Dwelling on sadness makes everyone around us sad but being grateful and looking forward will preserve vitality and joy into old age.
The fact is… life is unpredictable. So, if we think even for a moment that we can map it all out, we are kidding ourselves. More importantly though, imagine how boring life would be if we knew every outcome of those decisions!
Some small decisions we regret instantly, as the implications face us suddenly and all at once rob us of confidence. This happened to me, just this week when I volunteered to organise an event and I had to deal with that horrible sinking feeling of inadequacy. The fact is, there are always people willing to help us make a plan of action, give encouragement along the way and have fun at the same time. Instant regret can often be dealt with pretty easily but I do not recommend going back on a decision like this, as the regret will be even worse to handle! (As you can tell, I’ve been there also!)
Actually, by the time one has been on the earth for many decades, regrets are piled up if they have not been dealt with along the way, and cause many problems and heartache.
Decisions that hurt others, as well as ourselves, cause the greatest regret, and there are decisions made long ago that will still bring tears to my eyes when I think of them. Even as I write this, tears come, as I think of the day my parents saw me and our family off onto the ship that took us to New Zealand, the other side of the world from England. Does that mean that I have not dealt with those regrets? No! I have learnt over the years to look for the good in the results of those decisions and forgive myself. Dwelling on sadness makes everyone around us sad but being grateful and looking forward will preserve vitality and joy into old age.
I often observe, especially when I am around older people like me, that it is easy for the conversation to go back and look at the negative experiences, poor decisions, family disputes and the old days, which often holds them in a negative attitude and filters into their everyday life.
What has helped me and continues to help me, especially as I have got older, is:
- choosing to have an ‘attitude of gratitude’
- getting involved in new projects
- putting myself into new environments
- keeping active in the community, and
- staying connected to my family.
My family probably contribute the most to my well-being. We do look back, but together we look at the good, not the regrets. They keep me encouraged and looking forward, support me to try new things – a great example is sitting at the computer and writing for Kinwomen!