Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I'm sorry if this offends anyone I care about but seriously, this "11 things you'll do your 20's...." came in my twitter box and I clicked on it just out of curiosity. If you are also curious by nature like me, here is the link. Honestly, I read maybe 1/4 of the article. I really wasn't that interested in what it said, more interested in what it is telling people. It is really ironic actually since I recently had a conversation with a girl in her early 20's about regret. What I tried to convey to her in our 1 hour conversation is that regret is toxic. It isn't real, only imagined. It is one of those things that most of experience but don't really have to.

I remember my mother telling me not to get a tattoo because I'd regret it someday. Not to pierce my nose or I'd regret it. Finally I sat her down and explained to her that her regrets would not be mine. When parents regret not finishing school they insist their children should finish and they tell their children they will regret it if they don't. When a sister regrets getting married young she'll tell her younger sister not to marry young or she'll live to regret it. If a friend regrets running off to Italy with a guy she met, she'll insist her friends never run off at a moments notice with anyone or they too will regret it.

I know what regret is, I've had my share. Then I learned through hearing others regrets that regret is just wasting time when I could have been living in the moment and moving into the future. The other day I told a friend that I really need to spend less time on the computer so that I can focus on things that are really important but I won't regret the time I've wasted on the computer. I chose to do it, had my reasons. Sure, months later, after wasting countless hours on the net, I can see that it wasn't the best use of my time but doing it I've connected with people I'd otherwise not connected with), reconnected with people I'd lost touch with and learned things I otherwise wouldn't have learned.

And so, it may be difficult to decipher my babble but this is what I posted in response to that idiotic article on regret and what I tried to convey to the girl in her 20's:

The problem with the regret is it's all psychological bullshit. When someone chooses not to finish school they do so for reasons that seem logical to them at the time. People marry young because it feels right at the time. As you grow and experience life you look back with regret because of all the knowledge and experience acquired along the way but it is pure self induced psychological torture to feel regret. People dwell too much in the past instead of moving forward. Should have, would have, could have are just ways to prevent yourself from being happy and moving towards the future. People shouldn't live in years that are gone. Accept that the decisions you made in the past were based on the knowledge you had at the time, the feelings you were experiencing, the ideas that you had. They weren't wrong, they were YOU! Now you are someone different and can move forward with new insight. If you regret your 20's while you are 40 than you are just misguided but not hopeless.

Just a thought: How many people dealing with depression can give you a list of their regrets? Then ask yourself, what comes first, the depression or the regret?


Anonymous said...

I followed your link and read the list. Well I'm twenty-eight now and I guess I'm totally screwed when I hit 40. I dropped out of college first semester of my sophmore year. I got married the year after high school. Started having children after only 5 years of major travel-less marriage. Who knew that the rewarding life I have now will be something to regret in 15 more years because I didn't travel the world and sleep with everyone I could along the way. ~mostly regretless in Indiana

Anne-Marie said...

I love your insight on this topic. Never let the fear of regret stand in the way, which sometimes seems easier said than done.

Michelle said...


That article is very presumptuous. I also married young, at 23, and I'm very happy. I have 3 beautiful children and a great husband. I can't imagine life any other way. If there is anything I skipped in life in order to be married or have children I did so because marriage and children were/are more important to me. If I want to do anything bad enough I will do it. I won't sit around thinking about what life would have been like if I followed another path. I chose my path and I'm still choosing it.

AM, it is true, I think it always seems easier said than done but in reality it is only as difficult as we make it.

I think half of the problem is when people let the judgement of others cause their regret. Half the people I know regret portions of their lives because they judge themselves through the eyes of others. I think we could rid most of life regrets if we stopped basing our self-worth on what others are thinking of us or what we assume others are thinking of us.

Together We Save said...

I read the list too and I am glad to say I don't have many regrets.