What we regret in old age most
  Photo: Kempol | fotolia.com

Regrets in old age: Surprising responses from 1,500 retirees

What are the most regrets in old age and what would older people like to undo? A U.S. researcher asked this about 1500 older people and came to a surprising conclusion.

Often we face the question of whether to do it or not. Often we have fear whether we may even regret our decision later. We would like to be able to look to the future to always know in advance what the right decision is.

But what’s right and what’s wrong? What better wouldn’t we have done in our lives, and what choices could we have better made differently?

Professor Karl Pillemer from private Cornell University in the US wanted to know it well. He asked more than 1,500 people over the age of 65 what they regret most in their lives. His survey was part of the so-called “Legacy Project“, which the professor started in 2004. With the project he wanted to find out the most important things that people over 65 had learned in their lives.

One thing we regret most in old age

Now, one might suspect that such things as an affair, a terminated job or an embarrassing event are regretted, but that’s rarely the case.

Looking back, many regret worrying too much in life.

Because most people only regret one thing in their old age: that they have worried too often unnecessarily in their lives.

In their opinion, they have spent too much time in their lives dealing with fears and problems that did not turn out to be that dramatic in the end. Their simple piece of advice is therefore: We should spend our short life less with worries.

According to Prof. Pillemer, this also coincides with findings of science. Worries usually occur in the absence of stressors. We tend to be worried, even though there is no concrete reason for it.

So get used to deal with real problems instead of worrying about those that don’t (yet) exist. Try to increase your self-confidence and stop worrying about things you can’t influence. And when a problem does arise: Don’t fall into lethargy and self-pity, but seek solutions immediately and implement them.

The entire findings of the study are in the book „30 Lessons for Living“ by Prof. Dr. Karl Pillemer appeared.