The Grief of an Unfulfilled Life

The Grief of an Unfulfilled Life

By Tamara Syed

This article is part of a series called, “The Many Faces of Grief.” As someone who has experienced various forms of grief, I hope to help others navigate through this difficult, but necessary emotion.


Grief is the inevitable feeling that we will all experience in our lives in one form or another. What if I told you there’s a type of grief that is avoidable? That there are steps you can take to never have to experience this kind of immeasurable grief? My wish for every single soul that is reading this article is to never have to experience this – the grief of an unfulfilled life.


Chances are you have a dream or at least a specific goal you want to accomplish. I know this because that is the beauty of the human experience – we all have something we strive toward. For some of us, this goal seems out-of-reach, a wish made on a shooting star or a thought that one dismisses as a pipe dream. If I could slap you across the screen right now, I would. There is no such thing as a goal that is out-of-reach! Every dream that you’ve been pondering, wishing and pining for, is achievable. It might seem overwhelming at first, but once the first step is clearly defined, all that there’s left to do is… take it.


I’m not one to dwell upon negativity, but we must all take a look at our lives and wonder, are we living up to our full potential? As someone who fights the demons of impostor syndrome, doubt and fear I feel when I’m selling myself short and/or underestimating myself. Most of the people we looked up to were probably scared to take the first step, but they did it anyway. We are all running toward death. It is the one destination we all share, but seem to forget it’s waiting for us. While we wait to take the first step, putting things aside to the next hour, the next day, the next month, death counts that hour, that day, that month. Instead of waiting to live our lives, why not choose to live in every moment?


Identify your dreams, the ones that scare you a little. Falling in love, hosting a TED talk or writing a book, for example. Why haven’t you started working toward that dream, yet? What are you waiting for? Figure out the first step. Make a plan and go for it! The best plans are the ones without the clear outlines because life has a way of figuring itself out along the way. What’s your first step? I don’t think it’s ever too late to go after your dreams, whether you just graduated college or you’re entering your 70’s. There’s always time to reclaim your life, to take control of your destiny.


We are reaching the end of 2022, how will you spend the rest of the year? What habits do you want to implement in the new year? What do you want to let go of? If you’re reading this right now, it means that you’re alive and therefore, you have time left. Your life is worth living. Don’t look back with remorse and make the choice today to live a more fulfilled life. It’s the type of grief that is avoidable, but will you make sure you don’t grieve your own life before it ends.

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