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Hannah Byrne

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How are you living to avoid regret in your old age?

I believe that some of the most common regrets that our elders face are not having lived up to their potential, and not helping enough people. (Bill O'Reilly brought this up at the end of The O'Reilly Factor last night.) Do not waste the precious time that you have on this earth. Make a difference; either in your life or somebody else's. You don't want to lay on your deathbed with any regrets.

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  • Apr 18 2013: This is something my husband and I strive to do, which admittedly is not easy! I feel living a life to the fullest means not blindly following what society dictates and doing what you were designed to do.

    My husband and I have two kids, are both professional musicians and live off-the-grid. It's in our nature to go against the grain, think outside the box and live according to our own level of success. But it's a lifestyle that is anything but easy, especially when conformity raises its ugly head!

    First challenge: combining parenting with raising children
    Late night gigging and early-morning cartoons don't exactly mix! So we find a way to make music and be there 100% for our children at the same time. The children have access to instruments and via music, they learn how to communicate, learn and express themselves. We include our kids in our passion.

    Second challenge: Earning a living in music
    As everyone knows, a career in the arts is not exactly lucrative, especially these days! The key is to be diverse. We not only write a perform music, we also give music workshops. My husband is a recording engineer and composes, arranges and produces music for others. I am a voice coach and direct a children's choir. We also made a conscious choice to live small and relatively inexpensively so we can continue to do what we love doing.

    Third challenge: Living off the grid.
    We are completely disconnected from any source of power, water, telephone/internet, sewage system.
    It was, and is, a struggle to maintain an ecologically-aware lifestyle. Our house (and the studio) runs purely on solar energy, augmented by a windmill. We have our own water well, sewage system and mobile tel/internet. We are fully aware of every watt we use, which makes us aware of our own individual impact on the environment, which has truly enriched our lives!
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      Apr 18 2013: WOW Lizanne.....I am SO impressed!!! Good for you!!!

      I am aware of the environment, recycle, restore, reuse, renovate, grow my own food, have some passive solar, "live small" as you say. You have taken it to a whole other level.....again.....very impressed!
      • Apr 18 2013: Thank you! I am flattered! It sounds like you are doing the very same thing, it's good to know I'm not alone outside the box!
        I live by Margaret Mead's famous words: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
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          Apr 18 2013: I'm not exactly doing the same thing Lizanne, because I'm on the grid, village water and sewer.

          GREAT quote, and I totally agree! I think people often get descouraged because they don't think the little efforts make any difference. We have curb side recycling in the village, paid for by our taxes, and it is amazing how many people throw stuff in the trash, rather than in the recyle bin! If everyone in our world reused one plastic bag every day, rather than using a new one every single day, it would keep millions/billions of plastic bags out of our land fills. We still see a lot of people having their groceries put in plastic bags rather than bringing cloth bags. Although I am seeing more and more cloth bags all the time. Those are very simple things that we can all do, that add up. I know you know this:>)
      • Apr 19 2013: Absolutely, Colleen! I guess, as soon as each individual starts taking the environment seriously, we might just get somewhere.
        I just listened to a presentation by Sir Ken Richardson, who said something to the effect of: If we removed all the insects from the earth, in 50 years, the world would die. If we removed all the people from the earth, in 50 years, the world would flourish.
        That fact gave me a chill I didn't like at all.
        Thank you so much for your thoughts on this!
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          Apr 20 2013: I agree Lizanne.....it is up to each and every one of us to be good stewards of the environment, which sustains us. We are ALL interconnected, and part of the whole, in my perception. It makes sense to be aware, mindful and take care of ourselves, each other, and the environment.

          I've heard that saying before....about removing insects, or people from the earth, and what the results might be. It is sad, that supposedly as the most intelligent creatures on this earth, we don't do a very good job of being good stewards of our earth.

          Thanks for your thoughts as well! It is fun to share information with someone who may be on the same page.....same book.......same library:>)
  • Apr 19 2013: Our very reason for being here is to help others.
    Ever heard this quote? "We are not born for the sake of ourselves, we are born for the sake of others." ~ Swedenborg

    The more useful we are the less we have to regret.

    Personally I have no difficulty in using technology, if it is electricity, cars or sewer systems, as long as we (can) pay for what we use. This also includes stroopwavels.
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    Apr 24 2013: You can't go through life worrying about whether what you're doing at the moment will or will not be regretted when you're old. If it seems right at the time, after reasonable counsel, do it.
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    Apr 19 2013: By being honest and sincere. The most difficult task in life is to measure one's own worth. It is wise to set a modest value and work with honesty and sincerity. And looking in the forward direction. Because there is no regret in that direction.
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    Apr 19 2013: i plan to forget everything by that time
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    Apr 18 2013: Hi Hannah,
    I don't have any regrets, and I'm pretty sure I will not have any when I take my last breath. I volunteered in a terminal care facility, sitting with folks who were dying, and you're right, most regrets are based on things people DID NOT do that they could have done while fully living the life adventure. Those who lived a full life with no regrets, were more content with the dying process, just as they had been with the process of living.

    You advise to "Make a difference; either in your life or somebody else's". I suggest that when we make a difference in somebody elses life, we are also making a difference in our own lives, and when we make a difference in our own life, we most often impact other people's lives as well. In my perception, we are all connected, so our actions/reactions are all connected as well:>)
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    Apr 18 2013: Wow that is really excellent! Talk about living life to the fullest! It sounds like a challenge that you and your husband have been tackling really well. Of course living a full life is always going to be a challenge (hopefully made easier by time and experience) but is well worth it in the end. :)