Regret ... It's almost always associated with the things we didn't do in life, yet wished we had.
As we travel through life, we regret many things. We regret jobs we didn't take, moves we didn't agree to, relationships we didn't pursue. We regret things we didn't try, accomplishments we didn't achieve, and tasks we never completed.
Yet by the time we reach midlife, we have something we didn't have when we were younger ... we have perspective. That perspective allows us to see the error in our ways, and still have time to do something about it. Midlife is the new "young". With years still ahead of us, it's time to learn from those mistakes and approach midlife in an entirely new way.
Use your past regrets to make decisions now about how to move forward in a big way.
1. Saying "no" to potential opportunities
We often say no to things that will stretch us out of our comfort zone. In midlife, we've had a lot of time to get comfortable with the way things are. Yet this is also the perfect time to stretch and discover new things. Don't fear what you don't know; realize you have a lot of experience to apply to whatever new opportunities may come your way. You'll only realize your true potential if you are willing to stretch further than you ever have before.
2. Letting someone else control your dreams
We do things every day according to someone else's agenda. We often live life simply by having it fall into place. Have you ever asked yourself why you're in a job you hate, or in clubs that bore you? Did you fall into them because you were simply following along? Stop. Take a stand for something you choose to do. Will it create tension in your life? Definitely. Especially when others may realize you no longer are doing things on their terms. But that's okay. If you've ever had a goal, there's never been a better time to start working on it than right now.
3. Staying comfortable
Midlife is often a time when people tend to get a little complacent with their lives. If things work, why rock the boat? I'm always reminded of a conversation I had with a fellow co-worker early in my career. With a great job and great benefits, many of my co-workers came on board with the thought of building a lifelong career. It was at an especially difficult time when my friend said "two years down, thirty to go" that had me shuddering with fear. Should you ever spend a lifetime letting it slide by? Getting too comfortable with anything is never good for your soul. It doesn't allow you to fully live the life you are meant to live. Get out of your comfort zone every once in awhile. You'll be surprised at what you learn about yourself.
4. Avoiding change
As humans, we hate the very idea of change. We're lazy. We want things the easy way. But if you keep doing the things the way you've always done them, you're missing out on living life to the fullest. Change is difficult. But if you have a strong enough desire for something not currently in your life, the only way to let it in is to change. Acknowledge what you really want, and take the steps needed to bring it into your life.
5. Impressing the wrong people
How many times have you worried about what other people think? How many times have you changed your behavior in order to please someone else? Do these people matter in your life? There's an old adage that says "choose your friends wisely". If you inspire those around you, and they inspire you equally so, you'll have a lifetime of love that will help you achieve all you can.
6. Giving up on what matters most
There are no failures in life; we simply give up before we see the results. Learn what you can from everything you do. And if you really want something, take one more step to turn it into reality. It's the process of little steps and actions that build upon each other and lead us to the most important things in life.
7. Making the wrong daily choices
Every day you make a series of life choices that impact you in a big way. You decide to drink a diet soda, or switch it for a glass of water. You decide to start a fight with your significant other, or surprise them with a kiss instead. Tiny, every day choices can lead to big impactful decisions. 365 days of fighting can lead to a divorce. 365 days of kissing can lead to renewing your vows. The choice is always yours, and it starts with your actions.
8. Settling for anything less
What do you do when you settle? You relax. You stay in one place. You accept things the way they are. You learn to not express your own opinion or ask for what you truly want. Will things change when people around you hear what you truly have to say? Of course. That's not a bad thing. Releasing who you are will only help you discover all you are meant to be.
9. Putting things off until tomorrow
Midlife is a time for reflection. As we look back on all the things we've done, we can easily see how fast time really moves. What if you would have taken action on a dream five years ago? What about ten years ago? You'll move forward one day at a time, no matter what. Why not make every day count by doing what you choose?
10. Not coming to peace with what you have
Striving for more is a good thing ... unless it monopolizes your every thought. There is a difference between wanting to achieve new goals and being happy with who you are. New goals are meant to help you grow and develop new thoughts. But if you aren't happy with who you are today and all that you have achieved, you can never build on that as you move forward. Come to peace with who you are. Except all that you have given the world. Only then can you move forward and strive to become that much more.