Have you interacted with some older people? Have you listened to them when they pour out the contents lurking deep in their minds? Things they had ruminated so many times without uttering. Things they wished had or hadn’t happened. Those regrets are deep. They are shattering. Those contents in the minds of older people are thought provoking. Listening to them you might think that such regrets are trivial or inconsequential and that they are supposed to have outgrown them. But the truth is, those thoughts keep nagging them with lifelong despair. For many older people, the reality of life not giving the chance to undo the past is real.
There are some older people who helplessly regret the kind of childhood they had. Some were abused. Some were deprived of education. Some were maltreated or neglected.
The regrets of some older people centers around marital choice. Some silently wish they had married different persons. That if they got another chance at choosing a wife or husband they wouldn’t choose their current spouses. There are also people who still wonder why their families stopped them from marrying from certain tribes. There was someone who really wanted to marry an Ibo woman. He had that affinity for women from that group but was forced by his family to marry a Yoruba woman because he is Yoruba. He loves his wife but that wish that was never fulfilled continued to haunt him. Someone during a marriage thanksgiving said he married late at mid-thirties. There he let out a regret, probably unintentionally.
Quite a number of old people regret how their children turned out at adulthood when compared with other people’s children. Comparison may not make sense but they have such regrets.
Some quietly wish they took things more seriously when they were young. They wish they attended more classes, went to fewer parties, never gambled, and wasted less money.
Some who later became religious regret not seeking God while young. They think their lives would have been more meaningful. They also think they would have turned out differently. Some wished they prayed more or cared for their spiritual needs more.
Some older people always remember the good old days when they made so much money. Those times seem so distant now. They wished they took better decisions on how they used those fortunes. How those crass business decisions now haunt them. Some regret losing so much money in business ventures they had little ideas of – losses from which they never recovered.
Some older persons regret the lifestyles they had when they were young. They consider how things might have turned out if they had taken better care of their health, if they had not experimented with drugs and other vices. Now they are battling with grave health issues.
Some even regret how they could have been more social when they were young. Now they see kids having good times and feel jealous. Some watch their TVs and feel envious of people their age who have made it where they struggled.
They say experience is the best teacher. Young people should consider rolling with older individuals as they might benefit from the regrets they spew, most times unintentionally. That statement from the classic ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’ still holds true today: “when youth meets with age for advice, he get the experience of years.”