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Regrets of the Elderly

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#1 Aegist

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 04:13 AM

Hey people,
Just doing a little research and was hoping to use this thread as a collection point for information on any studies down where Old people, retirees, near death etc recount their regrets, the things that they wish they did when they were younger, things they wish they had more time to do etc.

Any info is appreciated!

Edit: Fixed the title

Edited by Aegist, 17 July 2007 - 01:23 PM.

#2 Aegist

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 04:32 AM

First study found:
People regret the fun they didn't have more than the virtues they didn't.

Ahhh, this is exactly the sort of thing I am after:
A meta-data study of 11 regret studies which finds that the biggest regrets are education, career, romance, parenting, the self, and leisure.

This study might also be useful:

Age differences in the associations among intensity of regret, control attributions, and intrusive thoughts
were investigated (N  122, age range  20–87 years). Given that the opportunities to overcome
regrettable behavior decline with age, older adults’ attributions of low internal control were expected to
serve self-protective functions and facilitate deactivation of regret. In younger adults, by contrast, high
levels of internal-control attributions might facilitate active change of regrettable behavior, resulting in
low intensities of regret. The results showed that internal-control attributions were related to high
intensity of regret and intrusive thoughts in older adults. Among younger adults, however, internalcontrol
attributions were associated with low intensity of regret and low levels of intrusive thoughts.

#3 Brainbox

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 01:21 PM

I'm by no means near-death (I hope) or old, but my regret is that during my adolescence we had no Internet. This is probably an entire different angle looking at your issue, but yes, I have them already although this might not be a real one since it's not something I could have altered... :)

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#4 Aegist

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 01:24 PM

New angles are always welcome. But yeah, in general the idea is to find the most common regrets, and reconsider how eternal youth will change them.

For instance from that list above: education, career, romance, parenting, the self, and leisure, Education and Career are easily solved by immortality as you have indefinite time to choose a new career or to go back to uni and learn something new. There is no need to wish you did it while you were young and able...you will be forever young.

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#5 niner

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 12:01 AM

I'm not anywhere near death either, though I sure was a couple months ago. I'm still trying to sort out exactly how that experience altered my psychology; at this point I can say something's different, that's for sure. And mostly for the better. Anyway, on the topic of regrets, the first thing that crosses my mind is that I wish I had taken better care of myself when I was younger. In my defense, aside from the fact that I was young, there are a lot of things we understand now that we just didn't know then, or more accurately I didn't know then. A fully realized SENS technology might fix this regret, but I have a feeling it's pretty far in the future. No amount of technology can fix the regret of missed opportunities: I'm tempted to say that I regret having been shy and insecure when I was younger, on the other hand, that was the psychology and programming I was dealt, so It's not like I had full control over the situation. In that regard, I'm not really sure it counts as a "regret", since I don't see myself as having been fully free to change it at the time. With every new high on the Dow, I regret having listened to the bearish voices in my head (and on the net) that told me to sell stocks at the lows of last summer..(yowch!) But mostly I'm trying to not generate a lot of new regrets. At least I get to spend a lot of time with my kids due to opting out of the hard-core corporate world. I think in the future I'll look back on that happily, and not care that it meant I drove a junky car.

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