While growing up I was in and out of hospitals because of family members always being sick. I didn’t realize at the time but this would become the cause of my future-self having a deep disdain for anything relating to a hospital…..and getting old.
Obviously the inevitable will happen. We’ll all grow older, lose everyone around us, and start to wonder if we achieved everything we wanted to during our life.
Over the last couple of years I have learned to flip this ridiculous fear, for a chance to get some insider information. I now look for every opportunity in speaking to an elderly person as a blessing. Most, are willing to share with you, and if you really listen to what they have to say then their hindsight can serve as your foresight.
My most recent “hindsighter” was a man named Mike, an 85 year old that has cancer.
I eventually asked him the two questions that I ask most older people.
- Do you regret anything that you did?
- Do you regret not doing anything?
Mike mentioned that he wished he would have traveled more and wish he didn’t work so much throughout his life in a job he did not enjoy. He worked so much and always put things off thinking, I’ll get to it another day.” Those days turned into weeks, then months, then years.
Mike’s answer has been a very common theme throughout my search for the confusing, “meaning of life.”
One thought is constant: people will never regret all of the things they did but will always regret the things they never did.