There are millions and millions of articles about aging adults who wish they’d done something different earlier in their life. We all have regrets of things we didn’t do when we were younger, or when we were more agile, blond instead of gray, and/or had teeth, money, or small children.
What’s the point, is my question?
It’s a waste for those articles to appear in AARP magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Readers’ Digest or other places seniors read print. Those articles should appear in magazines and newspapers, as well as social media, where someone can benefit from the information before retirement, or before the kids are grown, or before you’re too old to do whatever.
It frustrates me to read “Ten Things to Avoid Before Retirement.” I’m already retired!! Or “Ways to Fend Off Hearing Loss (or Keep Your Eyesight, Teeth, or Hair). It’s too late! Gone, gone, gone! Every time I see one of these articles I think, “I wish I’d known back then when I had hair, teeth, or relatively good hearing!” When one of these articles appears, I search for a friend in their forties or younger who might benefit from the info — before it’s a moot point for them.
When it could have mattered ….
Perhaps I wouldn’t have paid attention to any helpful suggestions when I was younger but reading about ideas now just makes me feel bad. Not only do I not have more money for retirement but, these days, it’s especially irritating to discover there are three fairly easy steps I could have employed years ago to have more now.
What’s the use of reading about things to avoid if it’s too late already? Because I write this blog for and about elders, I get friends who share articles that might interest my readers. Most of these articles – clipped out of hardcopy papers, are about closing the barn door after the horses have escaped – if you get what I mean. I’m not going to suggest five things to do to make sure you’re loved as a senior citizen. If you’re not, it’s kind of too late. I’m not going to list products or methods to keep your skin smooth and supple. It’s kind of too late for that too! It’s too late to save for retirement if you’ve been retired for over ten years like me.
Now that I’ve said all that ….
Having ranted about the futility of pointing out ways to avoid regret, I do need to acknowledge there is still some information that will benefit me before the fact, actions I can take to avoid feeling regretful later. The caveat of all these is that they’re things I can do something about now, before I … well, I guess, before I die. Yeah, that’s it, before I hit that final mark. I can take tangible action on all these wishes to avoid further regret:
I wish I had listened more and not spoken in reply before hearing the other person out.
I wish I had been brave enough to be loved more fully.
I wish I had worried less.
I wish I had forgiven more.
I wish I hadn’t cared so much what others thought.
I wish for myself and all of you the time now to identify and work on anything that you might regret before you die.
I wish ….