Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Weekend Open Thread: Your Biggest Regrets

An Australian nurse named Bronnie Ware, who spent several years caring for patients at the end of their lives, documented their dying thoughts in a blog that was later made into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. She said, “When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again.” Among the top regrets of the dying patients Ware cared for were these five:

1. “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

2. “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”

3. “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”

4. “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”

5. “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

My personal regrets (so far) include: Not Moving On Already from relationships I should have moved on from much sooner than I did; going to graduate school and racking up tons of debt simply because I didn’t know what else to do with myself; volunteering as a hair model in 2006 and ending up with a mullet that took three years to grow out.

And you?

P.S. The Oscars are this Sunday night. Let’s do some live commenting in the forums. Who’s with me?

[via The Guardian]

153 comments… add one
  • Will.i.am

    Will.i.am February 24, 2012, 3:03 pm

    I wish I would have used my time more wisely from 23-25. I wasted time I would never get back. That’s my biggest regret.

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      kerrycontrary February 24, 2012, 3:45 pm

      I wish more people valued that time. I’m 24 right now and I’m doing what I want to do, but so many people are still “figuring things out”. I know it can take a while to figure out what you want to do, and your 20s is that time to take chances, but choose to do SOMETHING and find out you hate it rather than doing nothing.

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  • Budj

    Budj February 24, 2012, 3:13 pm

    Number one on that list resonates with me. I spent most of my life doing what others expected of me because that’s how I measured my success. Not until recently did I start thinking and listening to what I want to do and I think I am a happier and a more fulfilled person as a result.

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  • iwannatalktosampson

    Iwannatalktosampson February 24, 2012, 3:19 pm

    I regret letting a guy dictate how I felt about myself. He crushed my self esteem and turned me into a drunk hott mess shell of my former self in a mere 6 months. It took me far longer than 6 months to recover from his damage. I guess it has taught me a lesson though – never let anyone change who you are unless they are going to change you into a better version of yourself. If you don’t like the way *you* are in a relationship, it’s not a good relationship for you.

    I also regret being a hellion in high school. I’m sure I cut at least a few years off of my parents’ lives. I regret not being on speaking terms with my Dad for two of said high school years. I was a selfish dick. I regret that to this day I can’t have a serious conversation with him about that time. We both just pretend those years didn’t exist. I wish I could apologize, but I’m terrified of openning up that huge can of worms when I have no way of predicting what he’ll say. I’m especially scared that he’ll say things that will hurt me about that time – mostly i’m afraid that he’ll tell me how much I hurt him, and that will break my heart.

    I regret not setting firm boundaries with my mother-in-law from day one in order not to rock the boat. I regret allowing her into my life. She is such a negative instigator and I wish I would have learned sooner that that is just the way she is now – I wasted a lot of years thinking she would turn back into the great person everyone said she used to be – she is not that person anymore, and she might never be.

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      cporoski February 24, 2012, 4:04 pm

      I love the mother in law thing. I don’t know how long you have been married but it got easier for my mother in law and I as the years went by. She sobbed at our rehersal dinner because she was never going to see her son again…lovely. Now it has been seven years and she has gotten alot better. However, I don’t know if I just don’t take her actions so personally or if we understand each other better. Hopefully, things will get better for you.

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        TheRabbit February 24, 2012, 4:08 pm

        Wow the crying at the rehearsal dinner is intense!!!! Let me take a moment of gratitude for my awesome future MIL. What did you do???

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        cporoski February 24, 2012, 4:28 pm

        Yes, she sobbed. Honestly, there were so many people there that we just let her have her moment and walk out of the room. So the party continued. She overreacts and found out that her worst fears weren’t true. So it took some years but I think she feels more secure with me now. Once the world didn’t end, she calmed down.

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      • Lili

        Lili February 24, 2012, 5:54 pm

        Uh OH. how is she going to handle December 21, 2012??!

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        Iwannatalktosampson February 24, 2012, 7:01 pm

        I’m waiting for them to get better! But mostly I just have to keep my distance. I have never met someone with worse control issues than her. She will go out of her way to control situations that have nothing to do with her. It’s like if I say blue she says green. She also has a drinking problem that kind of makes everything worse. Supposedly she was great 5 years ago. All his cousins, aunts, uncles, siblings – everyone tells me these great stories about how sweet and fun she was. But I have never met that person. It’s weird they all talk about her as if there really is two different people – like who she was and how she’s acting now.

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  • AKchic_

    AKchic_ February 24, 2012, 3:23 pm

    I live with no regrets. I am who I am because of my choices, because of what I’ve done (or what I didn’t do), and without those experiences, I would not be who I am today. I like who I am, and therefore, I would not change anything. If I chose to regret meeting an abusive asshole (who I married), I would not have my 2nd son. I would not have met (or married) my 2nd husband and had my 3rd son. I would not have met any of my friends on mIRC, so I would never have gone to Al’s for kareoke and never met my current SO and would never have had my 4th son.
    Our actions have ripple effects that cause long-term reactions/effects for the rest of our lives. And in other people’s lives.

    I choose to live without regrets. I may not like the choices I’ve made, but I don’t regret them. Everything I do teaches me something, good or bad. It gives someone else a chance to learn from me. That is not something to regret. That is something to celebrate. My failures are celebrations of experimentation, of social science, of life in action. Yeah, let’s put a positive spin on it 🙂
    Don’t regret your past. Learn from it, and use it to change your future actions.

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    • Budj

      Budj February 24, 2012, 3:29 pm

      I definitely agree with your perspective….I mean….if I HAD listened to myself before now I’d be a broke ass musician with no back up plan…but right now I can afford to invest money into my musical endeavors that I wouldn’t otherwise have because my previous life choices landed me a great job.

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      Iwannatalktosampson February 24, 2012, 3:31 pm

      Ugh I knew someone (or a lot of people) would have this take on regrets. But I just think it’s such crap. (Not you – you’re great 🙂 ) But the whole idea that people don’t actually regret anything. I think you can regret past decisions but still be happy about where you are now. I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive. I also hate the whole ‘everything happens for a reason’ thing.

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        TheRabbit February 24, 2012, 3:34 pm

        Agreed. Even though I like who I am now, that doesn’t mean that things wouldn’t be better if I had made better choices in the past.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am February 24, 2012, 3:50 pm

        Ding ding ding! We have a winner!

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        MissDre February 24, 2012, 3:55 pm

        I do believe that everything happens for a reason… however that doesn’t mean we can’t choose our path and it doesn’t mean we won’t have regrets.

        You should read The Alchemist. It was definitely an eye opener for me. It meant so much to me, I got “Maktub” tattooed on my thigh in Arabic.

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        bethany February 24, 2012, 4:03 pm

        Am I the only one who didn’t like that book???

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        cporoski February 24, 2012, 4:06 pm

        yes, you are the only one 🙂 I loved that book.

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      • JK

        JK February 24, 2012, 6:17 pm

        I didn´t read the Alchemist, but I haven´t liked the other Coelho books I´ve read, so I´m guessing I wouldn´t like it, either.

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        savannah February 24, 2012, 7:30 pm

        Don’t worry. I absolutely loathed the poison wood bible and apparently that is a cardinal sin.

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        RunsWithScissors February 24, 2012, 8:03 pm

        The Poisonwood Bible was AWFUL. AWFUL. You are not the only one.

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        Bethany February 24, 2012, 10:55 pm

        I LOVE that book! But truthfully, the first time I tried to read it, I hated it and put it down after a few chapters. I gave it another try a year later and loved it. I’ve read it 3 or 4 times now.

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        Jillie z February 26, 2012, 3:33 pm

        Totally hated it too and thought I was the only one… Never got the hype. One of my regrets is feeling the need to read extra long books that I ‘should’ read when I could be reading something enjoyable.

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        Visharoo February 25, 2012, 12:33 pm

        I didn’t like it either!

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        Something More February 24, 2012, 4:22 pm

        AHH – I HATE “everything happens for a reason” Whose reason?? Not mine… That saying annoys me to no end.

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        camille905 February 24, 2012, 4:53 pm

        But it’s true- we wouldn’t be who we are without our past choices. If I had to relive every single relationship I ever had, knowing I would meet the wonderful man I’m engaged to now, I would do it all over again without question- and I’ve had some bad relationships (more in terms of emotional damage than anything else).

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        Iwannatalktosampson February 24, 2012, 5:10 pm

        But you’re missing my main point – those two concepts are not mutually exclusive. You can still be happy with your life and where you are and still have regrets about the past.

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        HBomb February 24, 2012, 5:45 pm

        I agree. I knew someone would say that. There is absolutely no way someone can say that they have never had a regret in their life. I guess unless they are 3 years old! Ha.

        But seriously, it is ok to regret things. Of course every course of action has made you who you are today, but there has to be a time when you did something that did not sit well and became an experience you learned from.

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      • melissafawn

        melissafawn February 24, 2012, 6:30 pm

        I agree! It’s okay to regret, and hopefully learn from mistakes. I read a quote once that was along the lines of, “Saying you have no regrets is a slap in the face to anyone you’ve ever hurt.” That resonated with me because I regret actions that hurt others more than anything I’ve done to myself.

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      GatorGirl February 24, 2012, 4:51 pm

      I agree. I’ve made decisions I don’t like and am not proud of…but every bad choice (and good choice) made me who I am today. The decisions got me to my current place in life, and I love who I am now and where I am in life!

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  • mandalee

    mandalee February 24, 2012, 3:32 pm

    I regret letting other people’s opinions dictate my life and how I viewed myself for so long. I always was too wrapped up in what other people thought of me and spent time second guessing myself and over-analyzing everything. If a boyfriend cheated on me or someone spread rumors about me, I always seemed to think it was a direct reflection of something I did or that there was something wrong with me. I was so good at giving other people advice, but never took my own.

    In the last two years, I lost three childhood friends, went through some crazy hardships, and cut a lot of bad situations/people/jobs out of my life and I am so much happier as a result. For the first time, I feel like I am finally living my life for me and not everyone else. I’m just bummed that it took me until I was 25 to figure this all out.

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      Amy February 24, 2012, 6:40 pm

      Oh shoot – be happy you figured it out by 25!!!!

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle February 24, 2012, 3:33 pm

    UGH WENDY! I was once a hair model in a show (around 2005) and also regretted it sooo much. They cut it on stage, which was kind of traumatizing, and feathered the ends (or whatever you call it) so I wound up having to cut even more off afterwards. Not to mention the dye job they did. My hair has only gotten back to its pre-show state within the past year or two– horrible.\

    Aside from that, I just have a few vague, hard-to-articulate regrets. I question a lot of my choices in the past, but try to not dwell on them (or else I’ll go a little mad, probably)

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    ReginaRey February 24, 2012, 3:33 pm

    You know, I’m glad that I see the items on that list, and they’re things I’ve already vowed to myself I won’t let happen.

    I’d like to say that I regret being in a really unhealthy relationship. I became a shadow of my former self. There were times I stayed when he called me names; when I shattered glass all over his floor; when our relationship bordered on physically violent. But even those deepest, darkest things I can’t regret…because when I bounced back, I bounced back HARD. Being that unhealthy motivated me to care about relationship as much as I do; without that experience, I don’t think I’d have ever realized my dream to be a therapist. I wouldn’t know how to give people advice…and that’s something I love doing!

    I subscribe to the notion that the biggest things in life you’ll regret are the things you didn’t do. So, to an extent, that’s why I’m doing some of the things I am now. It’s why I’m getting a puppy and raising her mostly by myself. It’s why I’m considering an “out there” grad school in California. It’s why I don’t care about leaving a job that doesn’t fulfill me. Because in 20, 40, even 80 years (if I live that long), I want to be glad that I took some chances and made myself happy.

    The one thing I wish I could do more of right now is travel. There are SO many countries and cities I want to visit in my lifetime; I’m hoping I can make enough money throughout my life to visit them all.

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      mlippart February 25, 2012, 5:52 am

      Aren’t you getting your degree in counseling or therapy or something? I seem to remember something like that . . . anyways, you should look into being a guidance counselor at international schools overseas- more and more schools are adding that position (I speak from experience, as I have been teaching overseas for seven years now and know what the trends are)- it’s a great way to see the world, save money, etc etc . . . just a suggestion. If you want I can send you info.

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    TheRabbit February 24, 2012, 3:41 pm

    I regret that I didn’t get medical help for my depression from the ages of 12-22. While it’s tempting to convince myself that it made me a better person and had some redemptive value, deep down I believe that it was just pointless suffering.

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    silver_dragon_girl February 24, 2012, 3:42 pm

    I regret not committing to getting an Ed degree in college. I almost did, but I chickened out, and now I’m years behind in my career path. At the same time, I’ve had about a million really interesting experiences since then, that I wouldn’t have had otherwise, which have all led me to become MUCH more independent, outgoing, and self-reliant that I probably would have become otherwise. So there’s that.

    Also, I really regret that I have put a lot of personal stuff out on the internet. Yes, it’s all anonymous, but still…in this day and age, is anything ever *really* anonymous? There’s some stuff out that that people could conceivably dig up about me that I really, really wish they couldn’t.

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    kerrycontrary February 24, 2012, 3:43 pm

    OOh this one is easy for me

    1) I wish I had studied abroad for longer. I did a summer instead of a full semester, which was still enough time to get my language abilities over that fluency hump, but when the heck else am I going to live in France again? I should’ve taken as much time as possible. Also, I kept my American boyfriend while I was studying aboard which I shouldn’t have done. I was completely faithful to him, but we broke up a couple of months after I got back because the experience changed both of us. I wish I had let myself be single so I could’ve had as many experiences as possible while abroad.

    2) I wish I had gone to a different graduate school. My grad school assured me funding and then didn’t have any for 2 YEARS for anyone in my program. A different program would have. I have so much debt from it, but oh well, it’s over with…

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      ReginaRey February 24, 2012, 4:06 pm

      Ugh, I totally regret not traveling abroad for an entire semester. I did for like 2 weeks over the summer once, and it was fantastic. I can only imagine how amazing a whole semester might have been…and all the places I could have seen!

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      • Brad

        Brad February 24, 2012, 4:59 pm

        Where’d you do it at and what was the class? I did it myself for an econ class in England and Ireland. Shame it wasn’t a semester; then maybe I would have had a chance to become Emma Watson’s boyfriend!

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        ReginaRey February 24, 2012, 8:58 pm

        I love Emma Watson! She’s one of my (many) girl crushes. It was two weeks in Switzerland (miles from the Italian border…close to Lugano, Switzerland), and Rome. It was an ancient Roman history class…but the class part was kind of a joke. Yeah, we took notes and had little assignments, but it was basically two weeks of a glorified tour of Southern Switzerland and Rome, led by two Phd’s who really knew their ancient history.

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      • Brad

        Brad February 24, 2012, 10:25 pm

        Ah nice. I’d like to see Rome someday. I’m a bit burned out on the typical tourist vacations for now so I’ve been focusing on adventure vacations last year or so. But I’d love to see the coliseum eventually.

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      Christy February 25, 2012, 3:42 pm

      Oh PREACH Kerry about our grad school. Let’s commiserate tonight. (PS, guess where I am right now? The main campus library, applying for jobs. Sometimes you just need a place to focus. Go figure.)

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    cmarie February 24, 2012, 3:46 pm

    I regret moving across the country for a relationship that almost destroyed me and missing all the stuff back home. I wasn’t there when my mom died, I missed my nieces and nephews being born, I missed all the good and bad stuff that makes family so precious and important. I got stuck in an emotionally abusive, borderline physically abusive, relationship that I’m still struggling to get over that set me back 5 years of my life. I regret that I held on so tight to that relationship when I knew I should have let go and all I did was hurt myself and her.
    I regret racking up so much debt for a stupid degree I don’t even use!
    I regret that I’ve lived my life in such a way that I have so many regrets. I wish there wasn’t so much I wish I could change and that there was more I wish I could do all over again.

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    • Will.i.am

      Will.i.am February 24, 2012, 3:55 pm

      I dated a girl like this. Was in 2 relationships that were 10 years combined. One was 7 years and the other was 3 years. At 29, she is really at a loss. She has definitely got herself together and knows what she wants to do, but she lost a lot of time in relationships that just didn’t go anywhere.

      We talked the other week and she told me she went to a movie by herself. First time in over 10 years. I can only imagine what that can do to your self worth and your overall perception of how you perceive other’s around you.

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        cmarie February 24, 2012, 5:30 pm

        I might be oversensitive as that was a very difficult time in my life, but please don’t generalize my experience with yours. I’m not “a girl like this”. I’m a woman who got into a relationship that turned bad at the same time I was going through a lot of loss and grief. I held onto that relationship because I loved her and though that she loved me. She was something solid to anchor me when I was the most depressed. Unfortunately, she also contributed to that depression. She couldn’t deal and lashed out at me, becoming emotionally abusive without even realizing it. I should have moved on before I did because the relationship wasn’t good for either of us, I know that, but there was a time when our relationship was good and we had potential. I might be reading reading too much into but there’s something about that first sentence that put me on edge and felt a little bit insulting. There are all sorts of crazy girls out there and while I might be one of them, I don’t like being lumped into categories.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am February 24, 2012, 5:43 pm

        I’m not lumping you or anyone else. Fact of the matter was for this girl, she was very confused when the dust settled after 10 years. She no longer know how to herself, because she was always used to herself +1, and that was how she identified herself.

        I hate that relationships fail, but you can really lose sight of yourself in bad one’s. My most significant relationship, I lost track of who I was. I rather have been the partier than the caring boyfriend. My now ex-girlfriend was able to bounce back to life much easier because she never lost herself, where as I had no identity of my own to claim. I myself had become William +1. Think about that for a minute and I’m sorry if I offended you. That wasn’t my intentions at all.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am February 24, 2012, 5:47 pm

        The one thing that I took and remember and cherish the most from that break up, was that she told me I wish we would have broke up sooner, so this pain wouldn’t be so intense. When you think about it, it’s true. I’ve been in two committed relationships since then and the longest one was on and off for a year. Even that relationship shouldn’t have lasted that long.

        Everybody goes through a lot, but I wouldn’t want to stay with someone or for them to stay with me, because they or I am some form of safety net. I clung to my first ex so much because she was my safety net. She was the glue that was holding my rather pathetic life together at that point.

        Now, I’m the glue that holds my life together, and she made one comment that truly opened my eyes to relationships. If you no longer want to be with the person, tell them, and don’t drag a relationship out for months or years. It just causes that much more pain and confusion.

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        spark February 24, 2012, 7:13 pm

        Whoa, cmarie! So snarky and mean. I think he makes a very good point.

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        cmarie February 24, 2012, 9:54 pm

        My response was hardly snarky, I found his comment “I dated a girl like this” snarky.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am February 24, 2012, 10:40 pm

        I did though. She even told me she stayed in her 7 year relationship, 3 years too long. I’ve been in a relationship too long and so have you. It’s not snarky to me if you are using facts.

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        meg February 25, 2012, 10:36 am

        Agreed, cmarie. “I dated a girl like this” seems kind of brush-offy and insulting in a way that kind of generalizes you and what you went through. Kind of like, “Yea, I know your type…” It would have been better if he’d have said something like, “I dated a girl who had some of the same experiences as you.”

        Don’t know if he meant it that way, but that is the reaction I had when I read it too.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        Iwannatalktosampson February 25, 2012, 4:07 pm

        I think y’all are being a little harsh on him. cmarie said that she was in a relationship that she stuck around in for far too long. He said he dated a girl who also thought she stuck around in her relationships longer than necessary causing more pain. He even said he stuck around too long.

        I’m not quite sure what you’re offended by – is it just the fact that he doesn’t “know you” and made comparisons between you and a girl he dated? Because he was only comparing with details you provided.

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    Callifax February 24, 2012, 3:50 pm

    I wish I had done more overseas traveling or lived out of the country during my college years. I ended up not doing study abroad for financial reasons, because of a boyfriend (now ex) I wasn’t willing to be away from, and because of general fear, but I think it would have been an amazing experience. The positive side of this is that now, at 26 and with a steady job and adventurous boyfriend, I am able to see the world through vacations. Still, it’s not quite the same as actually living in another part of the world…

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      cporoski February 24, 2012, 4:10 pm

      honestly, I travelled like crazy from 26 to 30. You tend to have a little more money then when you are 21 so that makes you able to see more when you are in the country. Make the plans and do the travel. You will have the memories for a lifetime.

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    MissDre February 24, 2012, 3:50 pm

    I’ve mentioned this before, but I really regret being promiscuous when I was younger, because I didn’t value myself at all. I was easy, because I really wanted someone to like me. Even as I got a little older and realized that putting out right away would have the opposite effect that I wanted, I was still easy because I didn’t know how to say no. At one point it got so bad that I slept with someone I didn’t want to sleep with at all, because I didn’t know how to speak up for myself. So I just lay there and let him do his thing. And of course, I felt like trash after.

    I wish I had learned to love myself sooner. I wish I’d found my confidence and learned to stand up for what I wanted before the rumors about me started going around. I wish I’d had more respect for my body. I wish I hadn’t hated myself so much for being “fat”.

    However, I thank God that found myself when I did. Thank God I had people to love me and inspire confidence in me. I’m so incredibly grateful that I was able to realize while I’m still young that I am worthy of being loved. Thankfully I was able to overcome my depression and be happy with what’s around me. Thankfully I am happy now 🙂

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      kerrycontrary February 24, 2012, 4:11 pm

      ugh I have such a problem saying no, especially to men. Eventually I realized that I just had to stop putting myself in situations alone with them that would lead to it.

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        MissDre February 24, 2012, 4:17 pm

        Yeah, that really helped me. I decided to be celibate for a while, just to get my head on straight. It helped me learn to be more independent and find happiness in the life around me, rather than thinking that having a guy like me was the only way I’d ever be happy (side note: I did have a guy like me, in fact he proclaimed his love for me… it did not make me happy. Happiness comes from within).

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      • Brad

        Brad February 24, 2012, 4:42 pm

        Problems saying no to men huh ….. hmmm …. I demand you come over to my apartment right this instance.

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    cporoski February 24, 2012, 3:51 pm

    This is just like Kerrycontrary. My single biggest regret was not studying abroad in college. There were alot of reasons why including my school cancelling it because of September 11th. We didn’t know what was happening and by the time we figured it out, it was too late and I needed to buckle down and graduate. But my sister went and was really able to see Europe. I have travelled extensively but wish I had started earlier. Now, with trying for kids, I think jaunts around the world will hault for a few years.

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    brendapie February 24, 2012, 3:56 pm

    I had a long list but I realized it all came down to a few things:

    I wish I wasn’t so afraid to take advantage of opportunities.

    I wish I had gotten to know myself earlier in my life instead of seeking acceptance from others.

    I wish I seeked help when I was feeling depressed or when I needed help in general.

    I wish I was a better friend.

    I’ll admit one thing not on that list. I wish I learned how to drive as a teenager. Now that I’m 30 I am SO scared to drive. I’m much more aware of how many bad drivers are on the road and the thought of dealing with those bad drives completely terrifies me. I’m fine walking and taking BART or the bus if I have to, but I know I should be driving but I can’t get over my fear.

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      brendapie February 24, 2012, 3:57 pm

      drivers*! Not a regret, but I wish we could edit our posts.

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    • JK

      JK February 24, 2012, 6:20 pm

      I was just about to write the driving one!!!
      I never ever wanted to drive until my husband bought me a car (so of course I had to!)
      I learned at 30, and I hate driving I get really nervous doing so, and have zero tolerance for all the crap other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, etc do.

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      savannah February 24, 2012, 7:53 pm

      Also regret not learning how to drive sooner! I’m 23 and terrified! I know I should just get over it but I just don’t know, plus I’ve been doing just fine without it 363 days out of the year.

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    bethany February 24, 2012, 4:02 pm

    I’m extremely happy with where I am in life, and don’t have any major regrets. However, 2 things come to mind:

    1- I regret wasting SO MUCH money on clothes/booze in college. One year I made 18K while I was in school, and I actually ended that year in debt (mind you, my parents paid for my living expenses and tuition that year.) I literally drank away $18,000!!!!! If I had been smarter, I could own my own home now.

    2- I regret allowing myself to really wallow in self pitty after a very horrible relationship my freshman year. It was the breakup that never ended, and it haunted me for years. I should have just MOA’d, but I didn’t.

    Oh, and also, just thought of this- I was really mean to boys in college (due to #2 above) and I feel bad about that. Specifically, there’s one guy who I dated off and on for a few years, while I had a BF in another state who was also off and on… And I just handled that situation poorly. He was a nice guy, and I walked all over him, and it was wrong.

    That’s all.

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    • avatar

      cporoski February 24, 2012, 4:15 pm

      I love that you put that you regret being mean. Most people regret what happened to them but don’t look at thier own actions. I believe that I have hurt just as many people that hurt me. I think that is most people.

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      • avatar

        CattyGoLightly February 25, 2012, 2:37 pm

        I love that too! I had to go back and add that, because there are definitely actions I have taken in my life that I am less than proud of. I know better now (at least I think I do), but I wish I could have been kinder sooner.

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    • Lili

      Lili February 24, 2012, 5:52 pm

      I agree with ALL of your points. I don’t have the same amount in debt, but I still feel that i should have been more responsible with how much I spent on booze and clothes and things that didn’t matter in the end.

      I feel like I’m still understanding myself and my values, so I do think wallowing in a breakup is helping me in the end though. It helps me see what I liked about my ex and hope to find again, what I didn’t like but forced myself to because I didn’t want to lose him and then work on myself in the end and that will help me MOA when I am ready.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am February 24, 2012, 5:59 pm

        I like your thought process Lili. I went through a breakup where it took me 6 months to finally figure out an exit plan to get back on my feet. Sadly, I hid behind going on dates I should have never went on and drinking myself into a stuper to help me get through. It took a minor bout of depression to finally get my butt in gear. The crazy part was, all it took was for me to google, “symptoms of depression” and I was about 75% of them. At that point, I had to be honest with myself and realize I had some problems I needed to work through. At that point, I had to stop playing woe is me, and start playing, I can get through this.

        Life has been pretty darn good the last 2 years or so. It’s been tough but I appreciate what I have now more than I ever did.

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      • Lili

        Lili February 24, 2012, 6:27 pm

        Thanks Will! I sometimes feel like I’m a caricature of a person ‘moving on from her first major breakup’ I swear I’ve behaved so ‘typically’ all the while thinking I was SO unique in my moving on process. I’m glad you got the help you needed to lift yourself out of the depression! I’m sure you had to put a lot of work in, but it does pay off 🙂

        I think I’m in the initial stages of that as well. Of course, all it takes is one email from him and again I’m left struggling to not let the old feelings resurface. My friends have told me to cut him out completely, but i think that is an easy way out. I want to feel indifferent and accepting of our breakup.Then I know i can get to the point where hearing about his career advancements, his family’s health (I still think fondly of his grandma, and want to know how she is doing) isn’t enough to make me miss him again.
        You mentioned that you still talk to some of your exes, how do you find the balance?

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am February 24, 2012, 6:51 pm

        Of my three relationships, I only talk to one and it’s pretty sporadic. The first ex stated that it was too hard for us to be friends, because I wanted us to be more and she didn’t, so conversation had to stop. She saw me pushing my motorcycle about a year ago on her way to work and stopped by to give me a lift. I had a cable come loose that caused my bike to not want to start. She picked me up and we were cordial as she drove me to my house. I congratulated her on her engagement and asked how the family was.

        I would strongly advise to kill the communication. I started to heal when her and I stopped talking. We broke up in March ’09. We started semi dating in July ’09. It officially ended in October or November ’09. We still chatted back and forth till February ’10. See how drawn out this is and how terribly unhealthy it was. When I would go out on dates, I would tend to take my frustrations out on them, because I was still deeply in love with someone else. I was clearly in an unhealthy situation and my life was pretty much spiraling out of control.

        Once we stopped contact, I was really able to start bringing myself back to life. I wanted to hang out with friends more, and I wanted to do what was going to make me happy. I could no longer rely on her, because she was pretty head strung on moving on.

        I will say though, the guy she married is a complete douchebag. Not only do I feel this way, but several other people that we used to hang out with feel the same way as well. I wish her well, but I do get a shit eating grin on face, anytime I hear them say how much of a douchebag he is. All in all, I’m happy for her and she, without knowing, really instilled in me the will to become a successful person. She really did believe in me and really wanted me to be successful, even if I didn’t care so much at the time.

        I would really start thinking about ways to cut communication with your ex if I was you. You are only dragging out the pain and it still keeps that little bit of hope in your heart. That hope needs to disappear and turn into something else.

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  • Heather

    Heather February 24, 2012, 4:06 pm

    Somewhat personal, but I regret not holding out for sex in some of the relationships that I had, specifically, I think if I had waited to lose my virginity it would have been better for me.

    It’s not that I’m ashamed of the people I’ve been with, and I’m ok with the few casual encounters I’ve had, but I regret not being more choosy about sleeping with people I was truly in love with, as opposed to kind of “giving in”, so to speak.

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    • MandaNoA

      MandaNoA February 24, 2012, 4:52 pm

      I’m right with you on this one. Especially the virginity thing. I just did it because I thought I was supposed to and I think that set me on the wrong path for a long time.

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    • avatar

      HBomb February 24, 2012, 5:46 pm

      I can relate to this one!

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  • BriarRose

    BriarRose February 24, 2012, 4:08 pm

    I wish I had taken college/a career much more seriously. I chose a fun/interesting major (history) that got me absolutely nowhere. I had a decent job at an insurance company, but moved for my then-husband’s military career (with a 6 week old baby) and I didn’t work for several years, completely letting any sort of career lanquish. Now I’m 32, working in a job I should have had when I was 22. I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up, and I know I’m better than this job, but I feel like I’m stuck–no time/money to go back to school, not to mention no field that I could just jump right into having no background schooling in the subject. It’s terribly depressing and I want nothing more for my daughter than for her to focus on her career first and foremost.

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      cporoski February 24, 2012, 4:18 pm

      If it makes you feel better, most degrees do not hold up when you take time off for your kids. If you were in Computer Science, the education you had would be obsolete, if you were in finance, half the laws would have changed. Being a history major teaches you perspective, how to write, and critical thinking skills. Don’t sell that degree short.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am February 24, 2012, 5:30 pm

        The best way to make a degree work is don’t take a break from working. If you are going to take a break, continue to taking continuing education courses, if that is what your field recommends. You can be out of the workforce for years, but still be up to date on all the policy changes.

        My manager and wife do that. They are both CPAs and he works, while she’s a stay at home Mom. She does teach some classes as an adjunct(sp) at a local university to keep her mind fresh. They are pretty much setup to where if something was to happen to him and he couldn’t work, she could come in and fill the breadwinner role relatively easy.

        I admire that they work together for that common goal.

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      • BriarRose

        BriarRose February 25, 2012, 3:52 pm

        Cporoski, thanks for the positive spin on it! I am proud of my degree, and that probably didn’t come through in how I wrote yesterday. I agree that it gave me excellent critical thinking skills, and I’ve been able to excel in every field I’ve worked it. I guess more specifically I wish I HAD a particular field to fall back on….one that even though I was out of the working world for a few years, I could brush up on courses, etc, and start again. I didn’t work for several years, and then went from field to field when I went back to work, so my resume is all over the place. I’m having a hard time trying to decide what direction to go in, especially when unfortunately, money is my main concern.

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      brendapie February 24, 2012, 10:26 pm

      I can understand somewhat what you are going through. I graduated almost 7 years ago (yikes…) with a B.A. in Literature. I loved my degree and don’t regret it but I do regret not planning on what to do after graduation. I had a job that I kind of enjoyed but when my boss made a pass at me, I quit. Then I had a long series of interviews and I wasn’t working during that period because I was so sure I was going to get hired. Well, of course I wasn’t and it has been four years since I’ve had a job.

      I feel like a complete failure. I see all my old friends and classmates working, albeit not all of them have dream jobs but all very respectable. But me? Nada. One of my old classmates is an associate editor who works on the Rick Steves books and it makes me so jealous and I wouldn’t mind a job like that. And I know she was working various unrelated jobs but somehow it led to her getting that job so I know it’s possible, at least it was for her. But getting the experience when I’ve been out of school and jobless for so long? Seems impossible for me.

      Now I’m starting over taking community college courses that I hope to transfer to a local college and I plan to get a B.S. in Accounting and hopefully that’ll lead to a Masters. But I started this new path when I was 29 and seeing 17/18 year olds in my classes… I felt like crap and at times I still do. However, now that I know what I want out of my career and with the wisdom I’ve gained since I graduated (not much but still…) I’m a much better student now and I easily carry a 4.0 GPA. I work hard and love it.

      I know I’ll have to pay my dues at a new job alongside recent graduates 10 years my junior and yeah, I’m sure I’ll hate that aspect of it. Still, I know eventually I’ll be where I always envisioned myself to be so I just do my best to focus on that. I’m always going to feel a bit depressed about this… but I don’t feel there’s anything to gain in feeling sorry for myself. I won’t allow myself to give up although I have no idea how I’ll pay for college and graduate school.

      I would suggest taking community college courses or a continuing education program at a local college to brush up on your skills. Also, I would look into volunteer opportunities – perhaps as a volunteer docent at a museum. I’m sure there are ways you can contribute your knowledge in History in a way that serves the community. It’s a great way to keep your skills fresh and looks great on a resume too.

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  • avatar

    Jiggs February 24, 2012, 4:10 pm

    I kind of regret growing up so fast. I moved out at 17, live-in relationship from 17-19, broke up, live-in relationship from 19.5 on, went back to school to get a better career at 21, was on a career track at 21.5, bought a house at 23, married at 24. (I’m 24 now, soon to be 25.)

    My life is pretty awesome, but I do kind of regret not having time to be stupid and have no responsibility. I’ve been a grown-up since turning 17, with rent and responsibilities and shit. It’s harder now for me to be like “fuck it I’m going to live in like, Ireland for a year” (even though such travels appeal to me). I’m still hoping to have the opportunity, especially since my husband also loves travel. Just sometimes I look around and I’m like who is this stranger living in my face?

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  • avatar

    *HmC* February 24, 2012, 4:24 pm

    As of now, I can honestly say I regret going to law school. And I’m a lucky one- I got good grades and have a “good” job lined up. But I don’t think I like it near enough to justify the debt that now essentially categorizes me as an indentured servant for the next few decades.

    Other than that, I’ve noticed that the only regrets that really stick to me are the choices that I’ve made that have hurt other people, people that I care about. I can’t really say I regret breaking up with my ex (together 8 years, broke up… Christ, 5 years ago now!). But I do regret the way that I broke up with him. I caused unnecessary pain, and I would never do that in the same way to anybody ever again. I think it actually says a lot about human nature that in the end, it’s the other lives we’ve touched, for better or worse, that really stick with us.

    Regret is a weird thing. It’s about feeling sorrow and remorse, and for some people it means wanting to go back and change things. And wanting to go back to change things… I think that is definitely the source of a lot of unnecessary happiness, because obviously that isn’t possible. So some people shy away from admitting they regret anything at all, due to the futility of changing the past. But I think that’s a mistake, and an unnecessary way to look at choices you are unhappy with. I think that the most positive way to express a sincere regret is to admit that you did make a mistake, and to genuinely internalize what was most regretful about your choice so that you can make better choices in the future. Obviously something like going to law school I can’t take back, but I learned about my motivations for doing things (family, wanting to seem smart- ugh I know, so dumb), and I can use that information to make my life happier. That’s an amazingly powerful thing, to grow and make better choices. So that’s my philosophizing on regret.

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    • avatar

      MissDre February 24, 2012, 4:30 pm

      Like.

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      TheRabbit February 24, 2012, 4:32 pm

      I really like your last paragraph.

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      *HmC* February 24, 2012, 4:41 pm

      thanks guys!

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      Rachel February 24, 2012, 10:07 pm

      I also love your last paragraph. I often am the one to say “I’ve got no regrets” because I am pretty damn happy with my life right now, but you’re right – I do regret some things (listed below). And though I will not spend time wishing I can go back and change them, hopefully the fact that I regret them will help me to not make those kinds of mistakes again.

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  • Brad

    Brad February 24, 2012, 4:32 pm

    I’ll forgo my usual long answer and take a page from Wendy’s playbook and give a shortcut:
    1. Made more of an effort to get a girlfriend in high school and college.
    1b. Said “yes” when Missy asked if I was asking her out or not instead of saying “I don’t know” like a dumbass (stupid high school me …. ugh)
    2. Stuck with my computer degree and not switched to majoring in business
    3. Started working out in high school and never stopping.
    4. Won the lottery—a big one (<– does this count? 😛 )

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      cporoski February 24, 2012, 4:47 pm

      love number 4

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      A.P February 26, 2012, 12:20 am

      Why do you regret switching to business?

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  • landygirl

    landygirl February 24, 2012, 4:50 pm

    1) I would have spent less time worrying about men and what they thought about me and if I was good enough.

    2) I would have worked harder in school.

    3) I would have not gotten as many mullet haircuts as I did (on purpose)

    4) I would have gone to a therapist far sooner than I did

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    • AKchic_

      AKchic_ February 24, 2012, 8:14 pm

      I would bet that #4 would have ensured that #3 could be checked off your list.

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    • avatar

      britannia February 25, 2012, 9:42 am

      I can say all the same things as you, if you change mullets to Mohawks.

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  • avatar

    *HmC* February 24, 2012, 5:02 pm

    Lest anyone start feeling badly about the things they regret…. my beloved grandfather passed away last week. Just to give you some glimpse into his personality, my favorite picture of him is him bungee jumping with a huge grin on his face and no hint of fear whatsoever…. 3 years ago. When he was 84.

    His last words to me, on his death bed, were “don’t worry, don’t worry about any of it, it all passes, everything passes”.

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      Iwannatalktosampson February 24, 2012, 5:09 pm

      You can’t argue with the wisdom of an 87 year old. I had a similar conversation about stress with my Dad last week. My Dad is not touchy feely, not really the compliment giving type of guy. People have compared him to Red Forman if that says anything. Anyways last week I was kind of freaking out the bar (4 days!!) and he said this to me about it, “I’m not worried about you passing. You have never failed a test in your entire life. I am worried about you killing yourself in the process. How will your life change if you fail? Really think about it? It won’t. You will take it again in July. The people that love you will continue to love you. You have 40 working years ahead of you, don’t be in such a rush to start working.” So I know you’re going through a lot, but just try to boil it down – try to boil life down to the fewest elements – you need to be happy and healthy. This too shall pass.

      (Side note – I have already decided Wednesday night is a victory. Whether I pass or not at least I am done studying this shit for at least 3 months….and that is a victory within itself!)

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am February 24, 2012, 5:36 pm

        That’s a very wise man and that is one of the hardest things to do. Focus on what you can control and not stress about every little thing. Your Dad sounds like the coolest!

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        *HmC* February 24, 2012, 5:46 pm

        Wise words. I swear this test is like, 90% psychological. It’s amazing the demons you face sitting around trying to cram so much information into your head under ridiculous amounts of pressure.

        Good luck to you! BTW, my victory is Thursday night… screw you California!

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    • katie

      Katie February 24, 2012, 9:58 pm

      that quote would be really beautiful painted on a canvas with a picture of your grandfather… its wonderful.

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    • MELH

      MELH February 25, 2012, 10:48 am

      Good luck on the bar HmC and Sampson! Be confident, you studied hard. Keep yourself calm during the test, don’t let yourself. Get panicked or flustered. And don’t discuss the test afterwards! The worst thing you can do is discuss how other people answered. I did this a couple months after the test, and I think I scared one of my friends to death. He kept repeating “that’s not what I wrote about”. And you know what, we both passed, so what other people answered doesn’t mean your answer didn’t earn points.

      I’ll be thinking if both of you next week!

      HmC, I’m so sorry about your grandfather, especially losing him right before the bar exam. That is such a tough loss. I lost both my grandpas during law school and it was heartbreaking. My one grandpa seemed to be improving, so I didn’t really have any before death conversations with him. My husband and I left for a scheduled trip that my grandparents insisted I go on, and he took a turn for the worse and passed away while I was gone. My other grandpa had cancer and we knew it was coming, so I got to get a lot more wisdom from him. I’m sure you will cherish those conversations for a long time.

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  • MandaNoA

    MandaNoA February 24, 2012, 5:03 pm

    I regret worrying so much about what others think of me. I still stuggle with this but the older I get the more comfortable I am with myself and the less I give a f*ck about everyone elses opinion.

    I regret staying in relationships longer than I should have because I was worried what other people would think. I worry too much that other people judge me for the number of “boyfriends” I have had. Sometimes you date someone and it just doesn’t work and that’s ok.

    I regret cheating on my college boyfriend. I’ve apologized a million times and he and I are good friends at this point but I still feel awful for hurting him. He was a super sweet guy but I just didn’t love him so I tried to get him to dump me. It was horrible of me.

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  • avatar

    applescruff February 24, 2012, 5:18 pm

    I just finished We Need To Talk About Kevin and I am seriously disturbed. I actually put the book down on my desk and then knocked it off onto the floor…because it was looking at me. I was shaking through the end of the book and I need comfort, please!

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    • Lili

      Lili February 24, 2012, 5:44 pm

      I couldn’t get past the premise! So I feel you. Some things just disturb me too much and stay with me. Um. IDK maybe go look at some pics of cute puppies?!

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    • katie

      Katie February 24, 2012, 9:55 pm

      i always have to watch the little mermaid after i see something scary… maybe that would help? watch something comforting?

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        applescruffs February 25, 2012, 1:16 pm

        The Little Mermaid! Yes. That almost always works. Funny you should say that – I’m from Littleton and when I got home the day Columbine happened, that’s exactly what I did.

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      • katie

        katie February 26, 2012, 2:04 pm

        oh im from colorado too! weird! lol you should come to our march meetup!

        but yes, the little mermaid, best movie ever. beauty and the beast is a close second, and i also love up and the frog princess. disney movies are the best. i am slowly collecting all of my favorites on dvd.

        all i remember from columbine (i lived in MN at the time) is that we called our good friends who lived in littleton, and my mom was freaking out until we found out that the school was a high school, and their kid was still in elementary school.

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        applescruffs February 26, 2012, 2:42 pm

        I SHOULD come to the March meetup! I just moved back to Colorado a few months ago after 8 years away, and need to meet more people! Info in the forums?

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      • katie

        katie February 26, 2012, 5:04 pm

        yea! i think that the colorado one has gone to the second page because no one has said anything for a while… but if i remember right, its march 31st….? dont quote me on that. but its a saturday!

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  • avatar

    XanderTaylor February 24, 2012, 5:40 pm

    I regret not leaving an abusive exboyfriend the 1st time he hit me along with all of the crap that came after that situation & keeps raining down on me now. If only I had zigged and not zagged I would never have met him. Absolutely nothing good came out of that relationship.

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      HBomb February 24, 2012, 5:49 pm

      I am sorry you went through that. I hope you realize that some good can come of it, you can learn from it and never be in that situation again.

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        XanderTaylor February 25, 2012, 5:09 pm

        Thanks! Hopefully it has given me more empathy for other women going through that. I will never ever blame a victim, I will never be a victim. I will forever be a survivor.

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      jessiebelle February 26, 2012, 10:50 pm

      I am giving you a huge hug right now (virtually!). I don’t know your exact situation, but I was in a similar situation last year and I, too, regret not getting out after the first time he hit me and when my gut was telling me to run. It’s been almost 6 months since I got out and it’s been a long, difficult road, but I’ve been getting by. We will survive and we are survivors.

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  • call-me-hobo

    call-me-hobo February 24, 2012, 6:14 pm

    My biggest regret was not reporting my sexual assault earlier.

    I was a stupid high schooler, and I believed him when he said that no one would ever believe me and when he told me that he had never hurt anyone before me. Because of my shame and stupidity, I inadvertently allowed a lot of other innocent young girls go through my same ordeal.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark February 24, 2012, 6:18 pm

    Come sunday, I’m flying West till it become East.

    Meaning I will be MIA for a little over two weeks as I (FINALLY!) leave all of America and its leash-like technology behind as I jaunt over to Bali, Indonesia, just to see what else the world has to offer. (No cellphone. No ibook…)

    PS — Thanks, Wendy. This topic makes me feel oh-so-much better about my own “insanely madcap” decisions of late to basically take a brief sabbatical from even looking for work right now (there’s nothing out there anyway) as I instead do a bit of much needed traveling… For that’s really my own big regret, that I simply don’t make enough money to travel more. If I had the means, I would explore the world forever. Seriously, it’d take years before I’d tire of it. Someday, perhaps. Someday… At any rate, two weeks exploring ancient temples and chasing monkeys in Bali is a hell of a way to start.

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      Iwannatalktosampson February 24, 2012, 6:53 pm

      BGM I just wanted to say I’m really happy for you and your travels. Mostly I’m happy that you’re taking time to step back from life and enjoy yourself. I’ve noticed lately that you seem to have a jaded view of the world and it seems like you’ve taken a few too many blows to the gut. Even if nothing more than a little relaxation comes out of this I’m happy you get the chance to travel for a while.

      P.S. Bali is my dream vacation. So update us on how it was when you get back. I’ve threatened to escape the world for a while and go all ‘Eat Pray Love’ and it still sounds very refreshing.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark February 24, 2012, 7:00 pm

        Thanks, Iwanntalktosampson.

        Hit me up when I get back and I’ll friend you on facebook. There will be lots of photos and what not posted there upon my return as I am pretty decent photographer and I shoot tons of images as I can always use them in my work.

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    • AKchic_

      AKchic_ February 24, 2012, 8:18 pm

      If you have a layover in Anchorage – make sure to email me at [email protected] and I’ll swing by the airport and kidnap you!

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark February 24, 2012, 11:22 pm

        Hah, sadly, not this time, AKchic_. But I am sure we fly over Alaska. I did on the way to Thailand two years ago and my first flight is the same as that trip. Meaning it’s 14.5 hours LA to Taipei, Taiwan. 3 hour layover. Then 5 more hours of flight time to Denpasar, Bali. Long trip, I know. But I sleep well on planes… And in the end, it’s all so worth it. 🙂

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      Rachel February 24, 2012, 10:10 pm

      Have a great trip!

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      Bethany February 24, 2012, 11:04 pm

      I hope you have a great trip, Mark!

      Take the time to enjoy every little thing you see and do. I hope you get the rest and relaxation you deserve!

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  • JK

    JK February 24, 2012, 6:27 pm

    I think my biggest regrets are things I didn´t do rather than things I have done.
    Like I said above, I regret not learning to drive when I was younger, I started when I was 30, and totally nervous about it. My girls are going to learn as soon as they´re legally allowed to.
    I regret that my husband and I couldn´t travel more before we had kids, now everything is that much more complicated (and expensive!)

    One thing I regret having done is rekindling a friendship with a certain person, now that I have to cut her off again!

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  • avatar

    AnotherWendy February 24, 2012, 9:10 pm

    I regret not going into teaching. I work 40 hours a week 48.5 weeks of the year. I wish I had more time off to visit my parents, travel, hang with my daughter and just take it slow.

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      mlippart February 26, 2012, 2:43 am

      not sure how much you know about teaching (I’m assuming you mean public schools) but I’ve been doing it for 11 years and have never worked less than a 50 hour workweek, not including grading/paperwork stuff on the weekends. I have never heard a teacher describe their job as “taking it slow”. Just sayin’.

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        Zepp February 26, 2012, 5:24 am

        that’s what i was thinking when i read that… I think its a different job than it was 10/20 years ago. My friends who do it wake up at 5 am everyday and are always stressing about the parents.

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        Addie Pray February 26, 2012, 6:48 am

        but you get 2-3 months off in the summer, right? or do you have to work a full year?

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        Addie Pray February 26, 2012, 7:10 am

        I mean, I have NO DOUBT that teachers put in long hours when school is in session. But is it a myth that you get at least 2 weeks off over xmas, 1 week of in the spring, and 2-3 months off in the summer? Maybe AnotherWendy was thinking about those breaks you get. But maybe you’re working over those “breaks”? I’d like to know. Because I’d love to go into teaching one day. … and the summers off is a big perk. I want to be able to plan adventures that you just can’t do when you can only take a few days off a year. For the first two years of law practice, I only took a couple days off for xmas and maybe a 3 day weekend two or three times. It really takes its toll on you to not be able to take a chunk of time off each year.

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        AnotherWendy February 26, 2012, 7:37 am

        My ex is a teacher and those vacations he has allow him way more time with our daughter. Not just summer but the winter and spring breaks too. And I’m a daughter of a teacher too so I’ve seen it both from my experience and my daughter’s. The vacation time and ability to be home earlier in the afternoon are huge when it comes to time with your kids.

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      • Lyra

        L February 26, 2012, 11:08 am

        I totally get that and I see your points, but at the same time I know teachers who are also parents who are so busy when they’re working that they have to use those breaks as more of a “catch up” time with their own kids. As in they play the role of super mom or super dad during the summer because they put in such long work days during the school year. Not to mention with after school activities or sports many teachers don’t get home until 5 or 6 pm. The expectations have drastically changed for teachers in the past decade or two in the fact that they are expected to do much more for far less compensation. Some examples of that are: more students per class (meaning more grading, more parents to talk to, more classroom management challenges), more expectations to do extracurricular activities and/or coach sports, and fewer teachers to get the same amount of work done.

        It’s an incredibly rewarding career, but in reality the education system is changing…and not for the better.

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      • Lyra

        L February 26, 2012, 10:51 am

        The 2 week Christmas vacation is pretty much a total myth — it’s more like 8 or 9 days total (including weekends). And all those random days that kids get off school (President’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, etc.), teachers usually need to be at school for mandatory teacher work days or professional development. Most teachers do put in extra work during the “breaks”, like catch up on grading, getting paperwork done at school, emailing parents, etc. There’s a lot more to it than just the contracted 8-hour work days. The at-home work can be extremely daunting.

        As for summer break, it’s usually closer to 2 months because of meetings and wrapping up the school year and whatnot. Many teachers often take classes during the summer either to renew their teaching license or to work towards their Master’s. Some teach summer school too so they’re at school anyway. A lot of times teachers go in to school early (as in early to mid August) to either clean up their classroom or get ready for the school year. My aunt is a 4th grade teacher and I lived with her last year when I was finish up my degree so I saw the hours she put in. She would be at school every morning by about 6:30, she would work her normal school day, she would give kids extra help by tutoring them after school, she would then spend an hour or two getting paperwork or grading done, then she’d get home at around 6 pm. Her house was only about 5 blocks from school so many days she put in a 11 or 12-hour work day. Most nights she brought school stuff home to work on too.

        Sorry for the novel…but long story short…there’s a lot more to the “breaks” than meets the eye.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy February 26, 2012, 11:12 am

        I’m not a teacher, but I was raised by two educators (Mom is an English teacher; Dad was an administator), have other teachers in my extended family, and some of my best friends are teachers, so I am very familiar with their schedules since they plan visits around those breaks. I’ve never known my teacher peeps not to get a full two weeks for the holidays, one full week in the spring, and at least seven or eight 3-day weekends throughout the school year, in addition to personal days and sick days. Yes, there are mandatory professional development days, but those days have never fallen on a federal holiday. Yes, teachers have to report back to work a week or two before school starts in the fall to get things ready, but generally, that still leaves nearly two full months (if not more) time off in the summer.

        That said, the teachers in my life work VERY hard. None of them leaves work at 2:30 when the school day ends. My mother almost always worked/works until dinnertime every single night, putting in 10-11 hour days at school and then bringing home massive amounts of grading. Entire weekends can be spent grading papers. My best friend is a drama teacher and while he has far fewer papers to grade than my English teacher mom, he directs several plays during the school years which can keep him working until 5 or 6 for regular rehearsals — and even 9 or 10 — at night during tech and dress rehearsals.

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        Kate February 26, 2012, 12:01 pm

        Its been really interesting reading this thread, because after 4+ years as an elementary teacher I’m seriously considering leaving profession because I feel I have no quality of life. . . I do know some teachers who think the breaks make up for the low pay and stressful work weeks. All I know is that during the week I am an exhausted, overworked mess, and I’m working so much over my ‘breaks’ and weekends that I am not happy. Honestly, when I look around at work I don’t really see anyone who isn’t ridiculously stressed out (except for the administrators!) which doesn’t give me much hope.

        I’ve been accepted to grad school in a completely different field and am considering going. After all, I can always go back to teaching if I’m not happy 🙂 I think I would regret not taking the chance more than staying in teaching just to play it safe.

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      • Lyra

        L February 26, 2012, 12:03 pm

        That’s really interesting. This year in Minnesota, most the school districts I work in had December 23rd until January 2nd off for winter break…and one district had school on the 23rd. Now that I sit down and count the days I guess that does amount to about a 10-day break including weekends. It seems like a lot, but man does it fly by with family time and holiday parties and such! I have to admit though, getting that whole holiday week off is really nice. 🙂 Also in Minnesota this year, one of my friends had a mandatory teacher work day on Martin Luther King Day AND she only gets an extended 4-day weekend as her “spring break”. Many Minnesota districts still have a full week off for spring break, but a lot of them are cutting that back in favor of more school days. I’m guessing it’s different in different parts of the country.

        It is also likely that my perception of summer break could be skewed because my teaching license is for band. Many band directors will teach summer lessons and have marching band rehearsals and such during the summer, so their break is shortened considerably.

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    Rachel February 24, 2012, 10:13 pm

    I regret the way that a high school friendship ended.

    I regret not studying abroad in college, and not participating in more extracurriculars.

    I regret staying with my college (and after) boyfriend for as long as I did. When I look back, there were a few times where I should have just called it quits, but I didn’t for some reason. I spent way too long trying to save someone who wouldn’t be saved and payed for it with a lot of energy and self esteem.

    I regret my credit card debt.

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    Kristen February 24, 2012, 10:58 pm

    This is a good one. I have a couple to share:

    1. I regret not making more friends in college. I went there with the attitude that I was only there to get my degree, and nothing more. I felt like I already had the best friends anyone could ask for from high school, so why look for more? I did make a few friends (and one really good one), but I still went home every single weekend to see my boyfriend. I could have been a lot more social if I had tried, and I wouldn’t have missed out on dance nights, movie marathons, etc.

    2. I regret having sex before being married. Kind of. That’s a tough one. I kind of got persuaded into it, and while it’s awesome to know someone so intimately, I still probably count that as one of my biggest regrets. I feel like maybe I spoiled it for myself, and that the guilt I feel every time we do it now might last forever (like, what if I’m married and on my honeymoon, and I still automatically feel guilty and don’t enjoy it? That’s my worst nightmare.)

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      Zepp February 25, 2012, 10:42 am

      If it feels wrong every time you do something (you feel guilty) you should stop doing it. Seriously. If its that ingrained in your psyche that having sex before you get married is wrong, just stop and wait from here. I’m sure if your boyfriend wouldn’t be into the sex if he knew it was causing you to feel that way.

      I was also raised in a really religious household, but I don’t feel guilty about premarital sex. At all. But one of my BFFs from college felt soo guilty after the first time with her now husband they didn’t have sex for the next 4 years, until they were married.

      If you feel guilty for it, you should stop.

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  • Moneypenny

    Moneypenny February 25, 2012, 4:49 am

    I regret spending so much of my savings between 2008-2009. I didn’t realize what I had til it was gone. I also regret letting so many people walk all over me, especially guys. I didn’t quite know how to stick up for myself.
    On the other hand, now I am good at creating a budget for myself and living within my means. I hopefully can keep things in line so I can save up again. (although, not as quickly as the first time around!) I also know what it feels like to be taken advantage of, and that I am worth more than that. I’m worth sticking up for myself!

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    Francine February 25, 2012, 10:11 am

    I can’t help but feel regretful about certain things in my past but I try hard not to thnk of things I could’ve done differently as regrets. I’m a true believer in the butterfly effect (Ray Bradbury’s A Sound Of Thunder). Everything I’ve done in my past helped me arrive where I am today. And, although my life is far from perfect, I like where I am today.

    I’m not all that intellectual so I prefer the movie Mr Destiny to Ray Bradbury though. I’m a sucker for movies with fake vomit and characters named Cement Head.

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    Zepp February 25, 2012, 10:35 am

    I wish I had gone to university in-state the entire 4 years, and used more of the money my parents set aside for me in college to travel more. Specifically those biology classes where you go to the South America to study the rainforest- can’t BELIEVE I passed on that.

    Also, this sounds a bit weird, but I wish I had been more promiscuous. I always played it safe and had LTRs, and would never make the first move with guys. I wouldn’t do anything unless I could tell they were falling in love with me. I guess that saved me a lot of heart break, but now that I’m with the man I think I’ll marry, I wish i had had a few flings with super hot men.

    And I wish I had been a better kid/early teen. I put my poor parents through hell, I was such a dramatic trouble maker. I feel really bad about it, I wish i could have been more like my older brother, he was their “easy” kid.

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      Painted_lady February 25, 2012, 11:14 am

      I know exactly what you mean, Zepp! I spent all of college and my entire first semester and a half of grad school terrified of sex, and I passed up some really great opportunities for the kind of flings that, much later, taught me enough about myself that I knew what I wanted in a long-term partner. I just might have had those lessons much sooner. Plus I dated some really hot guys in college – the experience would have made for some great stories.

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  • MELH

    MELH February 25, 2012, 11:00 am

    Ok my biggest regrets:
    1. Not respecting myself enough at the end of high school/beginning or college. I had sex for the first time with my high school boyfriend, which I don’t regret, he was wrong for me in the long run but a great guy and I did really love him. But after that it was like well, cat’s out of the bag and I treated sex very casually. I had some one night stands with people I barely knew and I slept with some people I knew and didn’t really like. I don’t regret everyone in that period of time, but I wish I hadn’t seen a guy interested in sleeping with me as some kind of validation of my worth or attractiveness, I wish I would have realized that sooner.
    2. Not going for the big internships in college. I never even tried to spend a summer or a quarter interning for a bug magazine in New York. I know people in my college did, and while I might not have been successful, I don’t know why I didn’t even try. I enjoyed my small market magazine jobs, but I wish I had the confidence in myself to go for the top.
    3. Not making more of an effort with my college roommates. We had a falling out after my freshman year boyfriend and I broke up. He start dating his ex, who apparently banned me from going to any parties hosted by anyone in their group of friends. And my friends made the call that leaving me home and attending these parties was more important than sticking by me, and that hurt, but the friendships probably could have been repaired after things settles down, but I just didn’t make an effort.

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      SweetPea February 27, 2012, 11:59 am

      “I wish I hadn’t seen a guy interested in sleeping with me as some kind of validation of my worth or attractiveness, I wish I would have realized that sooner.”

      Yes… I can totally relate. I didn’t not “sleep around” a lot, but there were a couple of guys I slept with that I only did because it helped my self-esteem… not because I really cared for them.

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    Painted_lady February 25, 2012, 12:04 pm

    I wish I had realized earlier how much damage some of my mom’s attitudes were doing to me. I don’t think she ever meant any harm, but her approach to my dad’s emotional abuse was to make everyone get out of the way and avoid setting him off rather than insist his behavior wasn’t acceptable and make him get help before he hit my brother. I still get a knot in my stomach to this day everytime someone’s visibly unhappy with a situation, and I feel guilty, like I caused it or I need to fix it. I regret that, the first time I pulled together the courage to tell someone that I thought my dad was abusive, the person I told was her and that I let her make me feel guilty and shut me up for another eight years. I could have healed a little sooner, and I could have protected her from him, and I could have protected my brother from some of the damage my dad did to him, which I think is probably irreversible.

    I wish I hadn’t listened to my mom’s opinions on sex quite so much. In high school when my friends started having sex, I would tell her some of what I heard, and she would say “Ew,” or “Ugh,” or “How trashy,” or something similar, and I internalized a lot of it. Then freshman year of college, I was dating this really nutty guy with whom I started doing some fooling around – no sex, but just about everything else – and one Saturday she came in and busted us sharing the same room. My own mother made me feel like the whore of Babylon – and I wasn’t even having sex with the guy! I was finally comfortable with a little experimentation after having been the biggest prude in the world in high school, and my mom called me trashy and told me she couldn’t believe I didn’t have a better sense of values than that, and how all this time she thought she’d gotten a daughter who had a sense of self-worth, etc, etc…it was awful. I was humiliated and traumatized, and it put me off doing anything more than making out with a guy for another two years. I dated some incredibly sweet, patient guys who never pressured me to do anything more than I was comfortable with, and I don’t blame them for eventually probably getting frustrated – what 22-year-old guy could date a girl for four months who fools around with you but about an hour in, says she can’t have sex with you after all, three nights a week for four months? This guy had unbelievable patience. But he probably would have been a wonderful first, and I wish it had been him. Or the guy I dated the next summer – he was a lot of fun. I’m glad it happened how it did, with an on-and-off boyfriend my first year of grad school, but there were a lot of other ways it also would have been good.

    I regret that I didn’t trust my instincts more when I was younger. My dad was abusive, and I knew in my gut that there was something Not Right about being afraid of one of your parents outside of being in trouble, but I let my mom guilt me out of it. I wish I had had the strength to tell someone who wasn’t so invested in that not being true. I wish I had trusted my instincts with my freshman year boyfriend and dumped him when he told me he loved me on our third date. I wish I hadn’t made such a fool of myself with a couple of guys I dated because I didn’t want to believe I was getting blown off.

    Ultimately, I wish I had been kinder to myself and not put so much stock in my mother. She has trouble admitting she’s wrong, but there have been a couple of things I’ve told her about, the way I saw them, and she’s been shocked how much I took to heart some of the stuff she said and did to me. Of course, the way she sees it, it’s not her fault for doing it but rather my fault for being so impressionable, and she stands blameless…but that’s my mom 🙂

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    • avatar

      Francine February 25, 2012, 1:26 pm

      Painted_Lady, I’m so sorry that you had to live and grow up in that environment. I can completely relate to your struggles with having a blameless mother.

      I don’t believe that we’re destined to be our mothers. Never fall into the trap of blaming your mom for your regrets. We can’t feel we’re blameless. We have to own our own actions if we don’t want to repeat the same mistakes. After all, if we feel that we’re powerless over our own actions how will we be able to do things differently? There will always be outside influences and our histories may place us on certain paths but ultimately it’s our decision whether or not we follow that path or make our own.

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        Painted_lady February 25, 2012, 3:37 pm

        Thanks for the kind words. I don’t mean to give the impression that I still fall prey to her manipulations – growing up it was easier to buy into absolutely everything she said as the not-terrifying parent. I quit blaming her, too, although I’m still trying to deal with my anger at making the realization that she’s never going to acknowledge that she made my early adulthood more difficult than it had to be. I quit trying to explain it to her because the closest I’m ever going to get to an apology is “Well, I am *so sorry* I made your life *so difficult.* I thought it was enough to just do the very best you can, but I didn’t realize I was ruining your life.” It’s never going to be what I want it to be, and I want to keep having the otherwise-great relationship we do have, so I just decided to quit beating my head against the wall.

        Even though it took me forever, having to deal with her gave me a set of skills I never dreamed, at 19 when I was on the phone listening to her call me trashy for sharing a bed with my college boyfriend, that I would have. I have this ability to call out people who like to throw their weight around through intimidation (my dad) or guilt (my mom) in a way that is neither confrontational nor passive-aggressive. It took a couple of times for my dad to hear, “Dad, please stop talking to me like a child. I’m a grown woman, and I don’t allow people to speak to me like that” for him to quit altogether. My best friend once tried to guilt her way out of a commitment she had made by sobbing “Maybe we just shouldn’t be friends! I’m obviously terrible at it!” My reply was, “That was never where I was going with that, but if you feel it’s best, I guess that’s what you need. What I was trying to say was that I’m unhappy that you’re backing out of this, but I will get over it. It still doesn’t change the fact that you’re flaking out on me, but I never once said I didn’t want to be friends and I resent that you’d put those words In my mouth.” I guess my only regret was how long it took me to get there, and how unkind I was to myself in the process.

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        Francine February 25, 2012, 4:11 pm

        I understand. There’s definitely a difference between blaming my mom for things I’ve done and being upset with her for the things she’s done. It’s so hard to get beyond my feelings about her when she won’t acknowledge any wrong doing but that’s the nature of dealing with someone like that. I obviously can’t change her so I’ve decided to accept her for who she is. I accept that she’ll say things to make me feel bad about myself or guilty. I choose to do my best to not allow her to control my feelings. The things she says to me and about me are more a reflection of her own character than mine.

        I love your approach to your friend and your dad. You have the kind of control I hope to have. For a long time it was hard to keep my emotions in check and in situations like that I’d end up having a lot of disagreements with my mom. Right now I rarely react at all. I’ve decided that I’m not being passive. I’m being tolerant. My mom has issues too big for me to tackle so I don’t try to correct her or reason with her. I don’t always like what she says but now that I refuse to be an active participant in those conversations, I carry sound a lot less guilt. I’ve become a pro at glossing right over any remarks that I know are designed to make me feel inferior or guilty. Sometimes I boil on the inside at the time but at the end of the day I’m pretty proud of myself for not engaging her.

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        Painted_lady February 25, 2012, 5:52 pm

        Yeah, I feel you on the non-reaction as a display of tolerance. You could get sucked in and argue and get angry, but ultimately the only change that’s happening is damaging the relationship you have with her. You can’t fix things *for* someone who doesn’t realize that anything wrong is happening on their end. So yeah, with my mom, it’s usually better to acknowledge her opinion (rather than agree with it) and then change the subject as quickly as possible. I’ve started referring to it as my “refusal to engage” because that sounds way more active, which, as far as the mental control that sort of resistance requires, it really is an active thing, which I’m sure you know!

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    CattyGoLightly February 25, 2012, 2:24 pm

    Here I go!

    -I wish that in high school, I had taken Spanish along with French. I don’t know why I didn’t think to do this, and now trying to learn it is a pain in the ass. (I don’t, however, regret studying and working in Paris for 2 and a half years. That was awesome.)

    -I wish that I hadn’t gotten my hair trimmed two months ago, because that lady Delilah-ed me! I was Samson and had long flowing hair and now I have short’ ugly, poofy, hair that is going to take at least a year to grow out. Since when did “I’d like a trim” translate to “Oh please, oh please, cut off six inches of my curly hair, because then it looks like you cut 8 inches”??? It’s not a mullet, but god, it’s still ugly.

    -I regret having low self esteem when I was younger. Because of this I put up with way more crap from men than I ever should have. It all kind of seems worth it now though, because I don’t think I’d be this happy with the right guy if I hadn’t been that miserable with the wrong ones. I know what I want and will not accept from a relationship, at least.

    -I regret not trying harder to help my brother towards the end of his life.

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      CattyGoLightly February 25, 2012, 2:30 pm

      -Oh I just read someone saying they regret things they did to hurt other people. THAT TOO. I also regret things I didn’t do that could have helped people. (befriending the bullied kid in elementary school, etc. etc.) Kids really don’t seem to realize how mean they can be.

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    Christy February 25, 2012, 3:54 pm

    I regret not accepting that I was gay until I was 21.

    Oh and on the list of BIG regrets, I regret posting one particular dumb thing on Facebook. Man oh man, do I regret it.

    I regret not thinking harder about studying engineering.

    I regret not taking unpaid internships in college.

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    • bittergaymark

      bittergaymark February 25, 2012, 10:14 pm

      21 is still pretty young. Although, I guess now kids come out in middleschool…

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        Painted_lady February 26, 2012, 1:00 am

        True story!

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    Addie Pray February 26, 2012, 7:03 am

    I regret not thinking long and hard at a younger age about what I want, what I like, what I don’t like, etc. as far as careers go. I should have done that in high school and college – I should have used the resources I had to learn about all types of careers and what they entail. Instead, I’m doing it now – at 33 – and it’s a little late, you know, to change my major so to speak.

    I also regret going to a top private school for undergrad. I went there because it was the best school I got into, but it wasn’t for me. (Another failed opportunity to think more about who I am and what I want and what school would be best suited for me.) I’m very glad I learned my lesson though when it came time for law school. I really stressed over this decision (i.e., put in a lot of thought) and ultimately chose the cheaper, lower ranked, public school in my hometown instead of the top 20 school that had always been my “dream” school and that I got into. Best. Decision. Ever. I got to see my parents regularly, I have no debt (from law school that is – but yes from [email protected]%# undergrad!!), and I met the nicest, most down-to-earth friends you could ever have.

    I also regret the pizza I ate at 11 pm last night. Bikram yoga is going to sucketh today.

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  • avatar

    Laura Hope February 26, 2012, 3:10 pm

    I lost a decade of my life to anorexia.

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    Anna February 26, 2012, 3:35 pm

    In a way, I kinda regret going to college because so far I have not managed to start a successful career. I regret stopping exercising for a few years after I started dating my boyfriend, because now I am still working on losing the weight I gained. I regret moving in with him without setting any kind of marriage timeline. Most of all, I regret being so reckless with my credit when I was 18 and companies were throwing credit cards and new cars at me. Ever since my bankruptcy was discharged almost 4 yrs ago, I have kept everything spotless and paid every bill on time but it still takes time to rebuild it.

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    jlyfsh February 26, 2012, 9:33 pm

    i just spent the weekend with my family after my grandfather had another surgery. thinking your loved one is going to die definitely makes you stop and really think about your life.

    i think my biggest regrets are
    1. not listening to my grandmother and mom when i moved twice for jobs that i think i knew in my heart weren’t worth it or the right fit. i could have saved a lot of time and money!

    2. remembering that forgiving people isn’t about saying that what they did was ok. but, about letting go of the anger i had towards them. i spent way too much time being bitter when i should have let things go.

    3. letting go of friends who weren’t good friends for me sooner. and with that being less afraid of making new friends.

    4. not applying for that credit card when i was 18. so what if i got a cool basketball hoop for my dorm room. i just finished paying it off.

    5. that i didn’t learn sooner that the memory of an experience lasts longer than ‘things’ ever will. if only that credit card debt was for awesome trips instead of random crap.

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    SweetPea February 27, 2012, 10:27 am

    Spent almost four years with a man that treated me terribly. I felt worthless and depressed for four years. I cried almost every day. And I thought there was just something wrong with me. And I don’t know why I let that happen to myself for SO long!

    But, life is good now!

    P.S. Great thread idea, Wendy. Loved this.

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    Lynn February 27, 2012, 11:45 pm

    I don’t usually regret a whole lot of things, but something I did a few months ago, I do regret.

    My best friend introduced me to her boyfriend’s good friend. I was only looking for a hook up. Or at least I thought that’s what I wanted. Long story short, I ended up extremely drunk and he did too, and we ended up sleeping together. I woke up the next morning, and he kissed me and was acting very sweet, which I thought was weird for a one night stand. Then I remembered bits and pieces of the night’s events and remembered how much I liked being around him.

    Anyway, after talking for a little bit that next morning, I really looked at him and for the first time ever in my life, I thought, “Oh God what did I do? I could really see myself liking this guy.”

    I saw him the next week, and we had a lot of fun. Then we both headed off to our separate cities (our families live in the same city, we do not) and kept in touch for a little bit. It was more from my end, then I stopped texting him and never heard from him again… so I figure he wasn’t interested.

    I think I regret the whole thing because I wish I hadn’t been in the hook up state of mind that first night and had taken it slow with him. I’ve been on a few dates since the last time I saw him, but for whatever reason whenever I get a text, I’ll sometimes find myself wishing it was from him. Eeek that’s not me at all.

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