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  • Mallory Garber

Their Time Capsules are Filled with Regret| NotForgotten

But I love the lessons they hold. How to learn more about life through what other people regretted not doing.



I think we can all agree that when it comes to life, nobody actually knows what they are doing. Even those who look as though they have it the most together are usually those who are the most lost. We go about life guessing, hoping for the best.


Personally, I think it’s pretty common to not know how to prioritize the more important things in life. I think we grow up thinking some sort of life sansei will come along and guide us on the right path, only to find out that there is no real path to follow. We ultimately have to look to one another for guidance. That being said, often times humans follow the same pattern of regrets in life…so why haven’t we learned?


In the process of researching common regrets people have in their lives, almost the same 5 appeared in every article:

  1. Allowing work to trump family and friendships

  2. Not keeping in touch with meaningful people in life

  3. Worrying about what others think about them

  4. Taking life too seriously

  5. Being unforgiving

Whether you are 16 or 60, you cannot tell me you read that list without being guilty of at least one of those. Technology has given us the ability to receive feedback on every aspect of life. While we we are all individually different we all share common fallibilities, and are all just human. I think that is very evident by the centuries of advice that is passed along to us.


We can already see how technology has impacted the trends of happiness in contemporary generations. Being part of the millennial/Generation Z generation myself, I have noticed my people are much more care free. I believe one of the reasons is due to those common regrets we often hear. Could it be that these generations are trying to listen by taking action?


The more I observe, the more I recognize people prioritizing the simple things in life rather than sticking to a 9–5 routine society has built for them. Whether that is efficient or not, I do not know…but I am sure it will make for a whole new list of regrets for future generations to learn from.



As college student, I have my whole life ahead of me and while that is exciting, it is also terrifying. Thinking of life beyond college is such a vast unknown. I still have so many more challenges to face. Husband? Kids? Loss? Aging? When I think of it that way it feels as though I have barely lived. If there is one thing I can count on though, it is that I am not alone and countless others have walked the path ahead of me, tripping and learning themselves. As we confront huge chapters in our lives, it is not hard to simply turn to one another and ask how to read them.


Something I read that really stood out to me was a mother moving her son into college. As she put her efforts into converting his frat house into more of a home, she had an epiphany of sorts. She explained that,


“On the final evening, I found myself alone in a horrid Illinois hotel, still thinking about my boy’s apprehensions for his journey into adulthood and how I might help him make decisions he would never regret.”


The mother then proceeded to do what any concerned mother would do and typed “What is your biggest regret. Asking for a friend” in her twitter search engine. Who would have thought we could discover some of life’s most hidden secrets at the tips of our fingertips?


The responses she received were so powerful that she felt as though she had learned her own lesson.


“By the end of the evening, I felt I might have learned more about life through what people regretted not doing, than through 55 years of being given advice about what to do.”


Perhaps people make these tweets and lists of things they wish they had done as a method to ease some of their regret. Perhaps the act of writing it down, getting it out, gives them closure. But more importantly perhaps you are simply correcting the record for eternity — giving people a key to really know who you are. Taking the moment to put it out there that you loved them. Or saying I’m sorry. Or helping others understand maybe why you did not do those things.


Perhaps creating the learning for others to takes some of the regret away for not doing it themselves. If you are one of those people, make every word count. Don’t let your advice get lost amongst a thousand others when someone googles “How to not have a bad day.”



If you want your words to last there are definitely better ways to share your regrets and lessons and have it found than through just another google search engine. Methods like time capsules are the perfect vessels to leave messages and pass along advice to future generations, and to be certain your words will be there inspiring others for generations. With programs like NotForgotten, capturing lessons and regrets can evolve into something so much more powerful and permanent.


There is something profoundly comforting about knowing what you have to say will be heard even after you are gone. Being able to take advice from those who have already lived is such a gift. When I hear the word regret, I usually hear it with a heavy tone, knowing what follows is going to have a lot of depth and meaning. But each regret is in fact a lesson to future generations, or even perhaps a steer for your future self. When I read others regrets, its inspiring to me that I’m not alone — I just have to reach out and find the lessons that will make my own journey simpler.


I want to be able to look back on life and learn from the things I did not do. There will always be reasons and excuses as to why I did not do them. I believe the most haunting question we are faced with when we do not do something is “what if?” What if I had told them I love them? What if I had not quit that job? What if I hadn’t been so afraid? What if I had apologized?


What we are taught with age and lessons from others is that those “what if’s” are nothing more than a question. Hearing advice from those who have already lived have taught me that the only thing you can do with the past is remember it. I think that is a key lesson for everyone to know. While you cannot change the past, you can analyze how it can make you a better person.


I think that is the whole purpose of time capsules, to be able to delve into the past in a way that you can relate to. If you are reading this while you are still young and looking for guidance, visit places like NotForgotten to easily find advice while connecting to the past. If you are reading this and feel as though you have already lived and have your own regrets to share, it is never too late to do so. Putting them in a capsule will help those younger readers learn from your mistakes.


Onwards,


Mallory

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