A Second Chance: And how would you live life differently?

A Second Chance: And how would you live life differently?

How many seniors have wished they had lived life differently? As I’ve reached those golden years, I ponder that subject a lot. What would you do if I had a second chance and how would you live life differently if given the opportunity to try again? I truly believe that the majority of seniors have regrets. Perhaps there are a lucky few ones that wouldn’t change a thing, but I don’t think that’s most of us.

Most of us probably hear this same refrain over and over again in our thoughts.

If only I knew then what I know now.

The best we can do is pass on our mistakes to future generations. We can only hope they will listen and take heed of the errors of our ways.

LOST LOVE

a second chance and what you would do differently in life
Did you miss the chance for love because you never reached out?

Have you ever come across that special person that took your breath away? Maybe you saw them across a crowded room and for an instant your eyes met. Possibly that special person was a co-worker, a neighbor on your street, or lived down the hall in your apartment building. Perhaps it was someone that was almost always on the same bus as you when you went to work. You started to look for them every day and were disappointed when they weren’t there.

Yet, all you did was look and wonder and remain silent. Then one day, they were gone.

It could be that you were on a vacation far from home. You might’ve been in Europe, on a cruise, or holidaying on a Caribbean Island. You just never know when that special person will cross your path. Yet you were afraid to approach them. “Maybe I’m not good enough for them”, you thought. You couldn’t bring yourself to express your feelings. The moment slipped by and was lost forever. Except the memory stayed with you for your entire life.

What if?

What if you had mustered the courage to say hello and eventually made your feelings known? How different things could have been if you had the gift of self-confidence that so many of us lack for most of the days of our lives. Maybe you are a woman who would never dream of being the first to break the ice with a man who caught your eye. Yet, you missed out on all the men who were waiting for a woman with the courage to express her true feelings.

Or maybe pride was your downfall. What would’ve been the harm in letting that person know how you felt? What’s the worst that could’ve happened? They might have let you know that they weren’t interested. Darn! You faced possible rejection.

So what?

At least you would not be spending the rest of the days of your life wondering, what if? Just imagine for a moment if they felt the same about you and you let the chance slip away? Life is full of fleeting opportunities, and indeed, he or she who hesitates is lost.

I WOULD EXERCISE AND EAT BETTER

a second chance and what you would do differently in life
Did you make poor nutrition choices most of your life?

Our body will do its best, but if we continually abuse it there will be a tipping point. Perhaps you drank too much,  smoked, ate all the wrong foods, and continually brushed off the importance of a sound diet and exercise in order to keep your body running efficiently for all the days of your life.

Despite everything, your body will put up with this abuse for as long as it can and will continually struggle to do its best with the tools you provide. Ultimately it has no choice but to give in after years of trying its best to keep you vibrant and healthy. Seniors battle a host of diseases that could have been easily prevented if they had started from a very young age to honor their body by regular exercise and a sound diet.

The people who live in the Blue Zones of the world have it right. They believe in the fresh air, exercise, and sharing excellent food with friends and family on a regular basis. Their bodies repay them with over one hundred years of healthy living. There is a message there screaming out to the rest of the world except most of us don’t listen.

I WOULD MANAGE MY FINANCES BETTER

a second chance and what you would do differently in life
Did your finances spiral out of control and retirement funds was an afterthought?

Life was full of fun and adventure. Money was so easy to get. Your wallets and purses were full of credit and debit cards and life was good. You had the big houses, fancy cars, and all the material trappings that enabled you to keep up with all the good things in life that everyone else had.

You knew you could buy whatever you saw because it was so simple to reach over with your credit cards and buy that big-screen T.V., a new dress, or the best golf clubs money could buy.

Except like many people, you paid the minimum balances on your credit cards, were mortgaged to the hilt, and struggled to make your monthly car payments. You became a master of juggling your credit. You used the line of credit from one credit card to pay off the others and were pulled deeper and deeper into a financial abyss from which there was no escape.

Worst of all, you completely forgot or ignored putting money away for your retirement.

“There’s plenty of time for that”, was the mantra you repeat to yourself over and over again. Then one day there was no time left. You were looking retirement in the face with no money saved, and counting on the government and your company pension to look after your financial short-comings.

How easy it would’ve been to put a few hundred dollars a month away for 40 or 50 years of your life. It would’ve been so simple to go out for dinner a few times a month less, do without one expensive toy, or take one less holiday a year. But oh no! Life was good and you wanted to live it to the fullest and would take care of retirement later because getting old wasn’t in the equation.

Everything was rosy until the day you woke up and you were 60 or 65 or 70, wondering how you got there so quickly. Where did the years go? How did you run out of time so fast?

I WOULD CULTIVATE FRIENDSHIPS

a second chance and what you would do differently in life
Was it too much work to cultivate friendships?

Perhaps you shunned people who showed an interest in being your friend. Life was just easier not having to answer to anyone for anything. After all, friendships are more about giving than taking.

It sometimes seemed easier to not like anyone too much, and that way you couldn’t ever get hurt. You chose to spend most of your time alone because it was safer and required less effort.

But as you got older you began to realize how valuable friends would be. A true friend would always be there for you. Instead, you find your self alone wishing you had done things differently.

ALL IS NOT LOST

Love is everywhere, you just have to seek it out.

You may have missed out on meeting the person who rocked your world.

However, its never too late to make the most out of the time you have left. It’s never too late to find a person you can spend the rest of your life with. It’s never too late to make the first move and say what’s on your mind and in your heart. You are never too old to seize the moment and realize that its not the end of the world to be rejected.

Risking rejection is the pathway to acceptance.

It reminds me of a story I heard years ago. This guy was standing on a busy corner in New York City and would ask the beautiful women who caught his eye if they would have sex with him. “Didn’t you get slapped a lot,” he was asked. “I sure did”, he answered, “but you would be surprised at how many said yes!”

Of course, this is an extreme example and may be folklore, but there’s a message there.

Whether you are a man or a woman, you might put your pride on the line and face rejection many times, but when you have the courage to face that rejection, you never know what might happen. This is true no matter what your age is.

Are you out of shape, obese, or dealing with any number of physical hurdles? Did you let your body go and are now suffering the consequences?

So what? That was then and this is now.

a second chance and what you would do differently in life
It’s never too late to honor your body with exercise and a healthy diet.

It’s never too late to right the ship. Seek out an excellent diet. Start to exercise on a regular basis. Find an exercise you love and do it. The secret as we age is to keep moving. Walk, run, bike, swim, try Yoga, or Zumba, or water aerobics.

Mall walk with other seniors and make new friends, exercise to videos, try resistance training, swim to improve your balance or hike with a group for your heart health.

Find your groove and embrace it! It’s no all that complicated, but nobody can do it for you. You have to want to do it for your self.

I even wrote a book that will help you. Seniors On the Move is exactly what I’m talking about.

If you want to be spry and healthy in your senior years, you have to reach out for it. You have to want it and be willing to work for it.

Are you finding yourself short of money in your senior years?

There are lots of things seniors can do. Who says seniors are past their prime and can’t work? The world needs seniors in the work-force. Soon, half the world’s population will be over 50. It’s already true in Japan.

People across the board are living longer thanks to medical science and at the same time, fewer babies are being born. This opens up lots of opportunities in the workforce. You don’t have to do the job you did all your life. Do something you might really like instead. Do something you always wanted to do but didn’t. You chose a mundane job because it was less risky.

Be a dog-walker, pet-sitter, tour guide, or online business owner. If you were a teacher all your life, tutor kids, or teach music. Maybe you could be an athletic coach, tax preparer, or bookkeeper.

It’s never too late to cultivate new friendships.

There are many seniors who are lonely. It’s never too late to get involved in senior activities that will expose you to new opportunities to begin a friendship.

It’s never too late to understand how valuable friends can be and make a conscious decision to open yourself up to others.

As with all things in life, you have to be willing to be pro-active. Believe in yourself and your ability to change no matter what your age and doors will open for you.

A second chance and how would you live life differently if given the opportunity might not be possible because we only get one chance at this, but its never too late to change your life for the better.

Believe in yourself and all things are possible.

If you would like to share your thoughts on this topic feel free to make a comment at the bottom of this page.

8 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Thanks so much. This is a lot of great wisdom about life. I’m only 29 and I can already relate to the question, “If I only knew then, what I knew now.” In fact I think about it almost every day! I can think of things I wish I could go back and re-do. 

    I like how you said at the end all is not lost. We have the time that’s ahead of us. It’s okay to feel grief, sadness, etc. About the past. I think those are human emotions that we all go through. I sometimes try to remind myself that maybe its okay that I didn’t do everything perfect. It’s okay that I didn’t know this or that when I was younger. 

    You definitely have a lot more wisdom than me though. Being only 29 there’s a lot of years I haven’t been through yet. I look forward to reading more!

    1. Thanks for your comment!  There are many things I did wrong that I often wish I could get another chance at, but that’s not the way life works. That’s why it’s important that the younger generation listens to the wisdom of the older generation. Sadly many young people don’t have time for seniors.

  2. What a great article, and one that really makes you think and ponder.  What would you do differently?  Hmmmm.  Such a question!  I am pretty pleased with all that I have done in my life.  I’m definitely not saying I haven’t made choices I probably shouldn’t have, but God had a way of turning those bad choices into amazing!  I just can’t regret a minute of it and all the blessings God has given to me and still gives to me.  I do, as I get older, however, really appreciate every day and look at it as a gift.  I don’t take life for granted ever, and I appreciate all those in my life.  Thank you so much for such a wonderful piece!

    1. Thanks for your comment Babsie! I have often wished I had listened to the seniors in my life when I was young.

      It seems that we all think we know everything we are in our teens and twenties and are hesitant to listen to anyone about life.

  3. Family is everything.  If I could go back twenty years, I would spend less time at work, and more time with my family.  My eldest has left home.  When I was young I should have spent more time being a father and less time trying to run a business that was eventually going to fail.  In years to come when I pass from this body I would like family around me.  The family is a true treasure, Money is useless in the afterlife.

    1. Thank you for your comment Aaron. Many families struggle to stay together and that seems to be the way of the world.

      Some people are more fortunate and have had strong family ties all their lives. It seems that in some cultures family is everything, but in others, not so much.

  4. I have to say that I have no regrets as to how I have lived my life.  I am grateful for the many mistakes I have made, as they have led me to become stronger as a person.  Even with all the ups and downs and poor choices I have made, I am grateful for a very wonderful life.

    As a senior, I see my life as just beginning with so many more and different opportunities from which to grow and expand as a person, and thus contribute and bring value to others.  

    I met my special person much later in life, and have been fortunate to have spent the last twelve (12+) plus years together.  Over the years I have met many wonderful women, but was too immature at the time to recognize what I had.

    As time goes on I do not think it is as important to feel any guilt or remorse over what could have been, but to recognize those times as experiences where I did the best I knew how at that moment.  Mistakes and all, it is all good.

    An Asian martial arts teacher once told me that it is all “Good Already”, and once I truly understood what he meant, I have been able to see each moment as precious and full of joy and wonder.  Even when things get a bit wacked out, the joy and wonder is still there.  I just happen to be focused elsewhere at the time.  

    I have been fortunate to have made and cultivated a few really good friendships over the years.  I have made and lost money and made it back, but found that I always have what I need when I need it.  I agree with you that love is everywhere, and risk is part of the enjoyment and fulfillment of life.  

    Thanks for all these wonderful insights within your article.  Much appreciated and All the very Best to You.

    1. Thank you for your informative comment Joseph. Much appreciated. I agree that it is never too late to make changes in your life even though there have been mistakes made in the past.

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