When You Look Back at Your Life

fulfillment happiness looking back Dec 01, 2021

Most people are living their lives with no idea of what they want. They live life day to day, hoping that they will have accomplished something meaningful when they get old and say that this was a happy and fulfilling life. The thing is, most people don't know how to find out what makes them truly happy. It's easier when you're young because there are so many possibilities ahead of you, but as time goes on and your options narrow down, what then? When you reach old age, can you say that your life is happy and fulfilled?

Did I have a meaningful life?

All of us here on earth will one day become old and die. I don't want to sound so dark and gloomy, but this is a truth that we must accept, and we all have to face death one day. It's pretty standard for older people to meditate on their lives and look back at everything they did. Common questions they ask themselves include:

  • Did I have a good life?
  • Did I achieve something worthy in my life?
  • Did I do what I wanted in life?
  • Did I have fun with my life?
  • Did I have good relationships with the people around me?
  • Did I fulfill my dreams?

You might think this article is for older people only. However, by knowing the most common things that older people ponder about in their past, you can start acting on them while you are still young and have the chance to do them. Many people hold off on doing the things they want until they are retired and old, only to realize it's too late, and they might not have the ability to do them anymore. Feeling regret while you are in the final stages of your life is the last thing you want to have when you are about to say goodbye to your life. So what are the things that older people wished they could have done back when they were younger?

1. Being able to do what you want

Having the ability to do what you want in life is the most common regret many people will have when they become older. They will say, "I wish I should have done that" or "I should have taken that opportunity when it was still there." But, unfortunately, many constricting factors can prevent us from being able to do what we want.

  • Money
  • Peer pressure
  • Expectations from others
  • Obligations and responsibilities
  • Our health condition
  • Opportunities present depending on where we live
  • Our mind
  • Resources that we have

Not everyone is in a position where they can follow their dreams and live the life they want. However, if you have the will and determination, you can pursue doing what you want as long as you focus on what you can control and change. Sometimes, it's only our mind that is the limiting factor for achieving our dreams. So if you happen to be in a position where you have the resources, time, and capability to do what you wanted, DO IT. Don't wait until you are weak and old. As long as you are not stepping on other people's lives and using morally correct means to do what you wanted, DO IT before it's too late.

2. Being on good terms with other people

As a human, it's common for us to have arguments and fights with other people in our lives, be it your best friend, a family member, relative, coworker, or your neighbor, you name it. It's also common for us to make amends with each other as time passes. However, some quarrels instill a deep wound in our hearts that makes us plant a long-lasting resentment with someone for years. The seed of bitterness that you planted eventually becomes a tree to the point you no longer care about the other person. And then you realize you wanted to forgive the other person only to hear that they are dead. And even if you forgave them, it might be too late since you are already too weak to spend any more time with them. So whenever you can, forgive past wounds and forge a good relationship with other people in your life.

3. Spending more time with your family

Our work makes up a significant chunk of our life, and we're talking about four decades here. So we all know the importance of having a job as it is the means to get the money to sustain our lives, including supporting our family. Sometimes, some spend too much time working, rendering countless overtime hours, or still doing work when we get home. Quality time that we could have spent with our family gets traded for work. It's pretty ironic to think that all the time you spend working for the sake of your family becomes somewhat meaningless when you are becoming more distant from them due to the amount of time you are away from them.

Work is important but so does spending time with your family. As much as you can, set a time to mingle with them every day. If you can take time off work, DO IT. Make some communication with your parents and friends. Remember that friends can also be part of your family, and blood relationships can't limit who you consider as a family. So spend some happy moments with them. You never know when you can spend moments with them because they might eventually have to take a different path in the future which can prevent you from seeing them personally.

4. Having more fun with life

When was the last time you had the happiest moment in your life? If you have difficulty answering this question, you might not be spending too much time taking a break, doing leisurely things, and enjoying life. Again, work is essential, but if you spend all your time working and not dedicating time to have fun with your life, you might not have anything significant to remember in your old days. Our careers and jobs don't define who we are in this world. If you look back at your life when you get old, it's the positive and happy moments that you will most likely remember and cherish. They are the ones that will remind you that you lived a fulfilling life. You don't have to wait until you are retired to begin enjoying life. Not to sound paranoid, but there's no guarantee that you will be alive in this world until what age. So as much as you can, laugh and have fun doing the things you love when there's an opportunity to do them.

5. Saying your true feelings

When you are in love with someone but don't dare to say your feelings, doesn't it get hurt when you see the person you love ending up in a relationship with somebody else? And it all happened because you waited a long time before saying your true feelings. The same thing happens when we don't express our true feelings to the people who matter most. You might think it's okay to hold off your feelings because they are just around the corner. Then one day, they are gone, or it's you who disappears in their life. If you genuinely love other people, gather your motivation and courage and tell them how you feel. Tell your mom and dad that you love them or your sister or brother, no matter how cheesy it can get. Gather up your friends in a room and tell them how important they are to you. When you tell your true feelings to others, you confirm what kind of relationship you have with each other, and you get that assured feeling in your head that can make you smile.

Do it now

An excellent way to reframe your mind is envisioning how you want your life to look when you reach old age. When you get to your 70s or 80s or even beyond the 80s, how successful or fulfilled do you want to be so that you can say you had a good life when you look back at your life? When you do this envisioning, what happens is that you get the inspiration to set goals so you can start acting now to get where you want to be. Your big dreams are in the future, and by breaking them down into smaller parts, you set up the things that you have to achieve as the years' pass. It's like creating the past that you will be proud of once you get into the future and look at your achievements.

You need to be aware of what you can consider a success and what things are most fulfilling. What's fulfilling and successful for someone might not be the same for you. So figure them out, act on them, and work on fulfilling your goals. There's nothing worse than feeling regret and pain in your last days for not being able to do what you wanted.

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