A while back I stumbled on an online article entitled “50 Regrets All Too Common Among People Over 50.” It didn’t appear to be click bait, so I perused it.
The second paragraph was revelatory, intoning a survey of 1,000 people over 60 (not 50) found “only 17%” of the respondents were regret-free.
And my cynicism immediately kicked in. It’s difficult for me to imagine someone could live an average existence in contemporary America and not regret something. The degree of personal freedom and choices we currently have allow for beaucoup blunders and since nobody’s perfect, we all should have had experiences about which we have negative 20/20 hindsight. We also probably wish we had a time machine to rectify such foibles.
Someone who proclaims he/she has no regrets or no remorse about his/her life is someone with whom I probably wouldn’t be able to establish a decent relationship based on mutual respect.
As for the “50 Regrets” article, the first item listed was “Quitting school.” While the article didn’t specify if its own rankings were in order regarding the most-cited regrets, a portion of the “Quitting school” text cited a 2008 research project that found dropping out of school outranked other regrets concerning careers, romance, parenting, self-improvement and leisure.
Regret No. 2 was “Not accomplishing more.” Its page included a comment from a psychotherapist as well as a reference to a study in 2018. In fact, all of the pages of the article cited other surveys and studies and/or quotes from experts — and yes, a reader had to click a “next” arrow to get to the following page.
The list cited a lot of different subjects to which a lot of us could relate — healthier lifestyles, romantic remorse, career contrition, etc. One wonders how many individuals were thinking “Yep, that applies to me” or “Been there, done that” when reading the article.
And there’s also what might be called a “dubious domino effect,” such a checklist of egalitarian regrets could potentially generate an interest in one or more of those so-called “reputation” or “contact” websites. Someone might want to look up someone after decades to establish contact for one or numerous reasons.
Such sites were examined herein a few months ago (“Online personal info options becoming more Orwellian”). Since that commentary ran, I’ve come across a couple of other things that seem to add to the ominous possibilities of such sites:
I’ve noted television commercials for “reputation repair” companies. Apparently, what such digital enterprises do is what their description says — one would presume they adjust or eliminate any negative information about specific individuals (or perhaps even companies or organizations) that’s out there on the internet, leaving only sweetness and light.
How this is accomplished seems to be a bit fuzzy. There seems to be a possibility “reputation repair” can be selective to the point of dishonesty if only the “bad stuff,” if true, is obliterated.
Then there are the reputation/background check sites themselves. Subsequent casual research I’ve done since the earlier column ran has revealed the inaccuracies that can be expectorated are mind-boggling.
I was made aware of one person whose current age, city of residence and contact information seemed accurate.
The problem is, that individual died in 1992.
One local guy I know researched himself online, as many folks would. He informed me on one “background check” website, his given name is wrong, his phone numbers are wrong, and his incorrect email address places him in the U.K. He had not contributed any information to that particular “public records” website, and he’s reticent about trying to correct the erroneous stuff.
Can’t say I blame him.
If someone has some kind of regret to alleviate or perhaps some kind of unfinished business with someone that might date back for decades, contact shouldn’t necessarily require the use of a not-particularly-reliable-website.
And by the way, Regret No. 50 was “Not leaving a legacy.”