Monday, September 21, 2015

Greatest Regret

I read an interesting article by Rachel Gillett this morning. It was a synopsis of a study of 1,500   
people 65 and older who were asked what their greatest regret in life is.

What do you regret when you look back on your life? That's what Karl Pillemer, professor of human development at Cornell University, founder and director of the Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging asked his study subjects. … he refers to his subjects as ‘the experts’ because they hold more trued-and-true wisdom than any self-help book or pundit could possibly offer. 

… Pillmer writes on Quora that he expected ‘big-ticket items’ like affairs, bad business deals, or addiction as his experts’ biggest regrets.  

He was therefore unprepared for the answer they often gave:

I wish I hadn't spent so much of my life worrying

… A critically important strategy for regret reduction, according to the elders we interviewed, is increasing the time spent on concrete problem solving and drastically eliminating time spent worrying. One activity enhances life, whereas down the road the other is deeply regretted as a waste of our all-too-short time on Earth.

Many of us living with Kennedy’s Disease or other conditions that currently do not have a treatment or cure, have probably gone through and occasionally still go through moments of concern – wondering what tomorrow will bring. It is natural to fear the unknown. Yet, as many of these 1,500 people commented, worrying didn’t do any good.

Perhaps Bobby McFerrin knew what he was singing about with his 1988 song, "Don't Worry - Be Happy." I'm humming the song right now as I post this. It sure is a catchy tune.

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