Lately I have been thinking a lot about fear and regret. Perhaps this is the result of writing about David Brooks’ “Life Reports” and thinking about how to build a life that I will look back on with pride rather than regret.
As I read these reports, many contain the same theme: regret felt late in life because of risks not taken early in life. Fear holds back so many of us from pursuing our dreams, whether personal or professional. It is only later in life, when the fear of embarrassment or failure is replaced by a confrontation with ones own mortality that a true and accurate perspective is attained. From the vantage point of old age all of those little fears that seemed so big at the time must appear trivial and regret replaces fear as we realize we can’t go back and confront those fears again.