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by Lucy McCarraher & Annabel Shaw



Looking back and wishing I’d done things differently is a tendency I have when I get a ‘blue’ day. Most of us will experience ‘blue’ days from time to time as we get older but they really are a waste of time and energy. They help no-one, least of all me.

For example, did I do all I could have done for my kids? I don’t know. I can beat myself up for hours on this one, especially at 3.00 am in the morning. What I do know is that I did the very best I could do at the time I was doing it, making decisions, coping with the situation then – not now, then. If I had my time over again would I do things differently? Yes, in some instances I would. But I didn’t. It’s in the past. Let it go.

Martin Seligman, author of ‘Learned Optimism’, advocates, as I do, that we take responsibility for our own happiness. But that doesn’t mean that we have to take responsibility for absolutely everything that happens to us. The point of owning up to temporary failure is that we can change. We don’t see the failure as permanent – I am stupid. It’s all my fault. It won’t be – ever. If your son or daughter drops out of university, it’s easy to see that as a parental failure. I didn’t instill enough self-discipline in him or her. That’s nonsense. The reality will be that your student offspring was bored with the course and made his or her own decision to leave.
Be happy that whatever has happened in your life has brought you to where you are now, older, wiser, and more secure. If you made mistakes in the past, learn from them and move on.
Thank-you to Penny Young of Magnificent Ageing for this post : You can visit Penny's site at

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