“Twenty years from now you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do…” ~ Mark Twain
Hindsight is 20/20, as they say. There’s phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again.
Here are the top 30 regrets of the dying people say they deeply regret…
1. Not traveling when they had the chance.
2. Not learning another language.
3. Staying in a bad relationship. It may feel hard to get out of a bad relationship, but it’s not worse than staying in it and wasting everyone’s time.
4. Being afraid to try new things.
5. Not spending more time with their loved ones.
6. Not taking good care of their body. As you get older you’ll realize how important it is to take care of your body.
7. Not quitting a job they hate. You may need to pay rent or provide for a family, but you can’t force yourself to be miserable every day.
8. Not realizing how beautiful they really are. There are many definitions of beauty and you shouldn’t think you’re unworthy of someone’s attention.
9. Being afraid to say “I love you.” Loving another person is a precious gift, even if that same love wasn’t returned.
10. Not listening to their parents’ good advice.
11. Caring too much about what other people think. When you’re older, you’ll realize that the opinions of others don’t factor into your true happiness.
12. Wasting their time working hard to achieve other people’s dream rather than their own.
13. Not moving on fast enough.
14. Holding a grudge, especially against those you love. Choose to let go of your pain, instead of dwelling on it.
15. Not standing up for themselves. Just because others may disagree with you, it doesn’t mean you have to abandon your principles.
16. Not volunteering enough to help others.
17. Not telling more stories to a child.
18. Working too much. Missing the good parts of life, or be too stressed to enjoy them, if you do.
19. Not learning how to cook. It will add to your family and friends get togethers more than you can ever imagine.
20. Not stopping to appreciate the moment often enough.
21. Failing to finish what they started. Every day is an opportunity that shouldn’t be squandered.
22. Not spending more time playing with their kids. They’re full of joy. You should be choosing to fill your life with this joy, not avoiding it.
23. Not mastering even one awesome party trick. This seems silly, but think of how many amazing memories you can create.
24. Not taking a big risk (most especially in love). Taking a bigger risk can pay off more than taking a smaller one.
25. Worrying too much. Worrying, especially about things that haven’t happened yet, is useless.
26. Letting yourself be defined by cultural expectations. If your family or country thinks you should do something for a career, you’re not forced to. Never.
27. Forgoing sunscreen. It may not seem like much, but sun damage adds up over the years, causing wrinkles and discoloration.
28. Letting yourself be defined by gender roles. Define yourself, don’t let society do it.
29. Missing the chance to see their favorite musicians performing live.
30. Not showing more appreciation and gratefulness to others. Learn to say thanks and learn to mean it. So many parts of your life will improve if you do.
Every moment we have on earth – from the most ordinary to the amazing ones – is a wonderful gift. A precious gift we’re very lucky to have and share with the people we truly care about.
Let’s not wait to appreciate them until we’re too old, and it becomes too late.