Alternatively titled, why the idea of having “no regrets” is stupid
Public Service Announcement: My apologies to those people who claim to live with no regrets for this post.
Regrets are like pimples- we all have had them (if you haven’t, I hate you), we all pretend they don’t exist, but they make us who we are today.
In my humble opinion, cliches such as “never regret anything that once made you smile” and “live with no regrets” are bull. It’s just another thing shoved down the throats of all twenty-somethings that make us feel guilty for regretting things. I consider myself Wonder Woman, here to save us all from this fallacy. So, say it with me now, “it’s okay to have regrets”. For those in the back, I repeat it’s okay to have regrets.
Sometimes, I can be a shitty person. I’ve done things in the past that I regret, mostly because they were shitty or stupid. However, if I pretend that I have no regrets that makes me even shittier. My regrets are acknowledgements that I’m not always the smartest, funniest or nicest person in the room (and boy is that hard to admit because I’m hilarious AND cute AND humble AND the sweetest person that you’ll ever meet obviously). I refuse to live the “no regrets” lifestyle- my regrets and mistakes have led me to the person I am today. I use them as reminders of who I once was, who I want to be, and who I never want to be again. In honour of having regrets, here is a collection of mine.
- I regret not blackmailing my parents into letting me have a puppy or a pony.
- I regret not saying I love you more.
- I regret getting bangs. I regret letting anyone convince me that they would look so cute.
- I regret not calling more.
- I regret sending that (slightly intoxicated) confession. I regret the second one too. I might regret the next one too (apparently this is the one I can’t learn to stop).
- I regret not telling you how I feel in person and asking if you felt the same.
- I regret eating that
- I regret letting boys get in the way of friendships.
- I regret taking the tag of those pants before trying them on (and equally regret buying them).
- I regret letting people make me feel unworthy or inferior.
- I regret half of the boys I’ve dated (sorry man).
- I regret moving away and letting it break us apart.
- I regret wearing those pointy toe shoes that hurt my feet.
- I regret hurting you.
- I regret writing such a long list of regrets.
Part of being human is making mistakes. It’s foolish to say that you live life with no regrets. You can live your life trying not to create any more regrets, but if they happen don’t kill yourself for having them.
Here is my (unsolicited) advice to you:
- Accept and take ownership of your regrets. They’re like battle wounds. They make you who you are.
- Regrets are just lessons.
- While it’s okay to have regrets, it’s not okay to dwell on them forever. They define who you are because they helped make you who they are, but they aren’t your only definition.
- Don’t repeat regrets. If you regret not telling someone you love them, make sure you always let people know that you care about them. If you regret not calling someone, call them more. If you regret getting that tramp stamp tattoo don’t get another one.
I recently read a quote by author Ellen Hopkins that sums this up better than I can. In her book Triangles, she says ““Regrets are like molecules. We’re all made up of a lot of them. They are elemental. Building blocks. The foundations of memory. You can dawdle in the past, allow it to shadow you, or you can walk forward into the light of tomorrow.But you can’t altogether disregard what has already been- byways chosen, detours taken.”
Ps. Feel free to leave your regrets in the comments and explain what you learned from them.
Pps. While it’s probably too late for me to take back any of those regrets, just know that I do sincerely regret them and will forever be sorry.