Karl Pillemer has spent years systematically interviewing hundreds of older Americans, to collect their lessons to live better. Karl has a Ph.D. Gerontology at the University of Cornell.
A few years ago, after his 50 birthday, he was wondering if there is something about getting older that teaches us how to live better. “Could we look at the older experts on how best to live our lives?” He asked. “And we could use that wisdom to help us better make the most of our lives?”
Pillemer has published “30 Lessons for living and loving”, which has the practical wisdom of more than 700 elderly Americans with 25,000 years of collective experience marriage. In one of the profiles, a couple was married for 76 years. Another person describes how she get divorced from her husband, and then remarried 64 years later.
Pillemer shared seven key tips you’ve heard repeatedly through seniors – about his biggest regrets, finding fulfillment, and maintain healthy relationships through the ups and downs of life. This is, believe it or not, the one on the top.
- Stop worrying so much.
I asked the elderly what tend to regret at their age, and what they advise young people to avoid these regrets someday.
I expected to hear about expensive items, an adventure or a murky business, something like that. I really did not expect to hear the answer that was one of the most common and certainly one of the most passionate and vehement: stop worrying so much.
One of the biggest regrets of the elderly is, I wish I had not spent so much time worrying. They, of course, were not talking about planning or taking responsibility in life, but if the type of mindless obsession we all do about things or events we have no control.
One person summed it up this way. She said… “I knew there would be layoffs in my work and I have done nothing for the next six months. Unless worry about being fired I poisoned my life. I did not think about anything else, even though I do not had control over what was happening. “Then she paused and said. “I wish I had those six months ago, because those months were only life lost”
I constantly hear hundreds and hundreds of older people saying that when you get to their age, you will see the elapsed time unnecessarily used in worries and ending in wasting of time. This actually had a profound effect on me.
People ask me, “What are you doing with that concern? How can we stop worrying?” In my case, when I start to enter the cycle of nonsense concern, I remind myself a certainty almost absolute: that everyone, when it reaches the end of life, he says to himself: “I wish I had not spent so much time Worrying about something that would not happen.
A very powerful point of view from Pillemer, related to the many people, is his advice about marriage. Very often many of his advices go around lighten the marriage. We allow many things, such as marriage or other areas of life, become extremely dark and heavy issues.
His final conclusion – this may sound like a cliché, is that: ….. Most of the things that concerned us never happened, and among the bad things that happened to us, most of them were never took in to consideration.