The Biggest Regrets People Have Later in Life

Was there a moment you wish you could forget? Or a bad series of decisions that have altered the trajectory of your life in an irreversible way?

Regret is a melancholic experience. We look into our past, play out alternate scenarios, and glamorize the ending we longed for. Only for us to return to reality – one that’s not as perfect as in our daydreams.

Here are some of older people’s biggest regrets.

1) Living out your parent’s expectations instead of your own

Was there something you’ve always wanted to be? A musician, an artist, a park ranger?

Living out your parent’s expectations is something many are guilty of. We’re often afraid of disappointing our parents, and that’s something we can carry well into adulthood. This can affect how we approach some of the major things in life, such as our career path and who we choose to associate with.

In letting people’s expectations tie you down, you’re silencing the voice at the back of your head that wants to grow another way. While everyone’s situation is different, it can be beneficial to set aside time to truly think about what your goals in life are, regardless of what others want from you.

2) Not asking that person out

Was there a guy or girl you were crushing over, but never got the chance to speak to?

Romance can be a tricky thing to maneuver at a young age. We’re often anxious about the prospect of our crush rejecting us, so much so that we remain paralyzed and unable to make a move.

This can be regretful decades later, as a survey from an article written by Adrian R. Camilleri showed that romance beats out family, education, and career as the most common regret that people face at 19.3%.

3) Overworking

Do you enjoy seeing yourself climbing up the ladder in a company you believe in? Do you find yourself restricting personal time to catch up on work?

While it isn’t inherently wrong to work hard, many people do so without thinking about why they do it.

Hours spent in the office can detract from time that could be spent doing things you love or spending time with family and friends.

This approach can leave us feeling unsatisfied with our lives. In fact, according to the book Top Five Regrets of the Dying, working so hard is one common regret of elderly people.

4) Letting friendships fade away

Everyone has that person who’s played a large chapter in our lives, whether it’s someone you’ve known since grade school or someone who you just seem to be on the same wavelength as.

You text them daily, sharing jokes and laughs as always. Then suddenly, one of you gets too busy, the conversations die down a little bit, and then eventually you both just stop talking.

It’s sad, but losing contact with someone is something that can happen in a snap. And for many older folks, reminiscing about the good old days and looking back at how friendships fell apart can leave a sour taste in one’s memory.

5) Hiding your true feelings

Was there a moment you chose to hide your actual feelings, even when you want to explode inside?

While it might have been easier to keep quiet at the time, being able to get things off your chest can pay off in the long run.

When you hide your feelings, others are unable to have a genuine connection with you. This can perpetuate a cycle of feeling lonely and withdrawn, which can make you feel worse both mentally and physically.

6) Not accomplishing enough

Is there something that you’ve always wanted to do, but never got the chance to try?

As people, we all have an innate desire to feel accomplished and succeed at something – no matter how grand or little it may seem to others. Perhaps you want to learn how to ride a bike, or grow a flower garden.

Whatever the case, it’s always ideal to listen to your heart and fight for goals you believe in. By not pursuing the little goals you set for yourself, you’re limiting yourself from truly making the most out of your time here. Remember, there are no refunds!

Closing Thoughts

We hope you’ve learned from this article!

What are your thoughts? Anything we missed? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.

That’s all for now, Psych2Goers!


Camilleri, A. (June 11, 2021) The 6 Most Common Regrets People Experience. Retrieved at

BRAINY DOSE (July 2, 2020) . The Biggest Regrets People Have Later In Life. Retrieved at

Bluerock, G. (Feb 24, 2020) The 9 Most Common Regrets People Have At The End Of Life. Retrieved at

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