People like to say/boast that they don’t have any regrets because “otherwise I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Well, I call bullshit.
Not to say I’m not pretty content with where I’m at, but when I look back, I still wish I would’ve made some different choices.
I wish I’d practiced piano more and stuck with it.
I have practically no musical ability whatsoever, but I started taking piano lessons when I was about seven or eight and kept up with them until high school. And I really, really wish I’d listened to my mom when she told me to practice. The thing is, I only *really* enjoyed playing the piano when I could play a piece well, all the way through with just a few minor mistakes, if any.
Unfortunately, once you get beyond Chopsticks, and you’re not, you know, Mozart, doing that takes…practice.
(It’s actually a thing with me. As a kid, enough things came easy enough to me that when I came up against something that took real work, and making mistakes, to master, I would get frustrated quick and give up.)
So now, my piano skills are nil and I’m more than a little jealous when I watch someone play.
I wish I’d gotten involved with more stuff in college.
I so desperately wish I’d stuck with rugby (my ankle disagrees, though) or joined the triathlon club when I was a freshman or joined some other club or organization that would’ve broadened my social circle and filled my time with something other than drinking and studying and “hanging out.” I loved my college experience and don’t think for a second I wasted it, but when I look back at the opportunities I had — and the time and freedom I had to do them! — I wish I’d done more.
I wish I started blogging earlier/kept with it after my first try.
Did you know I had a blog for a little over a year back in 2009 or so? It was awful. I had no idea what my “voice” was and most of my posts were imitating other bloggers who I looked up, but I used words like “lovely” and pretended to like fall. WTF, right?
But I look every successful blogger/online writer now and every single one of them says, “I’m successful because I’ve been doing this for at least five years and have had the patience and discipline to work hard and figure it out etc etc etc…”
And I see bloggers who are in the early 20s who are so far “ahead” of me and tell myself not to compare myself to them because yes, I’m 28 and they’re 23 (or even younger) but they’ve been doing this since they were 18. If I’d started earlier, I’d be “ahead” now. Damn.
I wish I’d owned up to my little accident in the school parking lot when I was 16.
Because that was pretty much the biggest trouble I ever got into with my parents (I was a really good kid by most standards) and I still cringe when I think about it.
I wish I’d trained harder in the offseasons in high school.
Running was one of those things that kind of came easy to me, and therefore, I didn’t bother much with “training” in the winter between cross-country and track or in the summer.
I take that back. Freshman year, another girl’s dad informally coached me and a couple teammates over the winter. And you know what? My mile PR — 5:40 — was set my freshman year. No matter how hard I worked (during track season only, of course), I never came close to that in the next three years.
I wish I’d explored career options with non-profits.
I think, back in college, if I thought about working for non-profits at all, I assumed they just offered shit pay and not much else, at least for writing. Now, I’m loving working with my non-profit client and kinda wish I’d at least spoken to some counselors or professors about going that route. Maybe I would’ve found that “steady desk job” that actually made me happy.
Maybe if I’d done any or all of these things, I’d still here — freelancing in San Diego with my husband and Onyx — or maybe I’d be somewhere completely different. I’m sure if I was “there,” though, I’d have other regrets. Which makes my head explode a little.
What do you wish you had done differently?