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    24 Later-In-Life Regrets That People Over 40 Reaaaally Wish They'd Taken Care Of Sooner

    "If you take even mediocre care of this, age 40 is when that long-term neglect comes back to bite you..."

    There's no doubt that we grow wiser with age. And as we get older and look back on our younger years, we can see many things that we just couldn't see at the time. So one Redditor asked, "People over 40, what's one thing you regret the most in your younger years?" Here are some things that older folks would go back and tell their younger selves.

    1. "I wish I had taken more photos of mundane things in my life: things like my workplace, colleagues, my living room, the street I live on, etc. I am a nostalgic person, so this is big for me. We tend to take photos of special things, like Christmas dinner or the castles and beaches we see on vacation. But we don't think of photographing the day-to-day things that are always there because we take them for granted. But I wish I had more photos of life's everyday joys to aid my memory."

    Person arranging a selection of printed photos on a table, with a laptop in the background

    2. "Not appreciating the people who loved me enough. I am coming to the realization that I was crazy selfish and didn’t love people the way I should have. Don't take the love people give you for granted."


    3. "Not stretching and maintaining muscle mass. When I had kids, I stopped both, and it took a decade to get it back. Treat your body well. Something happens in your late thirties, and the better shape you are in, the better your 40s and years after will feel."

    Woman performing a back squat in a gym, facing a squat rack, digital clock reads 20:00

    4. "Caring too much about what other people thought of me. All the dumb, embarrassing stuff you did that comes back to haunt you at night? Yeah, you’re probably the only one who remembers any of those incidents."


    5. "Not traveling more in my younger years. Sitting on a plane for 12 hours is much more difficult now than it was when I was 20 years old."

    Person with backpack standing in cobblestone street between old buildings

    6. "Speaking too quickly rather than listening and thinking more."


    7. "It seems so cliche, but I did not wear enough sunscreen in my younger years. I used to lie in the sun with baby oil so I could get a good tan. How stupid was I? Now, my face looks like a topographic map of California. Wear sunscreen, kids!"

    Person applying lotion to their arm with visible veins and spots, skincare routine

    8. "Deferring too readily to the judgment of others. I had the naive belief that other people had my best interest at heart. Speak up for yourself. Defend your own decisions. No one is out there waiting to make you thrive."


    9. "Not prioritizing my health. When I was younger, I didn't exercise or go to the gym. I ate a bunch of sugar, drank way too much, and smoked cigarettes. All of these lifestyle decisions compound in your 40s."

    Person holding a half-eaten burger with fries on the side, on a tray, next to a smartphone

    10. "Letting go of toxic friendships and relationships. It's a tough thing to do, but letting go of these people who don't serve you is better for your mental health."


    11. "Not learning a musical instrument. I’m trying now, but it’s harder as you get older."

    Close-up of a person playing a violin, focusing on the instrument and bow in their hands

    12. "Spending too much time worrying about love and not enough time concentrating on happiness."


    13. "I wish I'd taken high school more seriously. If I had done better, it would have opened so many more doors for me later on. I had the ability to be great in school, but didn’t care enough."

    Students sitting at desks with notebooks, facing away towards a board not visible in the image

    14. "Not asking older family members more questions about our family and people who came before me while they were still alive."


    15. "Yoga. For the love of god, start doing yoga. Everything starts hurting and becomes stiff, but if you start doing yoga regularly, it eases up drastically. And do word puzzles to keep your brain active."

    Person rolling out a yoga mat in preparation for exercise

    16. "Not saving money is a big one. The younger you are, the better. Just start simple: Put away very small amounts of money at a time in an account that you don’t withdraw from."


    17. "I wish I had taken better care of my teeth. If you take even mediocre care of your teeth, age 40 is when that long-term neglect comes back to bite you."

    Close-up of a person's fingers pulling a strand of dental floss taut

    18. "Living life on other people’s terms and not my own terms. Young people, it’s YOUR life. You are entitled to live it the way you want to."


    19. "Not enjoying youth more. I didn't realize how fast my younger years would pass."

    Image of blurred figures dancing in a low-light club setting

    20. "I didn't max out the match of every 401(k) I've ever had, and I should have. It's usually not much of your overall pay, and while it can be tight at times, it's one of the best investment choices you can make."


    21. "I wish I exercised more. Take it from a 72-year-old guy who has been retired for 13 years: Retirement can be a wonderful time to travel, play with grandchildren, socialize, and develop new interests. But you can only enjoy these things if you have the ability to move without pain. Some of my friends can hardly walk to the mailbox, severely limiting what they can do. Start now if you are nearing 50 and are not in shape or need to lose a few pounds. You will wish you had gotten into better shape when you're 60 or 70."

    Person jogging on a grassy path with sunlight ahead

    22. "Not enjoying being single. Looking back, I centered most of my social interactions around finding "the one." I should have just enjoyed getting to know people."


    23. "I spent too much of my 20s in bad relationships. Would’ve been so much better off focusing on the things I enjoyed doing that made me happy instead!"

    Person gardening, wearing floral gloves, using shears on white flowers

    24. And finally, "Not setting firm boundaries with people. Givers have to set limits because takers have no limits."


    Older readers, what's something that you regret from your youth? Or something you wish you could go back and tell your younger self? Tell us in the comments or add it to this anonymous form.

    Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.