Growing Old

How to Grow Old Without Regrets

Getting older is one of those things that nobody welcomes but no one can avoid. There is no alternative to getting older. Therefore, we have to find a way to welcome our advancing years with a positive frame of mind.

Age is in the Heart

We can be in our 20s and have the attitude of an old person. Similarly, we can be in our 70s and still have a childlike approach to life. Age is very much a mental perspective. To remain young at heart we need to retain an open mind and look for the good things in life. Don’t allow yourself to focus on the limitations of age. Instead, think about what you can do. Offer gratitude for small things that you perhaps didn’t have time to appreciate when young.


No matter how old you are, try to look for newness in life. Avoid repeating the same routine, try learning new skills or visiting different places. If we are constantly expanding our horizons, life will offer new challenges whatever our physical age. Take inspiration from The Zimmers — a band of old age pensioners who hit the big time, despite an average age in the 80s.

Don’t Complain

Forgive me, but I often find that certain old people become chronic complainers. It seems in life, especially when we are older, there is no end of things to criticise and complain about. In one way they are right — there are many imperfections in life. But, if we only see the darker side of life, we focus excessively on negative things and this will be reflected in our unhappy state of mind.It is important to be detached from the problems of the world. Also, when our body slows down we have to work hard to focus on other things. This helps us avoid focusing too much on the limitations and pains of our body.

Self Transcendence not Comparison

If we compare ourselves to other people and what we could do when we were young, we will always feel a sense of inadequacy. This is the wrong approach to take, instead, we should focus on our self transcendence. This means we seek to improve on our existing achievements as much as we can. We start from where we are and seek to make progress in our own way. The joy of self transcendence is in making an honest effort, it gives a sense of satisfaction that doesn’t depend on outer results.

Live in the Here and Now

Don’t live constantly thinking about: “if only…” . There will be many things we might have done differently, but we have to feel the past is dust. Focus on what you can do now to improve your life. This does not mean we cannot cherish fond memories; but, at the same time we need to give most importance to the present moment.

Keep Active

Getting old does not mean we have to vegetate in front of the TV, with the highlight of the week a trip to the Bingo hall. It is important to keep our mind and, where possible, our body active. If we don’t exercise our mental faculties, it will not be a surprise if we lose our concentration and ability to engage in critical thought. We should try to be a life long learner; if we keep our mind permanently busy we will retain our mental faculties for longer. We shall also gain a feeling of continuing self improvement right into old age.


Both Tagore and Churchill started painting in the evening of their life. There is no reason why old people cannot be creative. When we are no longer so physically active it is an opportunity to discover new talents and activities. Think bold and don’t allow age to be a limiting factor.

Tejvan Pettinger is a member of the Sri Chinmoy Meditation Centre. He lives in Oxford where he works as a teacher. He enjoys writing and updates a blog called Sri Chinmoy Inspiration, a collection of articles on self improvement. Recent articles include: How to overcome difficulties of life.

17 Responses to How to Grow Old Without Regrets

  1. Hi Tejvan,

    I was thinking about old age as well. Growing old without regrets is a tricky thing. As you age, you are constantly changing. The things that you appreciate now may change later.

    I read a book not too long ago (I forgot what it was called), but the author said that you should do things for the long run.

    For example, he used the example of golf. Golf is a game that you can play all your life (under most conditions), so as you age, you will continue to get better. Basketball, on the other hand, has a relatively short lifespan, which is why you don’t see too many people beyond 30 playing it.

    If there are things that you can hold on to as a constant throughout your life, then you can live in the present and not focus on the glory days (or lack thereof) of your past.

  2. Savage Old Lady says:

    Great post. As a 62 year old I am approaching old age, although at one time I might have considered 62 to be old. I guess for me old is always a little older than I am. The things that keep me young include playing legos on the floor with the little kids, getting out into nature, exercising every day no matter how much it hurts, eating a healthy diet no matter how much I want those fries, and having 3 pets I laugh at all the time.

    I have no regrets although I have made many mistakes. I love looking back at the good things and am the family historian. I love looking ahead and imagining what things will be like for my little granddaughters. And I enjoy every day. Yes, getting older brings physical pain, annoying health problems, failing eyesight, and invisibility it sure beats the alternative.

  3. “I guess for me old is always a little older than I am.”

    I think that’s a great quote!.

    I shall remember that quote as I get into my nineties….

  4. I think the most important thing we should all do is exercise our minds. We all need to start seeing the world from a different perspective. That comes from going out everyday and keeping our eyes open to all the possibilities. It comes from learning new and exciting things that force us to stretch our minds and move outside our comfort zones.

    Put practically, there are a lot of ways to do that. Turning off the TV would be a good start. Pick up a book, a newspaper, or a magazine that doesn’t have yet another celebrity’s drinking problem on the cover. Go to a museum, a gallery, an exhibit, a film festival, a theatrical production, a classical concert, or a jazz concert. Take a dance class, a cooking class, or even an investment class. Do a crossword puzzle. Do a jigsaw puzzle. Learn a language, learn an instrument, or plan an exotic holiday just for fun. Phew! I’m sure you get the idea.

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  6. kathylynn says:

    I refuse to get any older. I will do everything in my power to stay young and fit!

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  8. This is a great thing to think about! Thanks for this entry!

    -Jeff Milincheck

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  11. travis says:

    It’s a nice thing to think about! We don’t know what’s going to happen after our life is over, so we might as well do what we love. Let’s try to minimize all regrets by following our hearts.

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  14. Ohn says:

    …the old man was dreaming about the lions

  15. Jim says:

    All you people must have money.. It’s nice to have all these great hippy ideas( don’t get me wrong I’d love to try them) but when your in your 60’s with no retirement in your future and the knowledge that if you get sick your out on the street it’s a lot tougher to be so… flippant about aging.  

  16. Brian from says:

    Thank you for sharing. I love what you said about finding the “Newness” in life. I think that it is so important! I’d never really given it much thought before, but I absolutely love the idea. If we keep trying new things with that childlike approach that we mentioned, it can help our well being a great deal. Age really is in the heart, and it is vital that we realize that now.

    I work with senior citizens every day, helping them cover the out of pocket gaps brought on by government Medicare. I thought about what you said about “chronic complainers” and, well- I’ve experiences my fair share. If we just look at life with more positivity and without regret then we will end up being so much better off!

    This was an excellent read. I will definitely have to pass this information along to my friends as well as my clients. Thanks again.

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