We learn from books we read, work we do, people we meet. Nothing, though, brings us as much wisdom as life itself. From money and business to love and family, these nine amazing women in their 50’s shared their biggest life lessons and regrets.

Sandy Goyer, 52, CEO at Confidently Yours

“My biggest personal regret is that I didn’t believe in myself sooner.”

I currently am 52 years old and am just now starting to grow my businesses. Because now, I think that I can! My biggest personal regret is that I didn’t believe in myself sooner. The “things” in my life are less important to me now. What is most important now is living consciously, being present and appreciating my family, the people and “things” I do already have.

Nuria Corbi Carrasco, 53, Blogger at Sweet Life And Lemons

“We fought for equality and equal rights, and it hurts to see that young women now spend so much time worrying about looks and appearance.”

I believe that you ‘shouldn’t’ have regrets in life. Everything we do and even the things we don’t do, all make us who we are today, and that’s all good. But if I have to answer, I would say that professionally I wish I had been more confident in myself and maybe started blogging earlier.

The things that seem the most important now are very different from the things that seemed important when I was younger. The most important thing in my life right now is making memories with my loved ones, my children, my husband, and family. My circle of friends is quite small, and I like to keep it that way. The things that matter most in life is your family, your health and being happy — nothing else.

Elizabeth Smith, 55, Mental Health Nurse, Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) trainer, Master Practitioner at International NLP Trainer Association

“The autonomy to have a voice should never be underestimated.”

In every area of my life, the overriding regret I have is, to wait for someone else’s approval. To have a constant need to please, to the detriment of my happiness, health, and desires. I held the deepest fear of being unloved, rejected, unnecessary and a disappointment in my past; these beliefs took the breath from my lungs and the wind from my wings when I was younger. As a result of being of this mindset, which kept me safe, I spent many years making excuses for not doing things. I have followed career pathways and pushed myself to the limits to gain recognition and respect from people close to me, despite the toll on my health and happiness. Now I feel no need to make an apology for who I am and the life I want to create. The autonomy to have a voice should never be underestimated.

Susan Young, 56, Award-Winning Publicity Strategist, CEO at Get in Front Communications

“People love to give advice, but in the end, you have to sit with your own heart and turn inward.”

My most significant professional regret is that I didn’t learn the financial aspect of the business before I started in 2000. I was a Mass Communications major in college and worked as a radio news reporter for ten years. The numbers are critical, even if you’re going to delegate the accounting, payroll, and taxes.

My biggest personal regret is not taking enough downtime for self-care and family time, especially when my kids were younger (they are now 25 and 23-years-old). If your family is struggling, the worry and stress typically bleed into your business, especially for women.

Maria Kyle, 53, CEO at Living Your Truth

“There is always love after heartbreak.”

The biggest regret is staying in an unhappy marriage with an alcoholic for far too long.  It had a very negative effect on my children and killed my confidence and self-esteem. I lost everything when I left my husband. I was homeless with two kids and bankrupt. Then, I went back to school and started rebuilding. Vowing to never be in that position and to ensure I could help others from my experience. Professionally I wish that I had followed my dreams of being a writer and a life coach long before I did — too many wasted years in being unhappy in a soul-sucking job.

As I grow older, I find that the simple things are more important than “stuff”. Feeding my soul with things that make me happy is the key to really living a good life.  And not worrying about what others think I should say or do. My life, my terms.

Cindy Aguirre, 58, CEO at the Wellness Center, Colon hydrotherapist, Holistic Esthetician, Massage Therapist

“Be loyal to yourself first and foremost.”

My biggest regret was getting married a second time thinking I needed to provide a father figure for my boys. He turned our life into hell. Most important to me now is to be myself and to do things that make me happy for a change.

Cherie Faus Smith, 50, Virtual Assistant, Author, Speaker, Coach

“Know your worth.”

Strikingly

If I had to choose a professional/business regret, it would be not setting boundaries with my clients.  When I first became an entrepreneur, the idea of having clients was exciting, and it made me feel successful.  I allowed them to take advantage of me, which led to working long hours and neglecting my family as well as myself.  After twelve years of growing my business, I finally set those boundaries. It wasn’t easy though because it meant having that awkward conversation and feared that they would find somebody else.  But, it went surprisingly well, and the news of setting those boundaries was well received. I wish I would have had that conversation sooner.

Laura Cort, 53, Virtual Assistant, Social Media Director

“Don’t let a man or even children stop you from becoming who you’re meant to be.”

My biggest professional regret is not sticking with college the first time around (in my 20’s). I opted for jobs over my career and worked retail until starting a family. Stayed home with my children for 11 years before getting my first associates degree. Staying home and out of the working world decreased my income for life by 40 %. It has had a lasting effect on my life now.

Adela Jackson, 65, Graphic Designer, Photographer

From the moment you start earning money put 20 percent into a savings or investment account and don’t spend it.”

I’ve learned not to have regrets and not spend so much time looking backward. I can’t change decisions I made, but make better decisions today and in the future.  I focus more now on how I feel inside and less on how I look on the outside. It’s more important spending money to stay healthy than it is on new clothes and makeup. I take care of myself with daily exercise and eating healthy food.

No matter how hard some life lessons are, they are our past. It’s the future that we have the full power over. Let’s all remember that.

Is there anything you would advise 16-year-old self? Read this opinion: What I, As A Feminist, Would Advise 16-Year-Old Self.

Posted by:Tetiana Voitseshchuk