"Brooke, you're smart and well-spoken and I'm not really worried about you getting a job after college," my mother assured me one Sunday afternoon. I had just expressed to her my regret for not applying to an internship or landing a job somewhat related to my a career related to writing. I admit, I wasn't really listening to her. I was gloomy sitting on a couch, staring at my computer screen at my emails.
I know for a fact I have not be the only person to regret not doing something. The main reason I know this is because everyone carries around some sort of regret with them, which can feel like a heavy backpack with no shoulder pads in the straps.
I want to live more courageously, healthily, and more hopefully. Therefore, I looked to the people who know the most about living for advice - older people who have lived long lives.
Although I waded through a lot of regrets on the internet, I picked out my favorites below. Below are the top 10 regrets you have, but don't want to:
1. I wish I had been more honest with myself
Whether it is about deciding that I would like to re-gift that candle Grandma got me or letting out my pent-up anger in healthy ways (like journalling or screaming into my pillow) - it's all about being honest.
If I'm not honest with myself, then I'm just avoiding the real problems and guess what? They never really go away. They'll just get bigger (like that spot of mold on your loaf of bread) until you face the truth (just throw out the bread, honey).
2. I wish I had taken care of myself more
Ah, the good ole "self-care" idea. I completely agree, though. I wish I had taken care of my body more in the past. For example, I would often stay up reading past 2AM just for fun... but my body didn't think it was fun the next school day when I was so groggy that I did not pay attention in my AP classes.
But it could go beyond just establishing a healthy sleeping schedule. This regret also covers the arena of setting up good personal boundaries for alone time, or fun time outside of the house with comedic friends.
3. I wish I had told __________ how I actually felt
When I read this regret, I laughed out loud. At first, I only thought this could apply to hidden, romantic longings to be with someone else. However, this regret could be about telling a family member how they have hurt you, or a teacher how much they impacted your life and future career. This is a pretty deep regret, when you think about it.
4. I wish I had worked less
This regret is contingent. I imagine a workaholic wrote this one. Sometimes, you just have to work because you have to get food on the table for yourselves, that puppy you adopted from the Humane Society, and your rowdy kids and spouse. But if you feel as if you can take a break from work (a half-day, a vacation, etc.) in order to get that much needed R&R, then by all means, take a breather. Don't work yourself to death all for a paycheck.
5. I wish I had cared less about what other people thought of me
I care what people think about me a lot. One of my friends advised me to be more careful while walking around campus by taking out my earbuds. One, the campus is not a dangerous location during the daytime, which is when I walk those concrete sidewalks.
Two, music and talks are the way I get motivated, stay energized, have fun, and learn something new. I regret the month of silence I endured by listening to my friend.
Don't worry, I'm back to listening to what I want when I walk, now, and it's a glorious feeling. (But I also make sure to be more aware of my surroundings, because I know my friend makes a good point about safety concerns.)
6. I wish I had lived more in the moment
My mom's motto is "Be where your feet are."
That's an especially hard feat for me to accomplish when, being an avid reader and story-lover, I've trained my mind to be able to imagine me anywhere BUT where I am. Needless to say, I can live in the moment, but I can also space out quite easily. I'm working on this problem currently because I don't want more movie nights where my living room is full of friends and I'm thinking about the loneliness post-college life might bring me when I move home.
7. I wish I hadn't worried so much
As the article titled "What Do People Regret the Most Before They Die?" stated eloquently,
If you've ever kept a diary and looked back, you'll probably wonder why you ever got so worked up over X.
Please check out the full article though, since all of my favorite regrets are from this source (and there are more you probably will identify with).
8. I wish I'd done more for other people
I have nothing to elaborate on with this one. I just wish I was more loving in general.
9. I wish I hadn't taken myself so seriously
I remember vividly not hanging out with friends in high school sometimes because I was dead-set on finishing a 200 page novel I was writing about a high school drama. I also remember vividly getting worked up about how perfect I wanted the Jack Frost 5K Marathon I was organizing to go. My goodness, both of those activities were important, but I didn't need to be so frowny face serious about getting it all right.
10. I wish I had been more faithful
You won't find this on the website that inspired most of this article. I personally wish I was more faithful. God is faithful in making sure the Earth keeps spinning in its orbit around the sun everyday. God is faithful in giving me what I need - not what I want. God is faithful in forgiving me and showing me how much He loves me, no matter how much I despise being obedient and hopeful in Him at the moment. It actually astonishes me how faithless I allow myself to be sometimes. I'm currently (and will forever be) working hard to make being faithful a more steady part of my life.
So there you have it.
I just listed out some big ole top 10 regrets I think we all have. Was I right? Was I wrong? Did you enjoy my commentary about them? Let me know what you think and I hope you can avoid these regrets by being your authentic selves, being a little bolder, and being a little more disciplined when chasing after your aspirations.