1 Your Lifetime Lessons - What Have You Learned Over The Years? | FiftyLife

Your Lifetime Lessons

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FiftyLife asked the UK’s over 50s to name their proudest lifetime achievements, learnings, and their hopes for future generations. From our survey of 2,000 people, we collected the most common regrets as well as ambitions for what people are still hoping to achieve in later life. While 60% told us they have regrets in life, many also named what they think are the best things to achieve.

The results of our survey are in...

You told us: feel the fear and do it anyway

Reaching middle age can be a bit of a balancing act.

You’re by no means old, but you’re probably not up for as many wild nights out either. There’s still a great deal of life to look forward to, but you’ve also got the experience and perspective to take stock of what you’ve already achieved.

FiftyLife asked 2,000 Britons aged 50 and above for their opinion on life, the lessons they’ve learned, the wisdom they want to share, and the achievements they’d still like to tick off their bucket lists. We also had a little extra help from some of the UK’s top over-50s bloggers who passed on their experiences in more detail.

According to our respondents, Mark Twain was right when he said, “twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do”. Our new research reveals the answer to that age-old question: is it better to regret the things you do, or the things you don’t do? Nearly two-thirds (65%) of the 2,000 over 50s surveyed said missed opportunities and risks not taken lead to more regret than doing and failing.

Infographic - two in three regret the things they've done

Those surveyed were taken from all walks of life, as were our star bloggers. We were lucky to get a diverse range of voices on board, united by one common goal – living well and feeling great after 50:

  • Nikki Garnett from Midlife Chic – ‘the thinking woman’s style blog.’
  • David Evans, men’s style influencer and owner of the Grey Fox Blog,
  • Finally, we have Ceri Wheeldon, the woman behind Fab After Fifty.

All three are focused on providing an uplifting, inspirational message for people approaching their golden years. The whole game has changed compared to even 20 years ago, when reaching midlife was seen as a sign to start taking things easy.

What are the best things to do in life?

In terms of advice for those at the start of life’s journey, raising happy, healthy children was named as the best thing to achieve in life, cited as the number one aspiration by two thirds of participants, followed by finding a life partner (58%).

Money, careers and material things came a distant second to relationships, family and looking after your health. Only 1 in 10 of those surveyed thought building a successful career was one of the greatest goals to aim for, while just three in ten felt money could bring happiness.

Our interviewees were honest about the fact that life involves a bit of give and take. When asked about her favourite achievements so far, Ceri had this to say:

“I don’t have any children, so my greatest achievements have been work-related, having had a successful career as a headhunter, and also totally reinventing my career to do something I felt passionate about when I set up Fab after Fifty.”

Infographic - the best thing to achieve in life is raising happy, healthy children

The most common regrets for Over 50s

Those taking part in our survey did name some regrets, which were mainly things they hadn’t done. The most common regret was wishing they’d travelled more. A further quarter of those questioned wish they’d ended a bad relationship sooner while, poignantly, more than 1 in 5 (23%) say they wished they’d told their parents they loved them while they still had time.

The modern fifty-plus is an optimist, always looking ahead to the joys they still want to take from life. That might be as simple as being able to relax and have more fun, as more than (54%) said they wanted to do, or to wish the best for their children and see them happily settled (32%).

It’s great to see, despite all their life achievements so far, that our over 50s are still motivated and looking for new opportunities. David had a little more to say about what his biggest motivators are:

“Being happy and fulfilled by contributing to society and the world around us. I see so many people now who are so wrapped up in themselves that they can’t see their problems in perspective. The more interest we take in what’s around us the better. How can we improve society and the environment? That question should always be at the front of our minds.”

A philosophical approach to regrets

Reflecting on years gone by brings with it a certain bittersweet vibe. Real life isn’t perfect, and our bloggers were upfront about its ups and downs.

Ceri remained philosophical about regrets in life:

“All we can do is build on past experiences and do things in a different way in the future. It is never too late to live the life you want and be the person you are meant to be.”

Nikki, meanwhile, had only one very firm and funny regret:

“The pointy sequinned stilettos I wore for an old friend’s birthday last year! A summer season with mutilated feet is not a good look for a style blogger and I regretted those shoes for a full twelve months!”

High heeled shoes were a regret for Nikki
Couple enjoying travel FiftyLife

Look to the future with FiftyLife

Wherever you are on your life journey, it helps to know that those closest to you would be properly looked after if you weren’t around.

Low-cost Over 50s Life Insurance secures a cash lump sum of up to £10,000 which your loved ones can use to cover the financial impact of your death, pay the cost of a fitting memorial, or anything else they need.

Curious about how Life Insurance could work out for you? Speak to our expert team or get a quote online in just two minutes.


Read our full interviews with Ceri, David and Nikki


Ceri Wheeldon is the founder and editor of Fab After Fifty, a lifestyle website dedicated to informing women about health, style, anti-ageing and finance in later life. We asked her about the life lessons she’s learned through experience, and why she thinks the biggest one is to trust your instincts.


David Evans is a teacher turned blogger, who writes about fashion and styling for the modern 40+ man over at Grey Fox Blog. He spoke to us about the things he’s learned over the years, and why contributing to society motivates him.


Lifestyle blogger Nikki Garnett, from the North West of England, runs a creative agency with her husband, alongside regularly updating her blog for women in middle age. She spoke to FiftyLife about …

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Please bear in mind...

If you take out over 50s life insurance with FiftyLife, you’re covered immediately for accidental death, and you’re fully covered after 2 years. Once you reach 90 – your payments stop, so you may pay in more than you get out if you live a long life. FiftyLife provide an Over 50s life insurance product, as opposed to a ‘savings’ plan.

Your cover’s value may fall over time due to inflation. This may mean that your cover amount may pay for a funeral today, but possibly not in 10-15 years’ time for example.