Does it seem impossible that a person can reach his last days and look back without any regrets at all? What does it take? We all seem to regret our mistakes and some of our choices in life. At AgingParents.com, we hear a lot from adult children of aging parents in poor health when these issues surface.
A friend and remarkable person, Dr. Albert Freedman, age 95
did look back and expressed only a positive view. He did not focus on money, how good he was at his work nor in touting what breakthroughs he had brought about as a comedy writer, tv producer, international journalist, or sexologist at a time when discussing sexuality was tabu. He could have bragged but never did. He remained always unpretentious. His passing is a loss to humanity and all who knew him feel it. He lived and shared a lifetime of accomplishments, overcame astounding obstacles, and was a pioneer in studying and publishing in the field of human sexuality. He could have spent time thinking about what he might have done differently. He never did that either. How unusual!
He and I spoke about his reaching the end of the road as his health declined. I asked him what he felt about it. “No regrets” he replied. Wouldn’t we all like for our aging parents and ourselves for that matter to be able to say the same? What’s the secret to living and aging with no regrets? Perhaps it’s doing what Dr. Albert did. He paid a lot of attention to those around him. He told his wife how much he loved and appreciated her every day. He kept a sense of humor and knew that laughter was as important as any medication. When he was in a social situation, he asked a lot of questions of those present rather than taking a lot of air time for himself to expound on anything. He expressed his thoughts and feelings openly, sharing both his frustration with the political climate and his joy in conversing with young people whom he saw as the hope of the world.
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