Planning for your future is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and those you love.
Planning ahead and considering your future self can help you avoid regret in the years to come. It’s like protecting yourself against future moments of ‘I wish I had done things differently.’
As Kirsten Kingdom, a Sequoia Living resident, mentioned: “If you are going to make the mistake of moving too early or too late, choose too early.”
Daniel Pink, author of “The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward,” identifies four core regrets.
- Foundation Regrets: The “If only I had done the work.” Typically, finance and health-related regrets are in this category.
- Boldness Regrets: The chances not taken.
- Moral Regrets: “If only I had done the right thing.”
- Connection Regrets: The most common category often includes regrets of broken or unrealized relationships.
What regrets do you hold on to?
According to Pink, regrets provide information to help us connect to our values and aid in a powerful transformation to live a fuller life.
Like many parents with adult children, Michael Gordon, 82, did not want to be a burden to his daughter. Michael was motivated to begin the process of downsizing because his greatest fear was that his daughter would receive a phone call one night informing her of his passing while he was living alone in his own home.
Michael experienced the aging process with his mother, who lived in a Sequoia Living community until her passing. Fortunately, he was familiar with life at The Sequoias and had first-hand experience with the aging process, and he knew that no two people age in the same way. As the years go on, day-to-day activities can grow more challenging, and one may require additional support services.
In 2020, Michael decided it was time to rightsize and find his last home. After four decades alone post-widowhood, he sold his San Francisco home and moved to Marin County.
The Next Chapter
He began a new chapter at a Sequoia Living Life Plan Community, also known as a CCRC, which offers a continuum of healthcare, including clinic services, assistance with daily living, memory care, long-term care, as well as hospice and end-of-life care.
In the book, Pink provides guidelines for harnessing regrets and maximizing them to help you make better decisions for your future. Michael used a technique Pink calls “Move Forward,” which entails adding distance between your current situation and your future self.
Michael imagined his daughter receiving an unfortunate call in the middle of the night. Another way to think about the situation is from the perspective of 10 years in the future. Is [situation or choice] something your future self will care about?
When considering his next home, activities were important to Michael, “concerts, hiking trips, local symphony, theatrical arts – it is nice to have these options.” Meanwhile, the proximity to his family that the Greenbrae community provides is priceless to Michael.
Moving to Marin was not his initial plan, as he loved the energy of living in San Francisco. After his daughter moved to Corte Madera and gave birth to Larkin, his granddaughter, the decision was easy. Michael wanted to be closer to his loved ones.
Living in Marin, he is only a few minutes away, allowing him to spend quality time with Larkin during their music sessions twice a week. He plays the guitar, sings songs, and sees his daughter more frequently than if he had lived in San Francisco.
At Sequoia Living, Michael is thriving and living a joyful, fulfilled life, being close to the ones he loves, and continuing to visit his beloved City by the Bay.
After retirement, Michael became a volunteer guide with San Francisco City Guides. He leads private bus tours for his friends and neighbors in his community. Each excursion has been an opportunity to meet and connect with others while sharing the history and providing insider knowledge only a local would know.
When asked what he enjoys the most, he responds, “Making new friends in your 80s may sound a little odd to some people, but here I am, in my 80s, making new friends.”
Michael leads a healthier and happier life by enjoying meaningful time with his family and continuing to do the activities he enjoys. Michael is satisfied with his choice because he knows it will help him now and in the future.
Choosing a life plan community can be a manageable task.
Michael shared three tips:
- Identify what is important to you (think activities, location, or programming).
- Consider the services or amenities that will serve you best in years to come.
- Determine the right fit – now and later.
Why Regret is A Good Thing
At the Life Plan Community, Michael finds peace of mind, knowing that his future care needs will be expertly handled, freeing him to fully cherish his time with family without any burdens or worries.
As Pink reminds us, regret is universal and integral to being human. “Regret is also valuable, it clarifies. It instructs. Done right, it needn’t drag us down; it can lift us up.”
Are you exploring the idea of downsizing? Download Sequoia Living’s FREE Moving Guide.
Discover what it means to grow stronger, wiser, and more joyful at Sequoia Living. Schedule a visit at one of our communities below and ask about the 10 FREE hours of Move-In Coordination.