Do you ever wish that life had a rewind button? What a question, you say! But do you? Because I do. I used to say that I didn’t have regrets because anything I regretted was a good learning opportunity (insert eye roll here). I don’t buy that anymore. Nope! I am all for do-overs now! In fact, I truly don’t know how people say they don’t have regrets. I mean doesn’t everyone have at least 1? Or um, 20?! Are they superhuman?! Pollyannas?? Monks?! Who can say! But since I love facebook polls, and my friends are always willing to entertain my madness by being my guinea pigs, I asked some of them what their biggest regrets are. You know the drill…SURVEY SAID!
“I regret I was too busy earning a living instead of living a life. Wow, where did the time go? Sometimes, I would trade my future for one yesterday to go back and connect with my daughter more.” ~Rob
“My biggest regrets are my marriages. Both of them. Would I change it? That’s difficult to answer. Yes, I would love to go back in time and know as a young woman that I would choose to learn who I am and what I truly want in life instead of clinging to “comfortable” and “what’s expected”. But in doing so, I would be erasing my two greatest joys. I think my mistakes have shaped me into the bitch I am today and I say that in a positive light, not a negative one. But most importantly, those regrets and mistakes have allowed me to raise a daughter who is too smart, too independent, and too driven to repeat them.” ~Tiffany
“One of my biggest regrets is not doing what I wanted to do right out of high school…attend pharmacy school. It was my desire almost all through high school, and well, things happened. Other paths were taken, degrees were earned, and life took its course. Then, one day, the opportunity was given to me. I snatched it and haven’t looked back. I’m currently making that regret a reality as I’m a P1 student, living the Dream, busting ass, and loving each and every day. It’s not always cupcakes and gumdrops, but I’m surviving because I want it that bad! The best quote, which hangs in my apartment is, ‘Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you have imagined’. I’m doing this, one day at a time.” ~Josh
“Worrying about always being perfect. Or right. Always doing everything the perfect way, no matter what the cost. It still eats at me so much that I forget to enjoy life. It’s almost like an anxiety attack in motion because it has to be right all the time. And if it isn’t, it’s ‘oh no!’ and I beat myself up. It is really sad because I want to enjoy my life before I go home. My goal is to be pleasing to God while still relishing in living.” ~Molly
“Tricky to answer because even my mistakes/regrets (marriages!) resulted in having my two much-loved daughters and learning valuable skills. Ultimately my mistakes led me to where I am. Having said that, I deeply regret not standing up for myself or heeding my inner compass when it was wildly waving red flags to warn me against settling for less than genuine magic in my relationships. That’s a long explanation. The short version is: I regret not valuing myself enough when I was younger which resulted in my accepting less (of everything!) than I deserved.” ~Marie
“My biggest regret is that I quit riding horses when I was 15. I had a crush on a guy in the band, and I gave up one of my true loves (horses) for marching band. I have actually told many psychiatrists about this over the years! What was I thinking? If I could change it, I would have never quit riding! I would have horses of my own and be able to ride every week!” ~Maura
“My regret is staying longer than I should have in a dead-end relationship. It was my very first relationship. I wasn’t happy, but I put his happiness above my own and tried to be happy. I kinda think I loved him more than I loved myself, but I just wasn’t in love with him any longer. And of course, I regret my relationship with Satan (name omitted to protect the not-so-innocent!) LOL! I let someone else’s opinion determine and change my way of thinking because he convinced me that I was all wrong and he was right, regardless what the situation was.” ~Wendy
“The only regret I have, truly, is that I didn’t wake up sooner to creating a blissful life, instead of leaving it up to someone else.” ~Melissa
(Side note: Make sure you stay tuned because Melissa is guest blogging for me next week on this very subject! You do not want to miss it!)
When I think about my own regrets, I don’t have just one. I probably have 500, but if I told you every single one of them, we’d be here all day! My absolute biggest regret is not ever having children and if I still had a uterus, I would probably pop out 10 of them! I was born to be a mother and I already know who I’d want the daddy to be. He’s got great genes and with his good looks and my green eyes, we would have created some beautiful, beautiful babies! But enough about that. My other regrets??? Rather than giving you the whole list, I’ll share the top 10 with you instead:
…allowing others to be less of a friend to me than I ever was to them.
…not completing my degree in my 20s when I had my first go-round of college, but back then, I was too hung up on being a grown up and thought it would be more fun to work for a living (egads!).
…not setting strong boundaries sooner than I did with people I allowed to take advantage of me over and over (notice I said I “allowed it”–we teach people how to treat us, and I own that).
…refusing to leave the church with my maid of honor on my wedding day when she tried to turn me into the runaway bride–not because I didn’t love my former husband, but because we were just better-suited for other people and I could have saved both of us from years and years of unhappiness if I had just gotten into that little red Audi, veil flying everywhere, and flown the coop with my Chica (and if I was a betting girl, I’d bet that he probably wishes I had fled the church too! Okay scratch that, because I discussed this with him before sharing it and he told me to go for it haha! See? Ex-spouses can still be friends…thankful!).
…getting a tattoo to piss my mother off (yes, I love sunflowers, but I wish like hell I didn’t have one on my right ankle…and just because I know it will make you laugh, my grandmother told me I had shamed the family–little does she know that I’ve done much worse but wish I hadn’t).
…not listening to my gut instincts–because every time I didn’t, I paid the piper dearly.
…not starting Botox sooner than I did (No really! Listen, it’s hard being 29…).
…loving a man so much that I lost myself in the process and conveniently forgot that my needs were just as important as his were.
…letting fear and societal expectations rule my every move because it seemed easier to be a people pleaser.
…keeping secrets that I should never have kept and sacrificing myself so that others could remain selfishly comfortable (holy cow–now that’s a biggie!)’
Regrets are lessons, yes. Disappointments are an unfortunate part of life, you betcha (don’t you hate that?!). Making mistakes enables us to be better people and if we didn’t make them, we would never experience growth on any level (I don’t know about you, but there are some days where I think I’ve had all the character-building I can possibly stand!). Hindsight is truly 20/20. I can always look back and see the mistakes I’ve made very clearly. Did I know they were mistakes when I was making them? Probably, but I didn’t listen to myself because my idea of how things should be always overshadowed what they were in reality. We beat ourselves up with woulda-coulda-shoulda rather than accepting that we’re human and sometimes, we fall into the insanity of continuing to commit the same faux pas over and over again because we didn’t learn our lesson the first time (character building, remember?).
Listen, we’ve all created flawed, unpretty, abhorrent things. We all, at one time or another, wish we had done better by the people we loved and sometimes hope that they still love us just enough to forgive us for the 10th or the 100th time for being stuck on stupid. We’ve all hated ourselves for not doing the right thing when we knew that we were doing the wrong one and all of us have opened our mouth only to insert our foot by saying something careless in a moment of heated anger. I think the saddest part about regret is that we spend so much time looking at the closed door that we forget to look through the cracks of the open ones that might offer an even better prize than door #1 ever did. Things that make you go hmm….
The truth is, we will all have regrets at one time or another. The key is to be able to make our peace with it, however, that’s done. Forgiving ourselves is a bitter pill to swallow sometimes, no doubt. And anytime we have big dreams or things we want to achieve in our lifetime, I think it’s just part of it, that in some way or another, we’ll feel disappointment when things don’t go exactly how we envisioned that they would; but I think Linda Poindexter summed it up nicely when she said, “One small crack does mean that you are broken, it means that you were put to the test and you didn’t fall apart”.
Regretfully, but gratefully yours…