Article by Ceri Wheeldon
I was asked a series of questions on this topic as part of a ‘Your Lifetime Lessons’ campaign.
FiftyLife asked the UK’s over 50s to name their proudest lifetime achievements, learnings, and their hopes for future generations. From their survey of 2,000 people, they collected the most common regrets as well as ambitions for what people are still hoping to achieve in later life.
60% said they have regrets in life, many also named what they think are the best things to achieve. Most of the regrets centred around things that they hadn’t done, such as travelling more, as opposed to results of actions they had taken.
What are the lessons I have learned at this stage in my life?
I think that my overriding lesson has to be to trust my gut feel – in all aspects of my life. When I look back at situations that have not gone well, all the signs were there, whether that was based on a decision regarding a potential romantic partner, friendship or business or financial transaction, My initial instincts were correct. Yet somehow I dismissed that inner voice, and let myself believe otherwise, trusting others persuasive opinions or arguments take precedence over that voice in my head that actually did react in a way that was right for me.
But, having gone with various decisions, another lesson I have learnt is that you have to accept and learn from those mistakes, and build on them for the future – without regret. Whether it’s marrying the wrong man, making the wrong house move, buying a new car instead of travelling more, accept that you made those choices with the information you had at that time. Look at any positives that may have come out of those choices and lessons learnt and build on those. In my own case, I married the wrong man, but made some lifelong friends during the time that I was with him, and certainly learnt a lot about myself and what was truly important in life.
Believe in Yourself
Don’t let others undermine you or your belief in yourself – look at what you have achieved in life – whether that be success in business or bringing up a family. You know what you have been able to achieve. Look at how that reflects your core values – and ensure that anyone new you let into your life reflects those core values. We are all different, but if we surround ourselves with people whose basic values and beliefs are similar to our own- life is so much better – again this comes down to trusting our instincts.
I have found that trying to see the funny side of things in difficult situations helps – humour diffuses a lot of angst! I try to live in the moment ‘worry is interest on a debt we may never have to pay’ is a great saying I try to live by.
When it comes to life’s achievements I look to the great relationships I have with family and close friends. I am extremely fortunate to be part of a very supportive circle. Support which is appreciated and reciprocated. I also look at my business success, achieved in part by being fortunate enough while in my 20s to have a boss who saw the potential in me – and pushed me beyond what I believed I was capable of doing at the time. The result was stronger self belief, and a successful career in headhunting, including setting up my own business. Although looking back the focus on my business did have an impact on my personal life, and so another lesson learnt is that balance is key!
Its Never Too Late
I have also learnt that it is never too late – never too late to change your life and follow the path that you believe in – even if the transition can be a little uncomfortable at first. I have been extremely lucky to interview many women over 50 who followed their dreams and changed their lives – whether that has involved moving countries, volunteering to build homes and schools abroad, writing books, climbing mountains, and setting up businesses. I have shared so many inspirational stories on the ‘Fab Women’ section of the website.
What are your Life Lessons? Regrets? Achievements?
To read the survey results in full, and to enter the FiftyLife competition with a chance to win £100 Amazon gift card click here