I discussed choice and regret earlier this year; writing that:
“To state the obvious, making a choice logically implies choosing NOT to do other things.”
Let’s try this little thought experiment. You chose career A and worked in that all your life. Now in late life – say aged 60 - you ask yourself could you have chosen career B instead and had a better life? This is a type of regret. We all feel regret from time to time, but in this case it’s a fallacy and here is why:
1) At 60 you’ve never experienced career B so you can’t know what it would have been like for YOU. Yes you can read the memoirs of successful career B practitioners but that is their story not yours. You can’t know what the experience would have been for you. You can only hypothesise.
2) Now imagine that you had chosen career B. There are consequences. You may now be living in a different house from your actual career A house. Good? Bad? Who knows?
So don’t feel regret. Think about it by all means but now, in retirement, try to move forward and experiment with different choices.
I hope that now you won’t fear the regret that comes from choice.
Retirement: You won’t know what it is like until you get there.
The philosopher Kieran Setiya has written eloquently on these matters.