10 Things You Should Do to Live a Life Without Regrets After 50

Madhusudhan Anand's Blog
7 min readJul 14, 2023

Unlocking Happiness and Fulfillment

Image courtesy The Tribune India

The following is a summary after interviewing 50, 50+ year olds. The subjects were chosen over specific economic classes, accomplishments, and education criteria. They were all asked only one question — “How to live a life in your 30s to unlock happiness and fulfillment for a regret-free 50?” Their answers were all subjective. However, they are all summarized into the following 10 points.

I did this because I wanted to figure this out for myself. It took me a long time to do this, and finally, here is a brief note of my findings. In this article, I have addressed the interviewed people as the “subject,” as the survey was anonymous. I have also included some quotes from a few books, which were motivation to further this research and prepare for the interview as reference material.

This article does not intend to give you quick fixes or step-by-step guidelines. If you are in your 20s, 30s, or even your 40s, the following details should help you introspect and chart out action items based on these details below:

Reaching 50 is a significant milestone that prompts reflection on the journey ahead. It was a time when many of the subjects had started pondering their choices. Although we can’t turn back time, we can make the most of the years ahead by taking deliberate actions that ensure a fulfilling life. This article will explore ten things you can do to live without regrets after 50, empowering you to embrace the future with enthusiasm and contentment.

  1. Embrace Your Passions: Rediscover or cultivate your hobbies and passions. Engage in activities that bring you happiness and spark your soul. Whether painting, hiking, playing music, or writing, pursuing your interests enriches your life and leaves no space for remorse.
    Embracing your passions is essential because it allows you to find happiness and fulfillment. You enrich your life meaningfully by rediscovering or cultivating hobbies and activities that ignite your soul, such as painting, hiking, playing music, or writing. Pursuing your interests leaves no room for regret because it brings you joy and a sense of purpose. Activities like motorcycling, trekking, reading books, and writing have been sources of immense satisfaction and added depth to my life. All my subjects had this one as their biggest regret. Hence it's ranked at the top.
  2. Cultivate Meaningful Relationships: Invest time and effort into building and nurturing meaningful connections with family, friends, and loved ones. Prioritize quality time, open communication, and heartfelt moments. These relationships will provide a strong support network and bring profound fulfillment to your life. Everyone I interviewed felt this was a mistake they had made and that they were chasing the wrong things. I want to emphasize the importance of cultivating meaningful relationships in our lives.
    We must invest time and effort into building and nurturing connections with our family, friends, and loved ones. Why? Because these relationships hold immense value and can profoundly impact our overall well-being and happiness.
    By prioritizing quality time, open communication, and heartfelt moments with our loved ones, we create a strong support network that we can rely on during good times and challenging moments. These relationships provide a sense of belonging, love, and understanding, which is essential for our emotional and mental well-being.
  3. Take Care of Your Health: This is most crucial. Of the subjects I interviewed, 90% (rounded off) of them had diabetes and blood pressure, 50% had knee pains, and three were diagnosed with arthritis. Almost all of them were obese except 8 of them. Nearly all women regret lacking health management and focusing too much on everything else. They also blamed for not having this information early on in their life as this is now available over the internet to youngsters. Not working out regularly, not eating healthy foods, drinking alcohol, and other habits were notably highly regretful. The following are some points they wished they knew and implemented.
    Ensuring that we prioritize our health is paramount. This can be achieved by incorporating regular exercise into your routine, consuming a balanced diet, getting sufficient rest, scheduling routine check-ups, and, most importantly, listening to your body’s needs. Failure to care for yourself this way may result in regret later in life. Taking care of your health is crucial to living without regrets after age 50. It forms the foundation for overall well-being and happiness, and prioritizing it ensures you have the physical and mental resilience to enjoy the years ahead. Here’s why it’s important to incorporate self-care into your routine:

a. Quality of Life: By engaging in regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, and getting enough rest, you can improve your physical well-being. This will provide you with more energy, better mobility, and a better quality of life, enabling you to enjoy your favorite activities fully.

b. Prevention and Early Detection: Scheduling routine check-ups with healthcare professionals allows for early detection of potential health issues. By addressing any concerns promptly, you have a better chance of preventing or managing conditions that could limit your lifestyle and cause regrets in the future. Regular screenings and check-ups can catch problems before they escalate, ensuring you stay on top of your health.

c. Longevity and Independence: Taking care of your health promotes longevity and independence. When you prioritize self-care, you increase your chances of living a longer and more active life. By maintaining strength, flexibility, and mental well-being, you can continue to pursue your passions and maintain your independence well into your golden years.

d. Mental and Emotional Well-being: Caring for physical health also positively impacts mental and emotional well-being. Regular exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones that boost mood and reduce stress. A balanced diet nourishes your brain, supporting cognitive function and mental clarity. Prioritizing rest allows for proper rejuvenation, reducing the risk of burnout and supporting emotional resilience.

e. Avoiding Regrets: Failure to prioritize your health can lead to regrets later in life. Neglecting self-care may result in preventable health issues, limitations, or missed opportunities. Taking proactive steps to care for yourself minimizes the risk of looking back with regret, knowing that you did everything possible to maintain your health and well-being.

f. Incorporating regular exercise, a balanced diet, sufficient rest, routine check-ups, and listening to your body’s needs are all essential components of taking care of your health. By doing so, you invest in a future where regrets are minimized and you can fully embrace the joys and experiences that come your way.

“The overarching point here is that a good night of sleep may depend in part on a good day of wakefulness: one that includes exercise, some outdoor time, sensible eating (no late-night snacking), minimal to no alcohol, proper management of stress, and knowing where to set boundaries around work and other life stressors.”
Peter Attia MD, Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity

4. Learn Continuously: Adopting a continuous learning mindset is highly recommended. This can be achieved by enrolling in courses, devouring books, participating in workshops, and delving into online resources. Doing so will keep your mind sharp and help you gain new insights and perspectives that can lead to exciting opportunities.

“Learning is deeper and more durable when it’s effortful. Learning that’s easy is like writing in sand, here today and gone tomorrow.”
Peter C. Brown, Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning

5. Travel and Explore: Satisfy your wanderlust by exploring new places, cultures, and experiences. Travel broadens your horizons, creates lasting memories, and exposes you to diverse perspectives. Don’t wait for the “perfect time” to travel; seize the opportunity and embark on adventures that enrich your life.

6. Practice Gratitude: Develop a habit of gratitude. Take time each day to reflect on the things you are grateful for. Gratitude shifts your focus to the positive aspects of life and enhances overall well-being. Appreciating what you have rather than dwelling on regrets will bring greater contentment.

7. Let Go of Grudges: It is imperative to release any lingering grudges and resentments to attain growth and happiness. Forgiveness is the key to liberating yourself from the past and fostering a clearer mind. By letting go of negative emotions, you can unlock the potential to move forward and embrace a brighter future.

8. Live in the Present: Practice mindfulness and be fully present in each moment. Cherish the little joys and experiences that make up your daily life. Embrace the beauty of the present and savor the precious moments that may otherwise pass unnoticed.

9. Give Back: Partaking in volunteer work or performing acts of kindness can lead to a profound sense of fulfillment and purpose. Dedicating your time and energy to a more significant cause can positively impact others and the world around you. This can result in a lasting impact that will bring you a sense of satisfaction and help you avoid any potential regrets.

10. Embrace Change and Take Risks: To live a fulfilling life, taking calculated risks and being open to change is essential. By stepping outside our comfort zones, we can learn and grow in ways we never thought possible. Avoiding risk may seem like a safe choice, but it can often lead to missed opportunities and regret. Embracing change may feel scary, but it can ultimately lead to more tremendous personal and professional success. So don’t be afraid to take that leap of faith and see where it takes you.

Conclusion:

  1. As you enter the second half of your life, choose to live without regrets.
  2. Embrace your passions, cultivate meaningful relationships, prioritize your health, and continuously learn and explore.
  3. Practice gratitude, let go of grudges, and live in the present moment.
  4. Give back to the community and embrace change fearlessly.

Following these ten principles, you can lead a life that fills your heart with joy, fulfillment, and a deep sense of purpose. Embrace the journey ahead and make every day count.

So, why wait? Start living a regret-free life today!

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Madhusudhan Anand's Blog

I write about Books, Climate, Air pollution, Research, Data Science, Entrepreneurship, Startups, Tech, Learning & Career