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They say that experience is the best teacher, but sometimes, lessons taught by experience seem to come too late in life, like when we have already made mistakes that we cannot undo. Ah, but I guess that’s how we learn.

As we age, we realize that there are many things we wish we had known or done differently when we were younger. Here are 20 life lessons that you might have learned too late in life. Or is there still time? You decide.

Everything is Temporary

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Nothing lasts forever. Friendships come and go, relationships come and go, family members come and go. Sometimes, you may find yourself stuck in a situation or going through a phase that you can’t seem to get out of, but you will; things will pass.

Your emotions will change, and your financial situation will fluctuate. One day, you may be surrounded by a lot of material things, and the next day, you may be fulfilled living in a minimalistic space.

Life Isn’t Fair

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Life isn’t fair because you expect it to be. Life is random. You think it is supposed to be fair, so you have expectations. There is no checklist or manual for life; you may think you are doing things right or wrong, and then life proves you wrong, and things go backward.

Don’t cling to the idea of perfection or that if you do everything right, good things will always happen to you. When you’re facing something that seems unfair, ask yourself this: how can you shift your perspective?

Complaining is a Waste of Time

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The time and effort you waste on complaining could be invested in fixing problems, finding solutions,  and achieving results. Complaining creates a culture of negativity, which kills innovation & creativity. Negative people are quick to shoot down new ideas.

Create a culture of positive energy. Repeated complaining results in cortisol being released at higher levels, putting us more at risk of developing heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and strokes.

Blood is Thicker Than Water

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Familial bonds will always be stronger than other relationships. If you put family over everything, this means that they are the most essential and cherished slice of your life. Consequently, you will go above and beyond to make them happy.

Family means having someone to love you unconditionally in spite of you and your shortcomings. These bonds are important because family helps us get through the most disastrous times and the best times. They can offer support and security coupled with unconditional love; they will always look to see and bring out the best in you, even if you cannot see it for yourself.

Fear is a Waste of Time

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Fear is a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; it is the feeling or condition of being afraid. We miss out on many opportunities when fear controls our emotions and our lives.

Instead of focusing on what you are afraid of, try facing your fears by exposure. This involves gradually and repeatedly going into situations that cause you great anxiety until you feel less anxious. Eventually, your anxiety will naturally lessen, and you’ll be more apt to try new things.

Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness

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The saying means that true happiness comes from within, not from possessions that can be bought. Beyond the ability to pay your bills, happiness is a state of mind that is short-lived when you base it on physical objects and the numbers in your bank account.

Having more money might bring pleasure, but it is only temporary. Personal growth, meaningful relationships, and our physical and mental health contribute to the happiness that grounds us regardless of the stress, chaos, and drama that swirl around us.

You Can’t Change People

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Making someone do something, even if it’s for their own good, requires either coercion or manipulation. This is a boundary violation of that person’s life. You can’t make someone be the person you want or expect them to be.

For a change to actually happen and last, people have to want to change themselves. Before someone can make changes to a specific behavior or trait, they need first to understand that the behavior/trait is damaging. You can certainly offer encouragement and support or set an example of positive change, but you can’t control anyone else’s actions.

Boundaries Are Crucial

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Boundaries help determine what is and is not okay in a relationship, whether that be with friends, partners, co-workers, bosses, or family members. Ideally, we put them in place to protect our well-being. This stops people from walking all over you and disrespecting you.

Boundaries help us strengthen and manage our relationships with other people and within ourselves. Although you may be tempted to think of boundaries as keeping people out, it is more useful to think of them as building a fortified house.

People Pleasing Will Get You Nowhere

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People-pleasing is often a result of being neglected as a child. We desperately want to make others happy, forfeiting our own happiness. This kind of behavior shows poor self-esteem, self-worth, and self-respect. At the end of the day, though you may have made someone else happy, the most important person is: YOU.

If you are a people-pleaser, you need to make sure you are doing things for yourself as well. You can slowly work on stopping being a people-pleaser and focus more on your own needs. Balance is needed.

Stop Saying No to Everything

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Many times, when we say no or ‘I can’t,’ it is because we are afraid we aren’t up to a task, people may laugh at us, or we fear failure. However, if you start saying yes more often, you will build your self-confidence and improve your skills.

Why should you say yes to things? Saying yes means that you’re open to moving past your comfort zone and embracing a new challenge, and saying no means you miss out on opportunities for growth and pride in yourself. Stop saying no.

People Don’t Care About You as Much as You Think

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This doesn’t mean that people around you don’t support you or care about you as a loved one or a friend. This means that people aren’t always on top of your day-to-day actions. They have lives of their own. Too often, we are so worried about ‘what others think’ when, in reality, none of it matters.

Many of us are still trying to impress others with our beauty, skills, things, talents, etc., placing too much emphasis on others’ opinions. We want people to think highly of us, but the truth is, that most people don’t even think highly of themselves. Don’t worry about what others think of you, and live your life for yourself.

When a Door Closes, Another One Will Open

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This means that if one thing you do fails, you will soon have an opportunity to try to succeed at something else. This expression is often used to encourage someone to keep trying after they have had a disappointment or failure.

It reminds us of the continual possibilities and opportunities that life presents, even in the face of setbacks or disappointments. It’s an optimistic perspective on dealing with change and adversity, encouraging resilience and adaptability.

Not Everyone Who Comes Into Your Life is Here to Stay

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People come and go. Sometimes, they are only here long enough to teach you the lesson that you need to learn. Not everyone is meant to stay in your life forever. They may temporarily be in your life to love you, to hurt you, or to simply experience life with you.

You cannot and should not hold on to people. You cannot force them to be there always. Destiny puts many people in your life, but only the best ones remain.

Karma is Real

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Life is Karma. As life unfolds day after day, we are confronted with circumstances, good and bad, and we wonder why things are happening the way they are. Karma is basically the cycle of cause and effect. Like causes produce similar effects. When someone does something bad to you, take comfort in knowing that bad will return to them at some point in their lives.

For instance, right actions produce good results, while wrong actions produce bad ones. Try to keep this in mind when you continue in your daily life. Bad thoughts and actions will bring them back to you, and vice versa.

You Are Responsible For Your Happiness

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This means that you need to figure out ways to be happy despite others’ behaviors and external circumstances. You are responsible for your own happiness, not other people’s. Expecting others to bring you joy and happiness is unrealistic, not to mention unfair.

Work on bringing more joy into your own life, and stop expecting others to deliver it to you. They are working on their own joy. And let’s not forget that money won’t bring you happiness either.

Your Health is the Most Important Thing in Your Life

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Physical health is vital to supporting our overall health and well-being. If we spend our lives rushing around and forgetting to take care of ourselves physically, this can also have a negative impact on our mental health. We place so much importance on our careers and assets that we often forget to take care of our physical health.

If you’re a millionaire but in poor health, you have nothing but lots of money. There’s no joy or quality in life in that. It’s not too late to start taking care of your health now, no matter how old you are.

Expectations Lead to Disappointment

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Expectations are the strong belief that something will happen exactly the way we want it to. More than anything else, our expectations determine our reality, and our expectations have the potential to impact those around us. It’s important to understand that you can’t control the outcome of things.

You need to try to focus only on the things you can control, and when things don’t end the way you want them to, be okay with the result. everything happens for a reason, and things work out exactly the way they are supposed to.

Stuff Doesn’t Matter

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The ordinary little things—the sharing of stories, of food, of smiles, of small comforts—are the key to survival. True gratitude is about the ordinary. Friendships, relationships, time, memories, and experiences are what truly matter in life. It’s not about how much stuff you have, how big your house is, or how new your car is. None of that matters.

It’s those people and experiences that can never be replaced, even if you try. Stop putting so much weight on what you own. No one cares. Material stuff doesn’t matter.

Everything Always Works Out in the End


Everything works out in the end since there’s a natural order to life, regardless of your fears and doubts. The most you can do is to embrace your current experience. Acceptance means to acknowledge life happens through you, not to you.

Worrying about anything never resolves problems. Sometimes, we just have to do our best and let the rest resolve itself in time. And that is when life kicks in and smoothens out the wrinkles.

Forgiveness Matters

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The act that hurt or offended you might always be with you. But working on forgiveness can lessen the painful grip on you. It can help free you from the control of the person who harmed you. Sometimes, forgiveness might even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy, and compassion for the one who hurt you.

Letting go is important. It allows you to take your power back. The energy and emotion you have so deeply invested in a certain person/situation is now free to be moved to someone/something that is positive for your growth and emotional, psychological, and physical health.


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Life is a journey, and we are constantly learning and growing. While it is inevitable that we will make mistakes and learn lessons too late, we can still use what we have learned to enrich our lives going forward.

Remember that it is never too late to make positive changes in your life and that every experience, good or bad, is an opportunity to learn and grow. Focusing only on the final destination can be discouraging if we don’t have a clear path to get there; it’s best to focus on the journey itself and enjoy it as much as possible.

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Author: Iva Ursano

Title: Writer

Expertise: Anti-Aging, Mental Health

Iva is a 60-something woman, originally from Northern Ontario, Canada, who now resides in sunny Guatemala. She helps women over 50 love the skin they're in and empowers them to live their best lives ever. When she's not blogging, she's out on her scooter feeding and rescuing street dogs.  

You can also check out her amazing eStore here. It is full of powerful self-help eBooks, personal development courses, and so much more—ALL at affordable prices!

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