When we humans reach middle age, we begin to take stock of our lives. That assessment tends to focus on our achievements and our regrets, pertaining to relationships, family, our career and our personal goals and interests.
Some of us deny having regrets while others minimize their achievements; of course, neither of those purported views match reality and generally reflect an inflated or depressed level of self esteem. The rest of us fall across the spectrum, acknowledging that our life has been defined by a mix of achievements and regrets and sensing that the balance is tipped in one direction or the other.
Problems arise when we become satisfied with our achievements or obsessed with our regrets. Both can lead to inertia, convincing us that our productive life has ended or that perceived mistakes will forever taint our accomplishments. The solution to these self-imposed dilemmas is to challenge ourselves with new goals and to accept the fact that regrets are part of human life; when we direct energy toward our passions, we are less likely to dwell on past mistakes, however real or imagined they might be.