“A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.” – John Barrymore. Regrets are a part of life, but they don’t have to be a major part of it. Sometimes, doing certain things affects you in a way that you won’t consciously realize. Especially with the items that have an effect on the way others see you. If you knew what your boss thought of your political rant, you’d possibly regret it! Look over this list and try and avoid situations where regrets might be the only conclusion.
If you have taken jobs for money and you felt unhappy, ending up getting fired or quitting, you may not have realized the feeling of regret. I mean, who doesn’t like money? But, the effect of jobs that aren’t right, that don’t motivate you and that don’t teach you anything are missed opportunities. Do what you love and don’t feel guilty about it. The money will follow.
Whether it’s to learn something about your career field or an opportunity to learn anything, you should take it. Barring things that literally kill you, experience is what life is all about.
I’ve learned to quell the desire to return fire in an electronic form of communication. Something about accessibility and the ability to quickly communicate makes us think we should act…without thinking. At times, I’ve sent things in anger that I didn’t mean because I misinterpreted the situation. Plain and simple, let your emotions settle and take the soot to compose a thought-out letter after the initial anger subsides.
If you honestly don’t feel guilty or ashamed after cheating on your partner then you’re possible a sociopath. If a relationship isn’t working out, have the intestinal fortitude to admit it. Life goes by rapidly, but never so fast that you don’t have time to decide which lover you want to be with at any one moment. If you’re drunk at a bar or horny on a cruise, follow the same advice as emailing angry–and wait. Hurting other people selfishly is one of the biggest reasons to feel guilty. If you are moving on from one relationship with a person you met through cheating, will you truly trust that person not to cheat on you?
One of my coworkers used to joke about putting in his resignation by putting a pile of poop in an expensive store product. We would laugh and commiserate, but no one ever expected he would do it–and he never did. When you work for someone or some place, you have a responsibility to act as a professional. Even if your boss is the world’s biggest jerk, you don’t fix another person’s attitude by acting like a bigger ass. So, if you feel like you need to “settle the score,” when leaving a job, think over what you’re most upset about. Write it out in a nasty letter, but don’t send it! Wait a day or two. If you still feel the need to confront a former employer, do so with tact and without emotion.
Author Russell Blake recently published a rant about running into a friend who acknowledged Blake’s career as a writer by saying he wanted to write a book too, but didn’t have the time. I loved this post because it proved to me once again that doing what one loves–especially when it’s in the arts–is not about a hobby. Passions are nature’s way of encouraging us silly humans. While your passion may be medicine or law, others thrive on painting or writing. The work one must put into a passion means time. If you put off the things you feel most strongly about, you will regret it. You won’t find time to start a poem let alone a book if you wait until the kids are grown or you can retire. Same thing for playing an instrument or learning to paint. Invest the time when the passion strikes.
Maybe you don’t see eye-to-eye with your dad, and maybe your dog really is your best friend, but I guarantee that you will feel more stressed and less productive when you don’t spend enough time with those you love. Don’t push too hard to impress the boss and get a promotion at the expense of a yearly family vacation. Kids want more than anything to spend time with their parents, so I promise you they will be more impressed with a weekend camping trip than with an expensive token.
Look around the office. If you know you aren’t moving up unless someone dies, then maybe you should look for a job where you can prove yourself and be rewarded for your contributions. Money is important when it comes to paying the mortgage and keeping food on the table, but life is too short to waste it chasing the almighty dollar. If you work to live, you’ve got it backwards and you should think about how you can make a living pursuing things that mean more to you. Your spirit will thank you for it even if you have moments where dinner has to be charged to a credit card.
Just like staying in a dead-end job because you fear unemployment or think you cannot survive without another paycheck, when fear guides your decisions you make mistakes. You do things out of fear–or rather you don’t do things because of fear. Many of the items on this list play into the idea of taking calculated risks and making the most of every day.
Though life often “gets in the way,” remember that LIFE is what you make of it. Often, people drop out of school and think they can always go back later. This isn’t always the case and if you are pursuing a dream that requires a formal education (like being a doctor or nurse), then try not to give it up. If you need to take a leave of absense for personal reasons, do so, but try and get back at it.
As with making sure you spend enough time with those you love, making sure you are open and honest with your feelings is just as important. Holding hurt feelings back often leads to resentment, which can lead to infidelity in a marriage. Worse yet is when we race through life too busy to say “I love you,” and the unthinkable happens. It takes mere seconds to hug and kiss your loved ones so do it often and don’t hold back when you feel an emotion–unless it’s anger, in which case you should calm down and communicate rationally to move forward.
Okay, I admit this is another of those that you may not experience regret from every time. If you choose to move on from a stagnant or negative relationship, that is different than forgetting to invest the time to be a friend to keep a friend. It’s not always about what you want to talk about; call a friend and make sure he or she doesn’t need an ear.
This one probably hits close to home for most parents–at least, it does for me. I’m guilty of letting the stress get to me and yelling at the kids. In my defense, they seem to purposefully infuriate me. The way my 3-year-old stares me down–understanding exactly what I am saying not to do, and then doing it–ruffles my feathers in unimaginable ways. I’ve never hit either of my kids (my youngest is now 18 months old), but I feel guilty every time I yell at them because I know that yelling doesn’t accomplish anything. Other than to scare them into wandering into traffic, yelling just makes stress worse.
Eh, you won’t regret stress eating every time, and sometimes comfort food is a good way to indulge in life’s finer things. But, the truth is that stress eating in and of itself is unhealthy because the act of fulfilling a nutritional need with junk food is like a junkie using drugs. Make conscious choices to indulge in fine chocolate or calorie laden dessert every once in a while and don’t let stress be your guide.
This should go without saying, but obviously many of us post drunk. We shouldn’t. Just like with holding emotions until we can “see clearly,” holding off on saying anything social can wait until we’re sober.
This is again one of those things that you may not consciously realize you regret, but your over-the-top political posts and rants about how much you hate your service providers causes others to perceive you in ways you’d regret if you knew better. Just because a status or profile is set to “private” doesn’t guarantee the wrong person won’t see it. Rant with caution because even if you don’t immediately see the error of your ways, you will with enough distance. Some things simply aren’t worth it.
When you betray your friends’ trust you prove yourself to be an unworthy friend. Even if the person isn’t someone you’d classify as a “friend,” betraying confidence will only make others perceive you as a gossip at best.
Just like when you take a job for money or stay in a dead-end job out of fear, when you succumb to peer pressure you project an image of being a follower. You want to be a brave leader in life. Taking calculated risks and losing is better than always agreeing to do what everyone else is doing just because that may be easier.
A huge, fat line of difference exists between constructive criticism and belittling. Most of us know what it feels like to be wrongly judged too quickly, but we should all appreciate the opportunity to grow from feedback. When you belittle someone, you will regret it because belittling others makes you nothing more than a bully.
Ha ha, I’m kidding, not belittling Nickelback’s music. The controversy and “peer pressure” to hate something is a perfect point that supports many of the things on my list. Before you decide to join your friends in a laugh at the expense of any artist or individual, take the time to make your own decision. Nickelback isn’t so bad. Overrated by some and bashed brutally by others, but as with anything in life, you’ll regret what you do without thinking first.
Featured photo credit: morguefile via mrg.bz
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