This is a guest post by Abida Rahman, publisher of the Rah Digest, an independent empowerment newsletter published in print in Canada and digitally worldwide.
With age I am realizing our time on Earth is very limited and it is important for us all to be aware of how we are utilizing said time. I’m 31 now, I turned 30 a year ago and in just one short year I learned more than I have in my entire lifetime. The lessons I learned have led me to understand why people have regrets and why most people die living an unfulfilled life. Being aware of this has forced me to look at my life and my choices from a much different perspective. I am forcing myself to take action and go beyond my comfort zone so that I can live the rest of my life not regretting anything. Here is a list of the biggest regrets most people in their 30s deal with and I can safely say, I completely understand where this is coming from.
The “Shoulds” and “Should nots”
It is during the 30s that people generally feel the most amount of pressure. We deal with pressure from society, from family and friends and pretty much from every angle in life. Women face societal expectations of having children by their 30s before their biological clock runs out, they are expected to get married, raise a family, buy a house and pretty much have all their ducks lined in a row. Men are expected to have a well paying job in the career of their choice. They are expected to provide for their families and be the head of households while also dealing with pressures to have children and a family life. During this time period we are all also expected of what we SHOULD NOT be doing as well, we shouldn’t be trying to take new risks, we shouldn’t be starting new relationships, or we shouldn’t be trying to reinvent ourselves by going back to school. All these SHOULDS and SHOULD NOTS need to be put to rest, because if you realize not everyone will have the same path or journey. We all need to realize that what we really SHOULD be doing is going at a pace that is suited for our individual needs not what should be done as a collective whole society.
Not Spending Enough Time with Aging Parents
This definitely has to be one of the biggest regrets most adults face. The realization that our time is limited with our parents who have done so much for us (and even those who haven’t done much for us) is a sad one. Often times we are so consumed with our own lives that we forget our parents need companionship, help and support emotionally, mentally and psychologically as they deal with their realizations of life coming to an end. Wouldn’t you want to spend more time with your parents, even if it is just having one more family dinner together, or watching one more family movie, if you knew their time was here to meet their maker? Somewhere along the line of growing up I disconnected from my parents and I know it was during my adult years that I developed a strong sense of wanting and needing to reconnect. I knew my life’s purpose wouldn’t be fulfilled if I didn’t make the extra effort to connect with my parents on a level that they were never able to teach me. This is my gift to them, to be able to help them understand how strong our bond is before we part ways.
Not Putting Yourself & Your Needs First
One of the biggest regrets people as adults face is not being true to oneself and being too much of a people pleaser. This used to be one of my biggest regrets going into my 30s. I would be so consumed with catering to everybody else’s needs and desires and wanting to help them achieve their goals that I would put my own life on the back burner. There is a balance of how giving one can and should be versus how much one should or shouldn’t take. With age I realize that putting myself first needs to happen in order to help others eventually. I cannot help anyone else if I don’t try to help myself. By putting yourself first and taking front and centre of your life you take control of the direction of your life. When we are too busy with the needs of others we sometimes lose sight of who we are really meant to become. We lose ourselves and our gifts because our energy is displaced. So, one of the most important things to do while in our 30s is to prioritize and learn to really put ourselves first.
Not Taking Enough Care of our Mind, Body and Soul
Just like with anything in life, if you want it to grow and be healthy, you need to put time and attention toward it and most importantly to nourish it. The body, mind and soul needs attention and requires us to fuel them. The body obviously gets fuelled by the nutrients we put into it, so the better we eat and the better quality foods we put into our bodies the better and stronger our body stays. The mind and soul work in the same manner. In order to have a healthy mind and soul we need to nourish it. How do we nourish the mind and soul? By feeding it properly with healthy foods so that we can maximize the nutrients we get to help produce the right reactive chemicals in our brain. We also help nourish them by staying away from negativity. By poisoning the mind and soul with negative self talk, thoughts or judgement and fear we take away the very essence of the power within us. The mind and soul can be powerful tools to help us achieve greatness, but, if they are not healthy, they can become destructive. By feeding our minds and souls with positivity through meditation and healthy diet and exercise and activities we can avoid regretting long term health issues.
Not Saving Enough
This is one of my biggest problems and honestly I am still dealing with this in my 30s. I don’t want to go into my 40s having this as an even bigger regret. One of the key mistakes people make is being too short sighted. I understand we can’t live too far out always planning the future. The future is unpredictable and that is why it is critical we get into better habits of saving. Imagine each of us put aside a mere $25.00 per pay cheque without even thinking twice. So let’s say you get paid biweekly, without even realizing we are saving $650 every year. Now this isn’t enough money to buy a new house or do something extravagant, but, it is savings that you never had. Developing these habits early enough gives you the freedom to take bigger risks in your adult years without the fear of losing out. Also, if you’re not a big risk taker at least it gives you some savings to help out for your retirement plan and gives you a sense of security as to when you can actually retire.
Caring Too Much About What Others Think
This is definitely one of the regrets most people are guilty of and it occurs throughout ALL age groups. I know my mom is especially guilty of this and more often than not suffers from lack of confidence beccause of this. I want to address this in our 30s so that we can embrace our older years more confidently. What is the point of caring soooo much about what other people think? Can you pay your bills with the opinions of others? Did other peoples opinions help raise you or did they help you get through milestones in your life? NO! Putting unnecessary emphasis on peoples opinions takes away your power. The power within you to make the RIGHT choices best suited for you. Allowing the opinions of others to control your thoughts and choices is like shooting yourself in the foot. Caring too much about what others think makes you lose sight of your own unique perspective and what is actually good for you. So next time you make decisions based on what other people think, ask yourself why you’re putting so much emphasis on the opinion of someone else who isn’t living your life. Trust me, caring about what other people think is a waste of your God given ability to make your own choices, so stop as soon as you can!
Avoid living a life with regrets and embrace getting older. Just knowing that life is precious and can be over at any point has such a beauty to it. Every day is a precious gift and we can use that gift any way we like. I intend on living the rest of my life with as few regrets as possible and I hope you do too!
Lots of love,
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