The idea of getting a “do over” sounds pretty good, right? Not only do you get a second chance to do something you’ve already done, but you can also draw on previous experience to guide you to the best decision in the situation.

The other day, I decided to take a “shortcut” on my way to work instead of my usual route. I ended up sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, which made me late to work (not to mention extremely frustrated). If someone offered me a do-over, I’d take it and stick to my usual route without a second thought.

We are what we live

However, if someone offered me a do-over for something more substantial—an opportunity to go back in time and decline a first date with a man who later broke my heart, for example—I probably wouldn’t take it. Skipping over the parts of an experience you’d like to forget means you’d probably lose the good memories too.

We are who we are because of what we experience. We’re well-rounded, smart, and resilient because the path we follow isn’t always smooth and predictable. We make do—and for the most part, we make out pretty well.

Recent retirees are optimistic about the future

Preparing for retirement may not be any different. A recent Vanguard study that explored how investors approach, enter, and live in retirement told us that whether you’re ten years away from retirement or ten years into it, you’re pretty optimistic about the future.

Your plan was to save, and you did just that. Regardless of your income in retirement, you’re doing the best you can with what you have.

What’s your “lesson learned”?

Our study tells us that as a retiree or a soon-to-be retiree, you feel secure and you’re excited about the future. But I know that even the best success stories include at least one “lesson learned.”

If you had a do-over, what would you do differently to prepare for retirement? Please answer in the comment section below. (Select comments may be featured in an upcoming blog post.*)

*Comments may be edited for grammar and style.