August 19, 2012 -- Regret

Real Simple Magazine is running its annual writing contest right now.  I've been thinking about it because the subject matter is regret.
If you could change one decision that you made in the past, what would it be? No, you can't go back in time, but here's the next best thing. Think of a decision that you regret—anything from a ridiculous choice of prom date to a serious lapse in judgment—and tell us what the mistake taught you about yourself.
I have made a LOT of mistakes in my life (my first car was a third-hand 1978 VW Rabbit,) but I'm not sure how many things I would go back and change if I could.  (Maybe that perm in the 1980's.)

(In fact, maybe all of the 1980's.)

I can't help but feel that everything that happens to us brings us to where we are now, and without those choices (yes, even that disastrous blind date in the early 90's), my life would have taken a different path and I might have missed all of this goodness here and now.

There ARE things I regret. And there are lessons I wish I had learned a lot sooner.  I'm just not sure if there is any one decision that I made that I would go back and change.

What about you?

Comments

Kathy said…
Well, I also had one of 'those perms' in the 80's (I have a photo somewhere - I should post it...) but probably not too, too much I would change either. There are a few small things, not life altering, but some things I'd do differently. This is a good topic. Definitely blog-worthy. BTW, I LOVE that you are blogging everyday this month. xxoo
Bullwinkle said…
There are some things I regret. But mostly things I wish I'd learned sooner/easier. (Some things I wish I'd learned much much much Much earlier.)(Maybe I regret being so dense sometimes.)

Would I change any decision I made? I don't think so. I am thankful for where I am now - Ned and all ;)
Anonymous said…
Things I regret tend to be things I did that hurt people. If I hurt myself, well I learned from that. If I hurt someone else, that I regret doing.
Sarah
Anonymous said…
Like sarah I regret hurting anyone. There was that boy in the sixth grade that placed a note ony desk. I really wish i had handled that maturely. I would like to have folded the note, smiled at him and placed it in,my pocket. Instead i was so embarrassed because the whole class was watching and the boy was considered a nerd. What i did was tear the note up and place it in a bin.
not my finest hour, regret was not even,immediate, i waa mad at him for putting us both out there to be laughed at uggh yeah.,i regret it.
rosie
tanita davis said…
Maybe this is ridiculous, but I think of the many times I demurred from accepting pleasure, happiness, or praise. I am having to learn how to graciously take a compliment, as that seemed to have been scolded out of me by a parent who felt I was always glory-hounding, so later, I passed on good feelings and taking a moment to celebrate. Now I'm adolescent-awkward at such times.

How I wish I could go back to some specific moments and see where they would have taken me.
Lynn said…
as I read this post, I was trying to think of some regrets and I honestly can't think of any. I'm sure I have a few, but honestly I feel like you do, everything that happens to us, every decision we make (good or bad) is a learning experience and if something went away, how different would my life be? It could be that certain clothes weren't in my life but it could also mean certain ppl weren't either. My life may be hard at times, but it's not bad.
mamabeth said…
I regret not spending more time with loved ones over the years. And I REALLY regret not taking better care of my teeth when I was younger.
Barb said…
I've been thinking a lot about this. I do have some relationships I regret (not just romantic) -- times when I gave away pieces of myself that were precious to someone who wasn't worthy or appreciative. I regret missed opportunities for kindness. I regret not having worked harder at my studies in college. In fact, I wish I'd gone to a different school. But I think those regrets are different from regretting a major decision and wanting to redo it. I guess I do have some regrets, but I'm not sure I would go back and change anything because I think it would change where I am now. Does that make sense?
Barb said…
Okay, and how many of you are now humming "I Did It My Way?"

"Regrets, I've made a few..."

Anyone? Hello? Just me?

Sigh.
Becca said…
At times I regret doing the "normal" path of college and a job. Especially when i look at people in Alaska who did cool things like fish or work at a lodge seasonally. But then i would not have the wonderful husband and boy I have now, nor the stability the "normal" path provided me.
RockStories said…
That is exactly how I feel. There are certainly choices I regret and perhaps even would like to change when I look at them in isolation, but really given the opportunity to do so I'm not at all sure that I would--because I wouldn't want to run the risk of ending up somewhere other than where I am today, of missing the experiences and especially people that I've found along the path I DID take.
Kathy said…
How interesting would it be to watch a movie of your life? The more I think about it, the more things I think I would "adjust".
Carole D. said…
Well aside from regretting not putting a heating coil in our kitchen floor and a couple of other remodeling quirks..... I would say that the only other things I regret were not having that witty comeback when I needed it and/or letting things people I don't really know or care much about said to me "get" to me and linger. I don't do that as much now. But I totally agree with you, all the decisions and things I have done in my past made me who I am today and brought me to this place and I am pretty happy in my skin and with my life, so...not so much.
mamabeth said…
I agree that the sum of all our decisions makes us who we are today so I don't want any do-overs (but I don't see how taking better care of my teeth would have affected the outcome...)
Barb said…
I totally agree with that. I watch my kids with their perfect teeth --they've never had cavities due to sealants, etc. Katherine flosses every day--I can tell you, she didn't get that from me!

I wish I'd known more about advocating for my own healthcare when I was younger. It took me forever to figure out that Western Medicine didn't have all of the answers. When my foot first started really bothering me, I went to an exercise physiologist who didn't even X-Ray it! He just made a snap diagnosis, which proved errant, and may have inadvertently led to my pain years. I know those years contributed to making me who I am now, but I like to think that maybe I didn't quite need such an EXTREME lesson!
Karen Stopnicki said…
I enjoy that particular section in Real Simple and always look at the next essay request. I saw that and really had to think. When I think of regret that is article worthy, I think of a major event that someone desperately wants to reverse, like a drunk driving incident. My regrets are more garden variety, wishing I hadn't said something that in reflection was unkind. Or been more proactive many times along the line. I do feel like some less than spectacular choices led me to where I am today and that's just life's path. With the wrong guy(s) for too long, but now I have a wonderful husband and child. Finally, in my forties. The one thing I do wish I could reverse time and change was calling my sister the week she died. We talked every week or two and our chat was due. But I was busy with work at that moment and she and the kids had been sick off and on so she had the phone turned off sometimes so they could sleep. Of course the things I would tell her weren't the things we usually talked about so I would still want that do over even if we had talked.
LaDonna said…
Oh, regret...what a double-edged sword. I suppose I could say I regret that three year relationship I had in college with a guy who was a master manipulator and borderline abusive (emotionally, not physically)(and Ei, if you're reading this, you can absolutely roll your eyes now!), but in reality, I don't regret it at all. From that relationship, I learned the value of "me". I learned I had an inner strength that has held me together many times since and allowed me to take risks I never would have taken before. I learned to stand up for myself, for my right to be happy, for my own needs and desires. And the break from that relationship led directly to my meeting my husband to whom I've been married for 17 years and with whom I share two beautiful daughters. So, while it was a long, manic three years, I don't regret it a bit. I am who I am because of it.

I guess that's my long way of saying that I agree with you, Barb. Those experiences we wish we could have avoided have all led us to where we are today, to the people we are today. So no, I don't regret it.