“Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption”
So I read this blog which compiled a list of the top 37 things you may regret when you are older. Which got me thinking ~ now I’m reaching 50 are any of these regrets relatable to my life. Also, do I have different regrets not in this list? I decided to go through it and see whether it triggered any regret or not, and think if I have other regrets instead.
1. Not traveling when you had the chance.
Thankfully throughout my childhood my parents enjoyed taking us away on holidays abroad and we saw sights that still are crystal clear in my memory. We visited Rome and all of the sights which was amazing. Pompeii, Paris ~ including a trip up the Eiffel Tower, Pisa, Malta and many holidays in Spain and the South of France.
Mum being a school teacher often encouraged us to make scrap books as we travelled and I have a beautiful charm bracelet with charms from all the places we visited. I also clearly remember mum telling us to look around us as dad drove, to note how different the houses and villages were from our village back in Lincolnshire. So as dutiful children we all looked around us at the gorgeous quaint houses and the beautiful scenery ~ as we did a man opened his shutters, stark bollock naked with all his genitalia framed really quite remarkably by the shutters and morning sun. Fascinated our heads turned to watch as we drove past and out of that village. Mum didn’t remind us to absorb and remember the sights again after that.
Once married we visited different Greek Islands, Portugal, New York, Nashville, Kentucky and the fabulous Jack Daniels Distillery. Getting the VIP tour of Graceland in Memphis and staying in Heartbreak Hotel. Plus visits to Chamonix and surrounding areas via Switzerland, as my sister lives there.
I would support and encourage my daughters to travel as and when they can too. Live life minute by minute, consider every opportunity and take everything in that they can on the way.
2. Not learning another language.
This one I don’t really get. I took Latin and French at school and managed to gain the much admired unclassified grade at the end of three years! I truly believe that some people’s brains just aren’t wired to learn languages. I honestly have tried and find speaking English a challenge most days ~ let alone another language. My brother on the other hand was able to learn many languages and seemed a natural at being able to take on any given language and master it. My sister speaks fluent French as she lives in France and teaches in a school in Geneva. I think I missed out on the language gene in my family and have to rely on charades when abroad or using one of those handy little phrase books with the phonetic pronunciation for me to mangle.
My daughters aren’t great with languages either ~ however if your job involves overseas travel and speaking another language ~ and you can’t, despite trying ~ surely if you are good at your job a interpreter will be provided for you?
3. Staying in a bad relationship.
Thankfully I have not been in that situation, I haven’t been in many relationships ~ I can count them on one hand. The relationships I ended or had ended by the other party were never really acrimonious as they were in my teens and part of growing up. As I entered my twenties I started my relationship with Dave and never looked back.
However, the girls have been unfortunate enough to have experienced bad relationships and they have been grounds for a steep learning curve for them. Hopefully they now can see the warnings signs in potential bad partner choices before it’s too late and recognise the ones who are a good bet.
I would support and help anyone who is unfortunate enough to find themselves in a bad relationship. Yet also know, that you can’t help someone until they are ready to accept the help, so sometimes you have to just be there and bite your tongue until that time arrives.
4. Forgoing sunscreen.
“Wrinkles, moles, and skin cancer can largely be avoided if you protect yourself.” Hands up back in the day I used to sunbathe using Brylcreem, because it smelt nice and was moisturising. My other choice was the dreadful very low factor Hawaiian Tropic Oil, which whenever I smell it on others immediately makes me think of summer and beaches.
Now, being a mother, I am far more sensible and always lathered the girls up in high factor sun~cream, topping it up regularly. You could spot my children in the pool because they were the ones leaving an oil slick in their wake in the water! As adults now they know the importance of sun~cream and regularly checking for any moles or changes to existing moles.
5. Missing the chance to see your favorite musicians.
I never really bothered about going to see bands live. I remember seeing Prince on his Purple Rain tour and he was A~M~A~Z~I~N~G. I’ve seen Kylie on her Showgirl Tour as it was a birthday present for my eldest at the time. Other bands were Stereophonics and Deep Purple. BUT the BEST concerts I have had the pleasure to attend were both presents from Dave and were to see Tom Jones and Barry Manilow ~ seriously they were both awesome gigs and I had an amazing time. Dave did too, although he may not admit it. So I have no regrets on that front. Being of a certain age I’m perfectly happy sitting in comfort and enjoying the music via spotify instead.
I think bands are more accessible these days and the girls have seen a fair few at Rock City in Nottingham and also at Festivals.
6. Being scared to do things.
“Looking back you’ll think, What was I so afraid of, comfort zone?” I can’t do Karaoke because of my fear of singing in public, I am tone deaf and literally just squark horrendously. I make do singing in my car instead. I suppose anything that involves getting up in front of other people and having all eyes on me is my biggest fear and avoided at all costs. I never worked behind a bar because I felt trapped but loved waitressing oddly.
Nursing was scary initially, having someone totally rely on you to care for them. However the fear turned into fascination and a desire to learn resulting in my qualification at the end of 3 and a half years. I wish I had taken the steps to specialise as I always wanted to be a stoma nurse having cared for my grandmother and her stoma in my teens until her death. So that is a definite high ranking regret for me.
I would encourage my girls to take chances and try out new things and go for their dreams, no matter how distant they may seem. Nothing is impossible if you want it enough. My motto is “Don’t look back and think what if?”
7. Failing to make physical fitness a priority.
In my youth I was very fit, I attended ballet classes, swam, participated in synchronised swimming, trampolining, tennis, badminton and horse riding. I continued to be physically fit until about 7 years ago.
As an adult and mother I continued to play tennis in a squad, plus walked miles every day and loved to swim. I encouraged my daughters to do the same too. However, chronic illness struck which took away my ability to exercise and now I am on a mission to gradually improve my fitness if that is possible without causing negative backlash to my health.
Currently I am not able to walk further than the end of my drive or very short walk from car to restaurant. My plan is to walk around my garden, then down the road and build up very slowly bit by bit.
Health and fitness is massively important and the girls face their own issues and challenges but despite that they continue to try and improve their situation continually. Tara has taken to pole dancing to try and strengthen her core ~ it is very intermittent due to health issues though.
If you are fit and healthy do all you can to maintain it. Sadly we aren’t fortunate enough to be in control of our fitness but you may be.
8. Letting yourself be defined by gender roles.
“Few things are as sad as an old person saying, “Well, it just wasn’t done back then.”” I have to admit to falling prey to this, having been sent to a really old fashioned all girls boarding school. My parents had set gender roles within the family setting, except mum didn’t cook, she alleged she could burn water. Now I am older I am giving zero fucks and do what I want.
My daughters are raised to do whatever they wish and are not defined by gender and traditional roles at all. I think the younger generation are far more inclusive and understanding of different genders identities and sexuality which is awesome.
9. Not quitting a terrible job.
Nope, I’ve not fallen into this category. I have had many jobs and never stayed if it didn’t suit me. So can confidently say this does not relate to me.
My girls have had jobs which we have advised them to leave even though they were prepared to stick it out. If you aren’t being appreciated in the workplace or are being taken advantage of and the situation can’t be resolved then you need to walk.
10. Not trying harder in school.
I can see the reasoning in this yet for us as a family it is not necessarily true. I pissed about in school, was expelled from my all girls boarding school and did nothing at all in the two years I was at the mixed grammar school, resulting in no qualifications. I then went to night school and gained a bucketful of O’levels and qualifications in typing. Worked for almost 4 years for a publishing company then went on to train as a registered general nurse. After nursing I worked for Dave in his pest control business running the office and now work from home for him from time to time. So my lack of education hasn’t been an issue for me personally.
My daughters missed education entirely due to severe chronic illness and that hasn’t hindered them in anyway whatsoever either. First born is now in Uni after completing a foundation year, second born is a fully fledged piercer, ready to set up her own business and very artistic so may also pursue art therapist qualification in the future and finally my baby girl is doing a fabulous course in beauty, preparing her to set up her own business.
If you are tenacious and personable you can turn your hand to almost anything. However i recognise qualifications are necessary for careers as doctors and such like but otherwise follow your bliss.
11. Not realizing how beautiful you were.
“Too many of us spend our youth unhappy with the way we look, but the reality is, that’s when we’re our most beautiful.” GUILTY ~ I was always feeling too fat, too tall, too masculine, too ugly. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self to revel in the me that I was and wear whatever I wanted to wear. Now I have a weight issue due to medications for my illnesses and look back thinking why the fuck didn’t I enjoy that time in my life when I could have worn anything and fitted into it.
I try and tell my daughters to own their bodies, to love them, to nurture them and to enjoy the body they have. Nobody is perfect, no~one is 100% satisfied with their body ~ just be happy with the one you have. Don’t let others define you, don’t be taken in by models and media images of what women should look like. More still needs to be done especially for the younger generation to tell them that you can be any size and any shape, so long as you look after your health then go for it. Beauty is the person inside not the body you wear, walk with confidence. Confidence in self and a good nature equals beauty in my book.
12. Being afraid to say “I love you.”
“When you’re old, you won’t care if your love wasn’t returned — only that you made it known how you felt.” Hand on heart I never held back, if I loved someone the person I loved knew it. I say it with abandon ~ I encourage my girls to do so too.
You have only one life, love fiercely and when it’s not reciprocated move on to find someone who will love you back.
13. Not listening to your parents’ advice.
Not quite sure what I think about this one ~ sometimes my parents advice was just wrong ~ but that’s not their fault, they honestly believed in the advice they gave. However, they did sometimes surprise me and give good sound advice. Sometimes I listened and sometimes I didn’t.
I believe sometimes you have to learn by your mistakes and if you took all the good advice you may not have made the ones that taught you the most. Plus my parents were a little off the wall, I mean they had imaginary friends and liked to party hard, so sometimes the advice was alcohol fuelled and possibly not the soundest.
I give my girls advice, I tell them to listen, digest and only take it if they believe it to be true for them. If they disagree they then formulate their own opinion of what to do, whether right or wrong. It’s hard for me, being a control freak, when they don’t listen to my advice and go forward to do something entirely differently. I know I have to hold back more and not go on and on to do what I say (not easy) so that they can learn the lessons they need themselves.
Actually thinking about it, they are all pretty wise for their years though and sometimes I actually take advice from them!
14. Spending your youth self-absorbed.
I think we would all be lying if we said we weren’t a little self absorbed as teens. Lets face it we had to contend with changing bodies, body hair, body odours and raging hormones ~ it’s part of coming of age and I wouldn’t change that one bit. I remember lying in my bedroom with sad records playing sobbing because things weren’t going my way.
HOWEVER, if by self absorbed you mean horribly vain, looking in every mirror and shop window you pass. With everything is all about you with no room for anyone else, then yes ~ give that kid a kick up the arse and a reality check.
15. Caring too much about what other people think.
“In 20 years you won’t give a darn about any of those people you once worried so much about.” This is so so true! I worried myself rigid about what others thought of me, how they perceived what I did or said. To be honest they probably didn’t give a rats arse what I was up to and most likely it was all a fabrication of my mind. With every passing year I give fewer fucks, I share everything publically in my blog ~ I have little shame. I wish I had been like this when I was younger, it would have saved my an awful lot of angst and heartache.
My daughters are learning to not care as much but it is so very hard, it’s only natural to want to be liked and approved of. I think it’s just one of those things that come with age sadly, the closer you get to old age the more you want to live in the now to hell what other folk think.
16. Supporting others’ dreams over your own.
“Supporting others is a beautiful thing, but not when it means you never get to shine.” My girls are incredibly supportive of others and at times I have to pull them up and say hang on ~ what about you? The me of the past was terrible for doing anything I could to support others to the detriment of myself.
Again I think it’s passing of time, age and wisdom that brings the knowledge and awareness of when you need to step back and focus on yourself. As parents I feel it’s our duty to ensure our girls follow their dreams and support them fully on their journey towards it and keep it focused on their minds if they get waylaid by others.
17. Not moving on fast enough.
“Old people look back at the long periods spent picking themselves off the ground as nothing but wasted time.” I agree and disagree with this ~ sometimes in times of grief and loss you can’t rush the process in order to address how it has affected you and the change it brings. It has taken me years to come to terms with mums death and even now I have moments where I wobble.
If it’s not related to grief but something you have not succeeded in, be it a project, work or relationship then yes, give yourself a time limit to wallow then pick yourself up and move on.
18. Holding grudges, especially with those you love.
I don’t hold grudges. I get mad, I rant and rave, I moan for a while and then it’s done and over. If someone does or says something unforgivable without remorse then after much chuntering I then cut them out of my life and move on. Anger just makes you bitter and that can be really unattractive.
If you love someone and they do something then you talk about it and forgive each other and move on. I’ve known my husband for almost all my life ~ we have fought, bickered, nearly split up and had massive differences of opinion at times. This didn’t mean we held grudges, we wouldn’t still be together if we did. If you value and love someone you can always compromise or make peace with them.
Grudges are just a waste of energy and emotion. “Old people don’t take sh*t from anyone. Neither should you.” I couldn’t agree more!
20. Not volunteering enough.
Volunteering can be in many different forms, from making food for the homeless to going abroad and giving your time to helping others. Do what you can within your capabilities would be my advice.
My girls are fabulous and know this ~ my eldest volunteers for the Red Cross and is undergoing training to help refugees fill in forms and applications necessary for them to access support and help. Prior to that she worked in a charity shop as a volunteer. My other two do smaller things as they have chronic health issues which affect their physical capabilities. Basically ~ any random act of kindness to help others is great in my book and if you have the ability to do more then all power to you.
21. Neglecting your teeth.
I have never neglected my teeth ~ always having regular dental checks and follow good oral hygiene. Especially having TMJ and needing to wear a mouth guard at night made me very conscious of my teeth and not wanting to grind them down. Yet I have managed to give myself receding gums due to brushing too hard during pregnancy ~ no one told me this was a risk and to get an electric toothbrush and apply no pressure. Saying that ~ my last dental examination proved me to have good strong teeth despite my grinding, clenching and receding gums.
I remember vividly dentists coming into my primary school with those tablets that stain your teeth to show you where the dirt was and then how to clean your teeth to effectively remove it ~ that has stuck with me all these years and hope it is something that still goes on in schools today.
22. Missing the chance to ask your grandparents questions before they die.
I never knew my maternal granddad as he died when my mum was 15. My maternal grandmother lived with us and so I knew an awful lot about her and had many lively conversations learning about her life and family. Sadly there are no living relatives left on mums side. I knew my paternal grandparents as I often stayed with them for weekends during term time when at boarding school as they lived nearby. So am happy that where I could I had the opportunity to talk to them and learn from them.
My daughter had a very close and special relationship with my parents and their grandad on their dads side, unfortunately Daves mum died before we were married so the girls had no opportunity to speak to her. Mum told the girls many stories and Dad regaled them with stories of his life and upbringing. Daves dad also has a close bond with the girls and has told them about his farming days.
I hope that my grandchildren, should I be fortunate enough to have any, will be as close as I was with my grandparents and the girls are with theirs. That they are inquisitive and questioning so that I can regale them with all the stories I have been told by my own grandparents and pass it down to them, along with the story of my life with my family too.
23. Working too much.
In the past I worked long hours and lots of overtime. In the early years it was necessary in order to become financially able to purchase a home, car and pay the bills. Now we are older we are actively trying to find a good work, life balance and hope to be able to reduce the workload with the passing years.
Nothing is worth working all the time ~ life needs to be lived and enjoyed.
24. Not learning how to cook one awesome meal.
This made me chuckle ~ as a rule my mum really couldn’t cook but had mastered a mean lasagne, creme brulee and was a great baker making some mouthwatering cakes. I believe had she wanted to she could have done more but dad is a great cook so he picked up the slack and made the main courses and mum made the puds. The perfect compromise.
Within our marriage I think both myself and Dave are equally matched in the kitchen. We each have our specialities. The girls were taught to cook from early teens and now all three are pretty good in the kitchen, although not so great with the washing up!
25. Not stopping enough to appreciate the moment.
I think having worked from early teens in nursing homes and laying out my first ever dead body at the tender age of 14 that I appreciated the importance of savouring the moment. During my teens and later my nursing years I spent many hours talking to the elderly and learning about their lives and that really fascinated me and had a huge impact. I have always, I think, appreciated the moment. Grief, loss and changes in circumstance can be a massive eye opener and make you realise how lucky you really are in the grand scheme of things. Stop, breathe, take a moment, appreciate and move on richer for it.
26. Failing to finish what you start.
Mostly I finish what I start although am also guilty for not finishing things. Usually because life and circumstances get in the way. My big dream of being a nurse was halted when my grandma became sick, I gave up my place and nursed her until her death then signed up for a course which second time around I completed.
Sometimes projects aren’t meant to be finish, sometimes by failing to complete them you take away a lesson that you otherwise wouldn’t have had.
I think I would change this to don’t walk away from something you strongly desire to do, in that case keep trying. Maybe initially the time won’t be right, like nursing for me, but if you keep the desire to do it fresh then reapply again and again until the time is right and you can see it through.
27. Never mastering one awesome party trick.
Hmm ~ this could be tricky one ~ I had a trick that when off my tits I could do a full choreographed routine to “Young Guns” by Wham ~ however when sober had no recollection of what I had done or what the routine was. I could put my legs behind my head too and I can speak incredibly fast. Dave had a party trick of putting his fist in his mouth and putting his legs around his head and walking on his hands. He could also blow a marigold glove or condom up over his head by using breath from just his nostrils ~ not big, not clever but funny at the time.
If my daughters have a party trick then they have kept it a secret from me ~ new challenge to try and find out *cackles evilly”
28. Letting yourself be defined by cultural expectations.
Oh boy, I think we can all be guilty of this to some extent but generally believe when you are young you do allow yourself to be defined in this way as you are guided by your parents, who of course in your youth you trust implicitly. As you age you learn that that is not necessarily something you have to do.
Two of my daughters have had dreadlocks and many people were supportive of them but some were abusive and said that it wasn’t culturally correct and that it was insulting to cultures who wear dreads and that white girls shouldn’t be doing it. Thankfully the girls stuck two fingers up at those who expressed those opinions as funnily enough they weren’t from the cultures they were speaking about.
We are a family that endorses self~expression whatever form that may take, whether behavioural, sexual, gender identity or outward appearance. We support coloured hair, no hair, piercings, tattoos, any gender or sexuality ~ we are all unique and picking out what we like from other cultures can be enriching. Whatever floats your boat is fine by me so long as you are a decent human being.
29. Refusing to let friendships run their course.
Friendships come and friendships go. I have had some fabulous very short lived friendships that came with a rollercoaster of fun times and memories before fizzling out and dying completely. Some friendships are reignited and others lost forever. Over the past few years I’ve separated from some very old good friends because we simply grew apart and our lives took different directions.
It’s no~ones fault, it’s just life. It’s sad, you grieve it for a while and then let it go without any further thought except from a smile as you remember something that you had experienced together in the past and leave it at that.
It is crazy but the friendships that have gone are ones I thought would survive the test of time ~ just goes to show, you can never take anything as a given.
30. Not playing with your kids enough.
I had so much time to be with my girls, I gave up work to be with them and then as they grew worked part time from home for my husbands business. I accept that I am exceptionally lucky and many people aren’t fortunate to be able to have that time.
When the younger two were very ill and in and out of hospital during they younger years I had a charity send someone to my house once a week to care for them so that I could give the entire afternoon to my eldest daughter to ensure she didn’t miss out on activities with me. My house was always full of glitter, glue, paint, chalks, you name it we had it ~ although most fun was had from huge cardboard boxes and pans with wooden spoons!
31. Never taking a big risk (especially in love).
Taking a risk is part of life ~ I endorse risk taking and taking that leap.
It’s mostly worked to my benefit and even if it doesn’t, at least you know you tried.
32. Not taking the time to develop contacts and network.
Nope, don’t believe in networking ~ it’s not got a place in my lifestyle. I can see how it is necessary in certain businesses but I really can’t be fussed with arse licking and small talk to get into the inner circle of business groups or whatever.
Be self confident, bold, keep your head up and go for it ~ if you work hard, are approachable and friendly and believe in yourself these people should come to you and not the other way round.
33. Worrying too much.
Ha ha ha ha *snorts alarmingly* I am such the worry wart ~ I worry about everything, even things that may never happen. I have scenarios and emergency contingencies planned and worry if it’s strong enough. I think being a worrier is usually part of a persons make~up and so tough to address.
Some folk couldn’t care less and I really admire that attitude (although having a little concern is always healthy I feel). I try to be aware of my tendency to worry but it’s easier said than done for a person who worries.
34. Getting caught up in needless drama.
Ugh, drama queens, seriously ~ jog on. Not got the time or the patience for people who are so self indulgent and all about themselves.
Age brings new skills to avoid or shut these people down. I think many caring people get caught up and drained by these people. Drama I can do without, although sometimes it finds me and that’s damn annoying!
35. Not spending enough time with loved ones.
I make time to spend with all those I love.
I hand on heart said everything that I needed to say to my mum before she passed. We had many long and frank conversations, no topic was taboo.
I am close to my sister but rarely see her as she lives abroad, however we keep in touch and are close.
I haven’t seen my brother for four years sadly, we never seem to be able to coordinate being in the same place at the same time ~ but keep in touch via phone text messages with the odd long phone call.
Dad is a funny one ~ always busy but thats a good thing, I want him to live life to the full and be active for as long as he can ~ we keep in touch with weekly phone calls and either he comes to me or we go over for a day visit (longest we can leave the dogs) to see him. Same with Daves family.
As for my girls and Dave ~ we always make time for each other and are exceptionally close. I’m lucky I guess.
36. Never performing in front of others.
Uh Oh Never In A Million Years ~ I can’t stand up in front of others without going beetroot read, feeling like I’m going to pass out of vomit and my voice breaking. When I had to read in school I spoke so quickly no one could understand me as my philosophy was speak fast finish as soon as possible and it will all be over.
Definitely NOT one for me!
37. Not being grateful sooner.
Again I believe this comes with age, how many teenagers are grateful when ravaged by hormones and the changes that involves. My girls are grateful now in life because they have unfortunately had it throw curve balls at them from a young age so whatever they can do is appreciated.
We all have different reasons to be grateful, what one person appreciates another wont. I was a right bellend as a teenager, I expected to have what I wanted when I wanted it and was always in too much of a hurry, wanting everything yesterday. Over the years my ability to be grateful and see what I should have gratitude for is much clearer.
So that’s the list of 37 things gone through ~ do any of these resonate with you? What are your regrets ~ do you have them? I suppose aside from the above I am fortunate to not have many regrets in my life. I have been exceptionally lucky, although my life has not been perfect and loss, grief and illness have been too present, I think it is precisely these things that make me grasp the opportunities life offers and make the most of them in whatever way I can at the time.
I, hand on heart, cannot think of any other regrets I may have ~ mind you it could be the brain fog and lack of cognitive function that are keeping them shrouded from my memory banks.
I prefer to look at life with the positives not negatives, the past is past, the future is unknown, so make the most of the moment. Life has taught me that no matter what we think, in reality we have no control of when our life will end.
So live life to the fullest while you can, don’t look back with regret and celebrate what you have.
In the words of the great Frank Sinatra I leave you with this;
And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I’ve traveled each and every highway
But more, much more than this
I did it my way
Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way
Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it my way
I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fill my share of losing
And now, as tears subside
I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say – not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no, not me
I did it my way
For what is a man, what has he got
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way
Yes, it was my way