Regrets I Have in My 30’s

imageI remember my eighteenth birthday like it was yesterday.ย Technically, I suppose it should be ‘birthdays’ – it lasted for about a week as I had four or five celebrations with different people… my poor liver wasn’t happy for some time after that.

Back then, my world was a very different place. I was in my final part of my A Levels, and after twelve years of education I’d had enough, and knew that I was taking a gap year before applying to music colleges to study the violin. I lived at home with my parents and sisters, I was working in a cinema while I was studying, with plans to apply for a job at a local nightclub that had recently opened, and I had spent my holidays doing tours with the International Youth Philharmonic and the European Vacation Chamber Orchestra. I had plans. I was settled. Life was easy…

Things fell apart about a year later, and my world changed. Indeed, the only thing that remains the same are my bank details. It’s been a long and difficult roller coaster of of a ride, and now I’ve found myself in my thirties, with regrets…

1. Not letting go sooner. When my family fell apart, I retreated into myself for a long time, and continued to harbour intense anger into my late twenties. I secretly blamed others for their reactions and behaviour in response to various events, and it didn’t matter what their opinions were – I had been wronged and they deserved to be punished for it. What it took me a long time to realise was that we all experienced the same feelings, but dealt with it in very different ways, and my stubbornness to empathise meant that I lost years of time that could have been spent with various members of my family that I will never get back…

… But now, I have learned to appreciate being in their company and make more of an effort to spend quality time with them.

image

A sixteen year old me. Frizzy, squinty, but healthy

2. Not taking care of my body. Fifteen years ago, I was physically very fit and healthy. I swam and played badminton for various clubs, I had my brown belt in karate, I enjoyed horse-riding, I had represented my school in cross country. I was never skinny, but I was strong. Now, years of shoving fatty food, alcohol and cigarettes into my system has left me at the heaviest I’ve ever been…

… But now, I have started to work hard to change my eating and exercise habits, and am training for a half-marathon.

3. Not consistently putting money into savings, and frittering my wages away on rubbish. I’m always reminded of an episode of Friends, where Monica borrows money from Ross. Ross has the money to be able to lend because he followed his parents advice and put 10% of each pay check in the bank. From the age of sixteen I have always had a job, and if I had been more disciplined I would now have enough to put down a very large deposit on a house. Instead, my house is filled with things I don’t need, and I’ve wasted thousands on cigarettes, junk food and alcohol…

…But now, I take my finances seriously and ensure that I stick to a monthly budget. I am in the process of de-cluttering and have a list of things that I am going to sell and give to charity shops.

4. Caring too about the opinions of others. It took me until my early thirties to stop caring so much about what others thought of me, and I wasted so much time being devastated at the slightest hint of constructive criticism or negativity. It was so important to be liked and I constantly worried, adapted my behaviour and desperately tried to impress. The funny thing is, I haven’t seen or spoken to these people in years…

…But now, the only opinions I am concerned with are my own and those of the people that I care about. My worrying time is decidedly less.

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Some of the places I’ve been lucky enough to visit…

5. Not travelling enough. To be honest, I wasn’t particularly interested in travel until my late 20’s – I had been on various package holidays with friends in my teens and was happy with that, but it was when I supervised a school trip to America that I realised how much I enjoyed it. Since then, I’ve done my best to visit as many places as possible, but the cost and the responsibilities I have at home has meant that it’s unlikely that I will see certain destinations without a lottery win. I should have followed in my younger sister’s footsteps and embarked on backpacking adventures in the Southern Hemisphere while I had the chance…

…But now, I can appreciate the places I have been to and the wonderful experiences I’ve had there, I have booked a holiday, I’m making plans and saving for future trips.

6. Not saying no enough, and not putting myself first. The majority of my life was spent following the path that was dictated to me. It should have been strong enough to stand my ground and tell others what I was going to do instead…

…But now, I know what I want, I know the direction that I am going in and I am working hard to achieve it. My life is my own.

7. Staying with a sociopath for far too long. It took years to recover.

…But now, I set clear boundaries and expectations in my relationship, and I am treated with love and respect.

 

Perhaps these aren’t regrets, more life lessons. And if I hadn’t experienced them, I wouldn’t be where I am now.

And where I am now, is happy.

Maybe I’ll leave the regrets until I’m old. Or maybe I’ll try and live with as few regrets as I can.

I like that idea. No regrets.

 

What about you? Do you have any regrets? Are there things you wish you would have done differently?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks

Top image credit: Deb Fletcher

 

77 thoughts on “Regrets I Have in My 30’s

  1. Hi Suzie – I am significantly older than you and, on looking back……… no regrets. Of course, if I knew then what I know now, then different decisions would have been made, but I didn’t! I still make the best decisions I can with what I currently know. There really is no other way! It was so nice to read your “less than smart” episodes followed by your resolves for the future. As you probably know, the first step to solving any problem is to actually acknowledge you have a problem (Step 1 of 12 Step program). I shall look forward to reading future Posts where you will hopefully be sharing the benefits, feelings, emotions etc of pursuing those resolves. Life is never easy, but it is always educational. Enjoy the education! Take care. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Please forgive my late reply on this. I always love your perspective and insight in your comments. Hindsight is always a wonderful thing, but life is, exactly as you say, never easy…

  2. Very interesting read, thanks for sharing that. As I’ve said before, it is the personal touch that people like in a blog. Whenever I have to write a practise homily, I always try and include real life in it too.

  3. Really powerful post! There are some on here I identify with – not travelling enough is a big one. I haven’t been on a plane for about 16 years now and I have let fear dictate that so I guess for me ‘letting fear get in the way’ is one of my biggest regrets but I am taking steps to throw myself out of my comfort zone whenever I can.

  4. I don’t have many regrets as all my mistakes have helped make me the person I am today, but I do regret not asking for help more often and skipping family vacations in order to complete a university program faster.

      • My degree definitely helped to jump-start my career, so it isn’t a huge regret, but I rushed through the program only for the job market to dry up right as I graduated. Looking back, I should have enjoyed one last vacation with my family before we all had significant others and delayed graduation.

  5. The beauty of this post is that because you are seeing things in such a different light these days, you WILL have more joy by the time you reach the age I am now… (58) Trust me on this, everything you do from this point forward IS what matters right now. Regrets? Tut, tut, tut… merely bricks upon which you will stand to see beyond to the world calling your name. Be happy, please be deliciously happy about everything, even your past! โค

  6. I’m one of those people who believes life’s too short for regrets. That’s not to say there aren’t things I look back at and wonder what if, but I can’t change what’s happened, I can only change what will.
    It seems you’ve got yourself into a good place now. Keep doing what you’re doing and use your past to motivate your future. You won’t regret it ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Thanks so much Dylan! I went through a phase of looking at past events in the same manner as ‘Sliding Doors’ but realised that it all got me to the point that I am at now… Totally worth it!

  7. I like the idea of no regrets too. My dad taught me we should never regret. We can be sorry if we need to be, acknowledge our mistakes, and learn and grow from them. I try to live by that philosophy. Life throws things in our path so often, and there are painful lessons we need to learn. But you’re absolutely right – they make us stronger – make us the people we are. Hugs.

  8. As a person in their 40’s there are lots of things I wish I had done differently. To me, my 30’s seems like yesterday and there are plenty of mistakes I have made too. There is lots of stuff I wish I had done that might make life better now. But you can’t go back in time unfortunately.

  9. Suzie, This post was so honest and inspiring to see how you made this progress in your life, and you share it with everyone. Everyday the gift of giving is what makes us keep coming back even when we are frustrated. I really liked the fact that you can look back at your life, and see what needed to be changed and you made the changes. Sharing the way you do is very effective for others and brave of you. Lori English…..(:

  10. I too wasn’t interested in travel until my late 20s. Though “interested” isn’t the right word. Like you, I was too busy doing what I was supposed to do – get a degree, get a job, pay off loans – to travel. Plus, my parents had raised me with the belief that traveling was a frivolous expense if you weren’t rich. But at 27 I took my first writing paycheque and flew to England to visit a friend who was teaching there, and realized that I get so much more out of traveling than a “break” from work. Now I prioritize traveling just below paying rent and buying food and well above buying clothes, drinking or eating out. No matter how poor I am in a given year, I try to go somewhere I haven’t been before, even if it’s just for a weekend.

    Overall, great list. It’s a good reminder to take stock of our lives and figure out what is important moving forward. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I feel exactly the same way, and did the same as you did – I was busy doing the things I was supposed to do rather than travelling. I’ve totally changed my priorities now…

  11. Suzi, I’m old and have NO regrets. Maybe I look at the good things that happened along the way, and let go of what I didn’t do, where I didn’t go, and what I didn’t say! I comes down to how you made that trek, path, trail in life work for you! Not how it would-could-should have been…if only…
    Happy Days! Christine

  12. I find regrets to be a mixed bag. Without those bad experiences we likely wouldn’t learn what we want out of life nor would we learn to appreciate what we do have. No one lives a perfect life or gets through this world unscathed and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

  13. I have a few regrets too, Again they are to do with staying too long in an abusive relationship., smoking too much and eating too much!
    I have conquered 2 out of 3 of them. Just the food to cut down on now!
    Thanks for such an honest post and glad that you are on a more positive footing now too ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I saw a photo of myself the other day when I was 21. I saw a pretty girl with fabulous legs. How did I not know this?? I’ve always been shy, gawky and awkward. Every day I look in the mirror and see a very average person. So now I try and think, yes it’s downhill from now on, but you will never look as beautiful again as you look today, so try and hold your head up and enjoy it.

  15. Lots of things here I reckon most will indentify with… I know there’s a couple that ring true for me – the Monica savings for one. And not saying no. Such a pity we are all so incapable of putting ourselves first. Lots of truth here Suzie. Like this post ๐Ÿ˜Š

  16. This does read like a list of life lessons and as long as you’ve learned from them, it’s all been for the best. :)I do share some of the points you make and am especially furious about my lack of savings (inherently relates to my inconsistent job!) but hey… I’ve got high hopes for a brighter future ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks my lovely! I agree – life lessons that will hopefully improve the future! It’s so frustrating when you work hard and try and save and then end up with nothing at the end of the month isn’t it!

  17. So many valuable lessons here. It just sometimes seems a shame that we have to spend so much of our life learning them. Still, better late than never I guess!

  18. This makes me regret even more that we didn’t have a chance to chat at the #BloggersBash. I’ve read this piece, and the linked posts re your Item #7. I didn’t realise, but we share a common experience – there are so many parallels. I think reading about experiences such as yours should be part of the national curriculum, so that when anyone has the misfortune to encounter a man like your ‘A’ (or my ‘M’), they recognise instantly what’s going on, and they run, fast, in the opposite direction.

    As for regrets, your reflections are very interesting – I don’t think I got to that level of analysis until my 40’s. But many of these, as well as being regrets, are opportunities – the chance to take what you’ve learned and go forward differently, and more self-aware.

    • I’m so sorry you had to experience that Jools. As a former teacher I totally agree – I had no understanding of narcissism and sociopathic traits until I ended up becoming involved with one, and it almost destroyed me. During PSHE type lessons, I used to teach ideas of self respect and expectations, but there was never anything that prepared students for dealing with unhealthy romantic relationships.

  19. I can relate to you absolutely on all points. Although I didn’t date a sociopath, I had wasted 8 years of my 20s in a relationship with a man who was seeing many women behind my back, and 3 years of my mid-30s in a long distance relationship that ended so suddenly 2 years ago. So, finally, I’m 39, turning 40 this year, still single, a little bruised from past relationship hurts and have a few regrets but I feel independent, grateful for being alive and healthy, and appreciating people who care for and love me. And just like what you said, if I hadn’t experienced all of that, I wouldn’t be where I am now. Thanks for sharing, Suzie ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great weekend!

    Cheers,
    Kat

  20. Loved this Suzie and think I’ll probably reblog it after I’ve posted my Palm Beach photos. No regrets there. Thrilled with those sunset images!
    One thing that has intrigued me was that I was born with hydrocephalus or fluid on the brain, which wasn’t picked up until I was 25. There were a few times growing up when it was almost picked up but wasn’t and I have wondered how different my life would have been had we known.
    I traveled a bit when I was younger and usually on my own. INitially, going to places in Australia but in 1992 my parents gave me a return ticket to Europe and I was away for around 8 months. In retrospect, things were unraveling a bit for me then and I found traveling around Europe much more scary and intimidating that traveling in Australia. Moreover, within the first week, I’d had my wallet stolen and had lost my passport. All those things that go wrong, seemed to magnify being so far away from home and back then there was no email, internet or skype. Just a very expensive telephone which devoured your money like a starving dog.
    I’m sure I would’ve been much more sheltered if we’d known and no doubt would not have gone on that holiday or on my other trips. All those “what ifs” would have stopped me.
    I would strongly recommend traveled before people have kids and get a mortgage and Ross’s idea of saving 10% of your wage, sounds great. I blew way too much of my money on clothes back in the day xx Rowena

    • I totally agree, and I’m really sorry you had to experience all that! It’s the worst thing when you’re abroad and something bad happens… I think you’re totally right about what the what if’s would have done if you had know…

  21. Really good stuff here Suzie. I’ve loved pleasing people all my life but I did come to realise when my dad and I fell out big time in my 20s that that was fine, just as long as I didn’t care if they were actually pleased. My mantra became, it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to’ by which I meant I’ll provide the fun but if people don’t want it their loss. Now if I stand up and people laugh, great: if they don’t then they’re a humourless bunch of a**holes. I stopped both regrets and guilt then (I still feel guilty, but I don’t let it change me more than a little). Go and enjoy yourself.

    • I think that’s a brilliant attitude to have… The urge to please others and to be liked hampered so much of what I used to do. Now, I’m still uncomfortable with it if Ive upset someone, but if they don’t accept my apology then I just get rid…

      • I think I learnt a lesson when flat sharing. I’m an odd male in that I hate dirty kitchen floors. Ditto bathrooms. Students don’t much care. I realised very quickly that the idea of a rota was pointless and getting upset when they failed to join me in my neurosis got me nowhere. So I just cleaned the floors. And smiled. And if people said I made then guilty I told them not to be because it was my problem this urge to clean, not theirs for being normal. Apply that to pleasing people… I do it for me not them and then their reaction isn’t relevant. It’s nice if they are happy but if they don’t respond well, they didn’t ask me to go off and please them so why should they?

  22. An interesting and realisitc post! So many people say the “I regret nothing blah blah blah, everything that happened led me to where I am today blah blah blah..” But the reality is we all have regrets! I given it all to do over again there are lots of things we’d change – even if they aren’t the big things. I have plenbty of regrets myself, they come with hindsight, now I’m an adult, I see the choices I should have made. But heigh-ho, like you say, maybe they’re more life lessons to help us as we move forwards.
    Great post and thanks for the #sundayblogshare!! It’s getting stronger and stronger ๐Ÿ™‚
    Bobbyanne
    xxxxx
    PromisingBeauty.blogspot

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