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38 Things You Wished You Had Done BEFORE You Were Old

They say youth is wasted on the young. So, what are you doing to prevent wasting yours?  I wish I had this list 30 years ago.  Still, as Jonathan Swift wrote: No wise man ever wished to be younger."  Take these to heart.

1. Not traveling when you had the chance.
Being you (young) means you have a lot less responsibilities. Traveling becomes infinitely harder the older you get, especially if you have a family and need to pay the way for three-plus people instead of just yourself.
“There are three cures for ennui: sleep, drink and travel."
--D.H. Lawrence

2. Not learning another language.
Boy, remember how much you hated Spanish, French, or Latin in School? You will kick yourself when you realize you took three years of language in high school and remember none of it and English is NOT spoken everywhere.

3. Left a Bad Relationship Sooner

If it is not working, learn to leave, but first learn to love yourself. We all think the relationship we are in may get better, but you already know it will not, so you just pour good effort in a bad situation. No one who ever gets out of a bad relationship looks back without wishing they made the move sooner.
Two halves do not make a whole in a healthy relationship; it takes two wholes.”
-- Patricia Fry

4. Not using sunscreen
Hard to believe we used to actually put baby oil on us when we were young!! Wrinkles, moles, and skin cancer can largely be avoided if you protect yourself.  Oh, and remember that Baz Luhrmann song, “Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)?”  Well, he was right!

5. Missing the chance to see your favorite musicians.
 “Nah, dude, I’ll catch Nirvana next time they come through town.”  D’ah? Really, even if you see ONE group, see ONE!!!

6. Letting fear hold you back
"When you run away from fear, it grows. When you move toward fear, it recedes. As you move forward, despite all the anxieties and uncertainties you feel, you'll develop courage."
--John Amatt
Looking back you’ll think, What was I so afraid of? And if something does not kill you, it will probably be a LOT of fun!!

7. Not keeping physically fit.
This kind of goes without saying.   Aches and Pains in old age are usually the result of too many of us spend the physical peak of our lives on the couch. Just going out for a walk every now and then does wonders. When you hit 40, 50, 60, and beyond, you will dream of what you could have done and regret you did not at least stay somewhat active.

8. Letting yourself be defined by gender roles.
Few things are as sad as an old person saying, “Well, it just wasn’t done back then,” or “Girls are not supposed to [fill in the blank].” Remember, history was never made by a well behaved woman!

9. Not quitting a terrible job.
Having a bad job is like a soul robbing existence!! Look, you have to pay the bills. But if you do not make a plan to improve your situation, you might wake up one day having spent 40 years in hell. On second thought, I should have started that company 20 years ago!!

10. Not trying harder in school.
It is not just that your grades play a role in determining where you end up in life. They do not.  But having an eager desire to learn new things do! Eventually you will realize how neat it was to get to spend all day learning, and wish you would have paid more attention when you had the chance.  The best thing you can do now is read as much as you can as often as you can.  Learning is a lifelong experience.

11. Not realizing how beautiful you were.
Here is a NEWS ALERT: God made us ALL Beautiful.  Too many of us spend our youth unhappy with the way we look, but the reality is, that is when you were your most beautiful.

12. Being afraid to say “I love you.”
Of course, the first thing you need to do is love yourself, but when you are old, you will not care if your love wasn’t returned — only that you made it known how you felt. Tell EVERYONE you love, that you love them, and keep learning how to love.

13. Not listening to your parents’ about anything.
Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them."
--James Baldwin
You never want to hear it when you are young, but the infuriating truth is that most of what your parents say about life is true.  They have the experience and knowledge and wisdom.  You have hubris and an attitude.  If you want to learn, listen.

14. Being self-absorbed in your youth
You will be embarrassed about it, frankly, and if you are not, well there is really no hope for you.
Being all wrapped up in yourself makes you a very small package.
–Alford Frost

15. Worrying about what other people think.
In 20 years you will not give a damn about any of those people you once worried so much about.  Yes, in school it was great being “popular,” but in the real world, this kind of nonsense is just a waste of time.
Popularity is a form of success that is seldom worth the things you have to do in order to attain it.

16. Not Supporting others’ dreams over your own.
Supporting others is a beautiful thing, but not when it means you never get to shine.
"What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal."
—Albert Pike

17. Not moving on fast enough when it was time to go.
Old people look back at the long periods spent picking themselves off the ground as nothing but wasted time.
Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you won't do anything with it."
--M. Scott Peck 

18. Holding grudges, especially with those you love.
What’s the point of re-living the anger over and over? As William H. Walton said, To carry a grudge is like being stung to death by one bee.

19. Not standing up for yourself.
Old people do not take shit from anyone. Neither should you.  Two things here: 1) you first have to believe in yourself, and 2) once you do that, do not take anyone’s shit.

20. Not volunteering enough.
OK, so you probably will not regret not volunteering Hunger Games style, but nearing the end of one’s life without having helped to make the world a better place is a great source of sadness for many.
"Until he has been part of a cause larger than himself, no man is truly whole."
-- Richard M. Nixon

21. Neglecting proper oral hygiene      
Brush. Floss. Repeat! Get regular checkups. It will all seem so maddeningly easy when you have dentures.

22. Missing the chance to ask your grandparents questions before they die.
Most of us realize too late what an awesome resource grandparents are. They can explain everything you ever wondered about where you came from, but only if you ask them in time.  Plus, they know all the deep dark crap about the WHOLE family!

23. Thinking work is important and working too much
No one looks back from their deathbed and wishes they spent more time at the office, but they do wish they spent more time with family, friends, and hobbies.  On the other side…
"Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life!"

24. Not learning how to cook at least one awesome meal
Knowing one drool-worthy meal will make all those dinner parties and celebrations that much more special. Plus, when you are alone..and just want a pick-me-up, making that meal for yourself, will be priceless!

25. Not appreciate the moment you are in enough
Young people are constantly on the go, but stopping to take it all in now and again is a good thing.
Reflect on your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some."
--Charles Dickens 

26. Failing to finish what you start; Failing to Start.
The difference between getting somewhere and nowhere is the courage to make an early start. The fellow who sits still and does just what he is told will never be told to do big things."
--Charles Schwab 

27. Never mastering one awesome party trick or one great skill
You will go to hundreds, if not thousands, of parties in your life. Wouldn’t it be cool to be the life of them all?

28. Letting culture or peer pressure define you.
Don’t let them tell you, “We don’t do that.”
"I am pushed by those who believe in me, but motivated by those who don't."
--Jeffrey Fry

29. Refusing to let friendships run their course.
People grow apart. Clinging to what was, instead of acknowledging that things have changed, can be a source of ongoing agitation and sadness.  Know when to let go.
Some people believe that holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go -- and then do it.
--Ann Landers

30. Not playing with your kids enough.
This is not for everyone, especially those who chose not to have children (which you will regret too), but when you are old, you will realize your kid went from wanting to play with you to wanting you out of their room in the blink of an eye.

31. Never taking a big risk (especially in love).
Knowing that you took a leap of faith at least once — even if you fell flat on your face — will be a great comfort when you are old.
Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.”

32. Not developing you list of contacts and personal network.
Networking may seem like a bunch of crap when you are young, but later on it becomes clear that it is how so many jobs are won. Also, make sure you keep the friends when you are young with you when you are old.

33. Worrying too much about, well anything
As Tom Petty sang, “Most things I worry about never happen anyway.  Great advice but Seth Godin says it better with anxiety: Anxiety is nothing but repeatedly re-experiencing failure in the future.”  

34. Getting caught up in needless drama and the people who are drama queens
Who needs it?  And drama mommas, get rid of them as soon as possible!
The fastest way to change yourself is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be.
--Reid Hoffman

35. Not spending enough time just hanging with loved ones
Our time with our loved ones is finite. Make it count.

36. Never performing in front of others or being in the spot light
This is not a regret for everyone, but many elderly people wish they knew — just once — what it was like to stand in front of a crowd and show off their talents be it on a stage, on center court, or in a board room!

37. Being an ingrate or not being grateful sooner
It can be hard to see in the beginning, but eventually it becomes clear that every moment on this earth — from the mundane to the amazing — is a gift that we’re all so incredibly lucky to share.

38.   Realizing you do not have an infinite amount of time.
"Lost wealth may be replaced by industry, lost knowledge by study, lost health by temperance or medicine, but lost time is gone forever."
--Samuel Smiles


Unknown said…
Spot on. Nice collection.. Thank you!!
Unknown said…
Nice selection. I would submit that more people have trouble loving and accepting themselves first, before others.
Profit Prophet said…
Thnx Lauren and I would have to agree Mark <3
Profit Prophet said…
...I concur Mark O'Brien <3

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