14 Things Women in Their 50s Say They Would Do Differently

As you get older, you gain perspective from the rearview mirror of your life.

What is it about aging that makes women happier as they get older, especially between the ages of 50 to 70?

Recent research from Australia, which followed women for 20 years, attributes some of this to the fact that women received more “me” time as they got older.

And with that “me” time comes a lot of satisfactory revelations.

I spoke to 14 women in their 50s about what they would have done differently when they were younger — if they only knew, what they know now:

“I wished I’d worn sleeveless shirts…” — Kelly J.

“I would tell my younger self to stop being afraid of being lonely. I made so many decisions just to be sure I’d never be without a lover for 10 seconds.” — Barbara S.

“I wouldn’t have started smoking. I thought it was cool — it’s just unhealthy.” — Jill S.

“I would have accepted the receptionist-I-thought-I-was-above position working for the U.S. senator.” — Amy R.

“I wish [I] hadn’t allowed other people’s fears/ignorance to affect me so deeply that I would blunt my ambitions/dreams to please them. It has taken me decades to undo that ‘good girl’ behavior.” — Kecia L.

“I’d explore my education more”


“I would have concentrated on mastering reading comprehension and interpretation in high school,” says Linda G., a dentist in her mid-50s. “I need to read something three times, and often have to take professional classes over again, when I don’t understand the materials.”

Linda feels that her parents weren’t focused on her education, so it fell through the cracks.

“I was the third kid. So, my parents loved me but were lax. I’m less confident in predicting what to do with my patients because I struggle to synthesize pieces of information.”

Because of this, Linda deals with an inner struggle.

“I feel like I’ve had to work harder for everything I’ve achieved. That has made me act harsher in wielding my authority because I’m always trying to prove my credibility.”

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