimes. Luckily, I don’t take advantage of overtime as much these days.
While I worked extra hours, I still got paid less. Wait, what do you mean? Sure, I got paid time and a half for the overtime hours worked. The more significant point I’m making is I had to sacrifice more time to earn that extra income.
So adding up my regular hours along with overtime, I made the equivalent of $50,000 per year. But I would have to work 60 hours a week to meet that salary level. It’s something I still ponder over now that I value time more than money.
While I focus on the path to working on my own, I think about how I can earn more money in less time. It’s one of the biggest problems working for an employer. When you’re working at a fixed income, there is no immediate opportunity to grow that income (unless you work overtime). If you work for yourself, you can increase that income at any time. If you want to double or triple your income, that certainly is possible.
Bitter relationships at work turning sour
My relationships with managers and coworkers haven’t been all that rosy. It’s not that they’re bad people, but they didn’t truly enjoy what they did for a living. I won’t go into specifics, but there have been times where my interactions with them weren’t the best. We had disagreements and felt disconnected at times, and possibly a negativity bias as well. Negativity is typical where I use to work at, and still exists where I work at today.
Thinking back about my last job, I don’t place all the blame on them. The people I worked with bore some responsibility, but I was at fault at the same time. So we all needed to be held accountable.
But still, I regret having to deal with bitter relationships back then. In my current job, it’s not as bad as the previous one. However, there’s still a sense of disconnection with the individuals I’m surrounded by.
Giving up my business ventures
About six years ago, I started a blog/online business to earn an extra income. I was excited and had those initial feelings of getting my feet wet. Unfortunately, I gave up early due to being lazy and not wanting to put in a full effort at it. Yeah, life got in the way with work and wanting to relax at times. But the comfort in the last several years didn’t do me any kind, and I’m not better off.
With the right mindset back then, maybe I’d be in a better position today. I may have a website making me a steady, full-time income. Imagine the wealth I could have grown in that time frame. Just thinking about it now makes me want to hit myself over and over. Not literally, but it hurts to think about how much better off things would be right now.
Today, I started going back to blogging about a year ago. But this time, I’m determined to put all of my energy and effort into making it a steady flow of income.
Not staying in touch with old friends
I feel iffy about this one. Not all of us keep in touch with old friends from childhood. Some people can manage to do so, but it gets harder as we get older. People get married and have kids, then all of a sudden, they don’t have time to catch up with their old friends. Though this one is not as regretful as the others, it would have been nice to stay in touch with old friends.
Today, I still do to a degree. There are some people I keep in touch with via social media. Some messages here and there, but not to the point that I’m messaging them every day. It’s undoubtedly the same while growing up. Not that it’s terrible, but it’s something that people don’t pay much into consideration. For some people, it’s not a priority as they move into adulthood.
What lies ahead moving forward?
As I reflect over the last decade, there are things I deeply regret and remain disappointed. I could go on and on about what I “could/should/would have” done, but the past is now history. I’m learning how to live with those regrets, so that way, I don’t have to repeat the same mistakes.
On the other side, I’ve thought much about where I want to be 50+ years down the road. I know that’s a stretch, but at the same time, I don’t want to have to say an often common saying:
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
Unfortunately, as people age and get older, they end up saying those words to themselves. In that case, it’s sad to hear because it’ll be too late to start life all over again. It’s why I don’t want to put myself in that position many years from now. Overall, the choices we make today matter. When the years pass by, we don’t want to regret making the wrong choices when it’s too late to make changes.
We hear much about what people regret the most when they get older. It’s depressing to understand, and I never want to experience it at a bygone age. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I deeply regret some of the decisions I made over the last decade. It’s easy to say I may be better off if I had taken a different route, but the past is behind me. I’m learning to live with those mistakes, and I have to move forward regardless of what comes next.
I can honestly say I’m at a point now where I have to make difficult choices. I may be grateful to an extent, but I’m very unsatisfied with where I’m at. It has to change, and it will be for the better. I don’t want to live through the same mistakes again.
So, I’ll leave you with this question- one where I think requires thoughtful consideration.
“When life gets difficult, which path will you go on? There are two paths to consider:
1.) Step back, stay comfortable, and be thankful for what you have (living a life of mediocrity).
2.) Get off the couch, take massive action, and create something better for you, your family, and your future (living a life of excellence).
I’m stuck between those two paths. But based on my recent past, I think I know which one I want to step into.
Will you join me on that path? Are you ready to change your life today?
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