Have I Wasted My Life?

August 26, 2019
If you've ever found yourself asking the question "Have I wasted my life?" then perhaps it's time to follow some good advice. In this article, discover some tips that may help you continue on your path.

Perhaps the years have gone by without you having noticed. Work obligations, the daily grind, and a great number of worries have kept you busy. So busy, in fact, that you haven’t had time to reflect on your state of being. But perhaps, on a day like any other, tired of living that automated life, you’ll start to question things. Various questions will start to spring up in your mind repeatedly – Have I gotten what I always wanted or have I wasted my life? Am I where I want to be?

If you’ve ever found yourself thinking about these issues, or if you’re at that period of your life right now, don’t forget that it’s more normal than you’d expect. At one point or another, almost everyone goes through this same rough patch.

That being said, it might be scary to find that you’re asking yourself these types of questions. That’s because you might not know how far they’ll take you. It could also be a time when an internal state of positive introspection comes up within you that will lead to personal enrichment. As such, a new redirecting impulse can come out of this period of crisis. It can lead your life into a more positive and self-aware state. Let’s explain what we mean by this.

“The real truths of life are never entirely new to you or to anybody because there is a level deep down within you where you already know all the things.”

-Eckhart Tolle-

If you ask the question have I wasted my life it might worry you as it does to this woman.

The great question: “Have I wasted my life?”

When a person asks themselves this, the feeling they experience is like chasm opening up inside them. In fact, it’s not uncommon for this to lead them to analyze their life retrospectively. The objective of this type of reflection is to attain a balance between the achievements gained and the negative events or failures in their life.

The result can be many emotions that try to fly out at the same time. That may be because, for some time, they had been dormant or even suppressed. The key is to identify them, to think about their origins, and to express them. This can clue you into your current state and help liberate you from burdens that didn’t allow you to progress.

As you can see, asking yourself these questions comes with the consequence of a deep mental and emotional journey. They’re about all the areas of your life that you consider important. You will assess them one after another. Among others, the following tend to be especially significant in this process:

Have I wasted my life regarding my work?

“Do I like my job?” “What perspectives is it offering me?” “Will I stay here forever?” “Have I wasted my life in it?”

These are questions that often don’t have any easy answers. Working is essential for living and, as such, it’s a reality that’s hard to escape from. That’s why even though you may not be able to control all of the circumstances surrounding your work, the attitude with which you face it depends on you.

Nevertheless, many psychologists suggest that, as it’s not generally a good idea to base your happiness on your profession, you should choose your job carefully. It might be a better idea to opt for one that has less of an emotional impact on you. This is especially true if you’re not feeling well or you feel that work’s bothering you or bringing you negative consequences.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”

-Michael Jordan-

It’s important to be aware that you can’t force anyone to be where they don’t want to be. That’s why you can reassess your work situation at any time and start looking for new opportunities if you think it’s best.

When the work you’re doing brings you more stress than satisfaction, that could be a sign. It could be time for you to go and find opportunities for advancement and, through that, avoid getting stuck in a bad situation. However, it’s true that sometimes it isn’t possible.

Life is made up of moments. That’s why one way to take advantage of it is to learn to make the most out of every second. So let’s take, for example, the case where you can’t always be at home due to your job. If you don’t want this circumstance to bog down your ability to enjoy life, you can make a deal with yourself. You can endeavor to make the time you do spend at home unforgettable.

Family

“Have I wasted my family life?” This might be another one of the great questions growing in your mind. A positive way to face it is by framing the question in a different way. This can give you a different answer when you do.

That is to say: you can transform that question into a formulation that lacks the necessary aspect of negative emotions. These can spur you toward action. You might be inspired to reach a more desirable type of family life than the one you’ve been living up to this point. Try something like this: “It may be true that I’ve wasted by family life. So now’s the time to do something to change all of that”.

Most of the time you don’t choose your family. Despite that, it’s beneficial, at the emotional level, to give thanks for the family you have. You might even appreciate the very fact of having a family. Remember that not everyone is so lucky.

Perhaps in your case, a lot of time has gone by and you’ve distanced yourself from family members. Or maybe it’s just that you don’t have the relationships you want with them. Whatever the case may be, what’s stopping you from having that relationship with your family that you’ve always desired?

The past, if you want to see it this way, is nothing more than a daydream in the mind. And as it has such a nature, it doesn’t have to obstruct your ability to act today. You can recover those links with your family that time may have damaged. If you need to forgive, then you’re at full liberty to do so. If you need to be forgiven, then it’s also your right to seek the forgiveness of others.

In summary, it can be a good idea to believe that your family makes up your roots. They’re your origin. This is a group of people you have a lot in common with. Thus, it’s very likely that you’ll feel the desire to take care of them.

A woman leaning on a rail looking worried.

Children

There are people who don’t realize the importance of having had children. They instead focus on their other priorities. For others, on the other hand, caring for their children is almost like a transcendental life mission.

Whatever the case may be for you, it’s a good idea to reflect on this if you have children. Of course, you should do so calmly and from a certain distance from what’s going on in your life. Clarity of thought tends to lead people to appropriate actions.

“It’s a wise father that knows his own child.”

-William Shakespeare-

In case you’re worried about how your children are being raised or for their future, think about it. Is there something forcing you to stay in that constant state of worry? It’s possible for you to try out new strategies to alleviate that worry and channel your energies into other things.

Sometimes you have to act differently if you don’t want to get the same results. When you follow the same path, you get to the same destination.

Friends

The years go by and, more often than not, you start to lose some friends. Likewise, you might gain new ones. This happens more markedly when you move from your city or country.

As a result, you might have the feeling that you have fewer friends as time goes by. If this happens to you, you generally have two options. The first is to close yourself off and maintain the social circle you have even if you think it’s smaller than you’d like. On the other hand, you might open yourself up to new friendships without forgetting the old ones. The right choice is different for different people.

A very common error regarding old friends is to idealize them as they were. This can lead you to believe that they might not be as good as they used to be. We’re talking about those friendships you had back in your high school or university days. However, it’s not easy to be completely sure of this. Either way, remember that establishing links with new people often benefits your emotional health considerably.

Have I wasted my life regarding my achievements?

A question that often precedes that of “Have I wasted my life” is “What have I achieved in my life?” The objective you have when you ask this is to assess the extent of your satisfaction with regard to your life achievements. Typically, you establish certain measurement criteria that are normally linked to comparisons.

Questions such as “Did I get everything I wanted in life?” tend to spring from those types of comparisons. Perhaps the most harmful thing about this question is the feeling that you’ve reached the point of maximum achievement. The thing is that there’s almost always plenty of time up ahead. That means that there are many possibilities for setting out toward new instances of success.

Many people share the opinion that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself and achieve what you want. Perhaps this assertion isn’t far off the mark. Either way, the goals you can set for yourself as well as the achievements you can reach depend, almost completely, on yourself.

Reinventing yourself to live

What resources are available? What day-to-day limitations are there? These questions lead to knowledge of the factors that might be keeping you from reaching your goals. They’ll also help you identify what abilities you have that can help you reach your goals.

And that knowledge is, in general, important for letting go of burdens. It’s essential for getting away from those things that, instead of helping you achieve your goals, make it more difficult for you to achieve them. That’s why learning from people with admirable qualities is a good idea. It can help you go deeper into that process of knowledge and self-improvement.

“The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on.”

-Barack Obama-

A woman with arms outstretched in front of the sun.

The years that have gone by, whether many or few, are all and each of them full of experiences and memories. You accumulate these as you go on and they become the building blocks for your tower of wisdom. That’s where you can find the right materials for constructing a better version of yourself.

If the question “Have I wasted my life?” really bothers you, don’t despair. Perhaps, and only perhaps, it might just be a matter of time before it solves itself. It’s possible that if you review your goals, you’ll rediscover the things that you left unfinished. You’ll then be able to restart the path toward the goals that you’d set for yourself before.

That which takes away value and quality from your life doesn’t deserve your attention. Instead, delve deeper into those things that bring you some benefit. With that in mind, you have to act and keep learning. This is especially true for situations of profound importance to your life affected by your decisions. Regarding these, you can take one of three attitudes:

  • Make a decision.
  • Don’t make it.
  • Decide not to decide – although this in itself is a decision. As such, it’s a mental trap.

Only you know which of these three decisions is the bravest and which is the most cowardly. As Judo master Kano Jigoro said: “It’s not important to be better than someone else but to be better than yesterday”.

  • Carretero, Mario, Álvaro Marchesi, and Jesús Palacios, eds. Psicología evolutiva: Adolescencia, madurez y senectud. Alianza Editorial, 1998.
  • Ríos, José Antonio. “Los ciclos vitales de la familia y la pareja.” Crisis u oportunidades (2005): 101-108.
  • Vera Poseck, Beatriz. “Psicología positiva: una nueva forma de entender la psicología.” Papeles del psicólogo 27.1 (2006).