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5 Ways to Overcome Mid-Life Regret

 

Ask the right questions: Instead of the quintessential regret-er’s lament, ‘What if…,’ Lickerman suggests asking yourself: How can I find joy in the circumstances that I’m in? Some situations will require you to search a bit harder for that silver lining, and the good won’t always outweigh the bad, but making the effort can be extremely beneficial, even for those mired in great tragedy. Research has shown that even parents who lose a young child are eventually able to recognize ways in which the event has helped them grow—whether by causing their love for their other children to deepen, or by strengthening their resolve to face life’s challenges. The key, according to Lickerman, is waiting to seek out the benefit in a bad situation at the right time. Give yourself time to grieve and adjust to your life’s “new normal” before questing after the good.

Re-connect with yourself: Take time each day to consider your passions. While she was taking care of her husband, Occelli became an avid journal writer. Some of her darker thoughts and experiences will always remain private, but many of her entries became the seeds of future blog posts and chapters in her book. Re-connecting with her true self and discovering what her talents were, even in the midst of dealing with great pain, gave her strength to persevere. “Finding the good in ourselves while we’re living in darkness is a very powerful way to stay connected to the light,” she says. “Uncovering what makes our life fulfilling is the best healer.”

Search for support, not a crutch: One of the faulty assumptions that fuels regret is the idea that our happiness is dependent on outside influences. Relying totally external elements for fulfillment is a recipe for chronic heartache. This includes other people. Occelli says that she eventually sought out support online from a group of women who were taking care of loved ones with similar brain injuries. But such support, while certainly beneficial, was not a cure-all. “No two traumatic brain injuries are the same—we were all dealing with different problems. The greatest asset was being able to stand in the storm together,” she says. Indeed, Lickerman points out that the first step towards lasting happiness begins within. It’s a good idea to reach out to others for support and encouragement, but it’s equally important to cultivate a strong internal self.

The quest to rid yourself of remorse won’t be without its challenges—partly because regret is such a natural, ingrained emotion. Setbacks are inevitable and at times it will appear as though your best years are relegated to faded photo albums and weathered diary pages.

But, keeping alive the hope for a brighter tomorrow can make you a stronger, more compassionate human being.
“It’ll be a challenge, but hold the door open to what is possible,” Ochelli urges. “You don’t have to jump on the Pollyanna band-wagon—just don’t let the spark go out.”

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Read more: Guidance, Inspiration, Life, Peace, Self-Help, Spirit, , , , , , , , ,

By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor

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AgingCare.com connects family caregivers and provides support, resources, expert advice and senior housing options for people caring for their elderly parents. AgingCare.com is a trusted resource that visitors rely on every day to find inspiration, make informed decisions, and ease the stress of caregiving.

70 comments

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7:03AM PST on Feb 7, 2013

A very good post indeed. Finding inspiration in a loved-one's brain trauma is a heroic bit of self-understanding. However, I want to say something completely different: I am now "legally old," and enjoying every minute (except the annoying physical debilities and the unreliable memory) because mid-life regret is behind me. The "golden years" might be made of tin, but they are full of a whole life and there can be great reassurance in that. And it's shareable. And, with luck, won't last too long.

5:20PM PST on Jan 27, 2013

Thanks for sharing!

1:45PM PST on Jan 26, 2013

Regret, I have none, not that I don't miss people from my childhood, or friends with whom I no longer speak I grateful for every situation in my life, for every person who touched my life in one way or the other, whether he made me smile, or cried they have contributed to my life, this is my story, I will not regret anything in the story I'm writing, I take full responsibility for all my actions. taken responsibility, understanding how things grew from a seed level, makes me filled with grace, and humility. Thank you for everyone who touched my soul. You made me a better person.

8:22PM PST on Jan 22, 2013

I am going to share this article with a loved one...who just hit the big 40 and that proverbial wall of regret... then cross my fingers it helps.

8:20PM PST on Jan 21, 2013

Well said, thanks for sharing.

9:39PM PST on Jan 20, 2013

nice post, thanks! good things to think on...

5:34PM PST on Jan 20, 2013

Dramatic and unexpected life changes are certainly opportunities to reassess how one is living one's life. Are we being true to ourselves, are we proud of who we are and how we spend our time? After my first big life changing experience I wrote myself a list of things to do every day. It included such simple things as kiss my husband, take time to feel gratitude, put my hands in the soil, do one good thing for my body, do one good thing for my spiritual wellbeing, practice one act of kindness be it to myself, a stranger, the planet, whoever. Simple acts helped me to live a life true to myself, true to the memory of my loved one who had gone, true to the blessings of life.

10:18AM PST on Jan 20, 2013

not easy to find really supportive people...
many will just try to inflict their ideas on you, and get annoyed when you do not do what they say...

7:00AM PST on Jan 20, 2013

We just don't know what's coming next. Best wishes to Cynthea and her family.

10:59PM PST on Jan 19, 2013

Nice , Good post , Something to reflect on .

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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