I am absolutely intrigued by an interview I heard on NPR today driving from somewhere in WV to Louisville, KY. The man’s name was Karl Pillemar and he was discussing this book that he wrote after a chance meeting with a “remarkable 90 year old woman”. As a renowned gerontologist, he decided to find out what older people know about life that the rest of us don’t.
He spoke with 1,000 Americans over the age of 65, many of whom lived through the Depression and WWII! The interview caught my attention when Pillemar began speaking of regrets – the elders he spoke with unanimously said they wished they’d traveled more! No lie! He said they spoke of spending money on experiences not on things. “OMGsh”, I thought, “What? That’s incredible!!” He went on to say one woman he interviewed said if it’s between a kitchen remodel and a trip, “take the trip.”
They unanimously endorsed travel at the sacrifice of other things! Travel broadens your horizons, it opens your heart, it brings you closer to the people of the world and it certainly brings you closer to the people you travel with. Experiencing the same awe, helping each other, relying on each other in unfamiliar environments … it’s a bonding experience unlike any other.
I’ve never met a single person who says they hate to travel. In fact, every single person I meet eventually tells me they “wish” they could do what we are doing … live a life of travel and adventure and fun … but … Those “buts” are all filled with worry and fear.
Which leads me to the most surprising regret mentioned by the elders … worry. These wise, been there, done ALL that Americans said they wished they hadn’t spent so much of their lives worrying. In fact they stated that if they had one single do-over in life, they would want all the time they spent worrying back. Amazing! Think about that. Worry prevents us from taking risks; from living out our most amazing, but short, lives. It paralyzes us. Their advice, stop worrying, and problem solve.
So, regardless of your age, get out there and live a life with few regrets, a life where you don’t look back, you blaze forward … faith, family, fun style.