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Any profound regrets?


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84 replies to this topic

#41 of 85 mylan

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Posted August 23 2008 - 04:40 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by drobbins
When I saw the "Profound Regrets" I thought that there would be things like - a high school sweetheart getting an abortion and then not being able to have kids when you got married later.

Maybe your ghost experience left you physic as well, I'll leave it at that.Posted Image

At least I tried the college thing, I still think it is the right choice for many people who are above average intelligence but I don't think I was completely cut out for it. I made good grades but math and science were not easy for me, maybe I should have rethought the engineering career. I did exel at social studies but there is no money in that.

Edit: Like Micah, I regret not learning a skill, I mentioned I left technical school a second time because I was not getting any hands on experience, I used to be pretty good at troubleshooting circuit boards as well as soldering surface mount components and spoting very small mistakes but that is so far back in my past I have lost all skills there. Other than painting ( walls and trim, not art) and gardening I am not good with my hands, I wish I could build a house or my own home theater from the ground up like some of you here but I wouldn't know where to start. I think some of those skills are not learned, you either have them or not.

I regret thinking about this now, the regrets are rushing back, ahh well!
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#42 of 85 ChristopherDAC

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Posted August 23 2008 - 07:31 AM

Acting without sufficient information. Most of the bad choices I have made could have been forestalled with information as to future conditions other than the results of my actions. Suffice to say that if I had been aware before age 25 that my chance of living to be 50 is even at best, barring accidents, I should have made some very different decisions.

#43 of 85 JohnRice

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Posted August 23 2008 - 07:54 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattCR
Six years later, she's on a major TV show as a very popular actress pulling down megabucks and I think "wow. I f*(& that up" But looking at my wife, I'm OK.
Let me be the first to say, I am intrigued.

ChristopherDAC, also curious with you, but I certainly won't press the issue.

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#44 of 85 Jeff Ulmer

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Posted August 23 2008 - 10:36 AM

I don't have any regrets, there is not much point in them. Decisions, good or bad, are learning experiences. Learn from your mistakes and try not to make them again.

#45 of 85 JohnRice

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Posted August 23 2008 - 12:08 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Ulmer
I don't have any regrets, there is not much point in them. Decisions, good or bad, are learning experiences. Learn from your mistakes and try not to make them again.
Because, of course, it's always exactly that simple.

I'll just add that we are the only creatures on earth absolutely known to have a conscience. To abjectly turn your back on it with the belief that all mistakes are simply an opportunity to "learn" is, in my humble opinion, not only denying our greatest strength, but shamelessly self obsessed. Not to say they should be taken to the opposite extreme either.

You make a mistake and someone dies. You just chalk that up to lessons learned? 10 people? 1,000 people? You would never have regrets, ever? That's what you said.

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#46 of 85 Adam Lenhardt

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Posted August 23 2008 - 01:28 PM

Wouldn't it be great if we could all be like that? Two relevant quotes:
"The only way to avoid being miserable is not to have enough leisure to wonder whether you are happy or not."
- George Bernard Shaw
"It's not having what you want; it's wanting what you've got."
-Sheryl Crow, "Soak Up the Sun"
College might not have taken me where I want to be (how could it, since I'm still not sure where I want to be?) but it was a hell of a journey full of a lot of great people and experiences. As the saying goes: it's the journey, not the destination. I've had some great experiences during really miserable times, and some miserable experiences during really great times.

#47 of 85 Micah Cohen

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Posted August 23 2008 - 02:50 PM

Quote:
it's the journey, not the destination
As you get older I think you find that it slowly, maybe while you're not paying attention, switches around. The journey becomes... regrets. (I mean, may as well say it, since that's what this thread is about.) The destination... looms larger and larger.

Huh. Maybe this is just me.

(And maybe I should say that for the most part, especially when I'm left alone, I'm not nearly as "unhappy" as I've made myself out to be here.)

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#48 of 85 Bryan^H

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Posted August 23 2008 - 03:20 PM

A girl I worked with was apparently really into me for about a year. Her friend spilled it to me one night, and I was pretty shocked. She said she was very shy, and couldn't find the courage to talk to me.

After I had found out, I played like I didn't know anything about it(jerk) and continued to act oblivious. She knew I knew, and wrote me a note. Sounds juvenile(she was 22, I was 26) although it was really well written, and heart felt. I didn't respond to the note or to her. I did find her attractive, and wanted to date her, I was just thinking of how, and when to talk to her. Well, I was blindsided when she quit the job the very next week, and got married a year later. All the time, I never got to know her. I really would have liked to have a relationship with her, but I wanted to play it cool, and ignore her instead.

Big regret. I could be happily married(I think) with an entirely different life. If only I had spoken to her. I still haven't found the right girl. I'm now 34, and starting to worry.

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#49 of 85 Adam Lenhardt

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Posted August 23 2008 - 03:46 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Micah Cohen
As you get older I think you find that it slowly, maybe while you're not paying attention, switches around. The journey becomes... regrets. (I mean, may as well say it, since that's what this thread is about.) The destination... looms larger and larger.
I've made questionable decisions that have never-the-less resulted in incredible experiences. Being underemployed, for instance, has allowed me to spend more of my summer outside than I have in years. If your job isn't satisfying, find something else in your life that is and concentrate on that. Take Mr. Robbins. He's bored stiff at his job, but he spent the last year or so building a house in his spare time.
I can be as prone to dwelling and pessimism as anybody, but every week I have at least a few moments that remind me how incredible it is to be alive.

#50 of 85 drobbins

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Posted August 23 2008 - 04:04 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Lenhardt
Take Mr. Robbins. He's bored stiff at his job, but he spent the last year or so building a house in his spare time.
Building a house was on my list of things that I always wanted to do. One of the ways that I try to avoid having regrets, is to picture myself on my death bed looking back on my life. I do the things that I would like to have done and don't do things that would be an obstacle to those goals.

#51 of 85 JoeyR

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Posted August 24 2008 - 02:34 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Lenhardt
Wouldn't it be great if we could all be like that? Two relevant quotes:
"The only way to avoid being miserable is not to have enough leisure to wonder whether you are happy or not."
- George Bernard Shaw
"It's not having what you want; it's wanting what you've got."
-Sheryl Crow, "Soak Up the Sun"
College might not have taken me where I want to be (how could it, since I'm still not sure where I want to be?) but it was a hell of a journey full of a lot of great people and experiences. As the saying goes: it's the journey, not the destination. I've had some great experiences during really miserable times, and some miserable experiences during really great times.


One of the things that keep me going is "What You Give" by Tesla, released my senior year.

Its not what you got, its what you give, its not the life you choose, its the life you live.

#52 of 85 Holadem

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Posted August 24 2008 - 02:58 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Lenhardt
it's the journey, not the destination.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micah Cohen
As you get older I think you find that it slowly, maybe while you're not paying attention, switches around.
Absolutely. Very well said Micah.

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#53 of 85 Cees Alons

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Posted August 24 2008 - 03:20 AM

Interestingly, I just read a long article in a scientific journal about regret the other day, a few hours before reading this thread.
Too long to reproduce in full, but here are some interesting points.

"Regret" is only possible if you can rethink something in the past, a skill that starts at about seven. So typically that's about the age you may feel something like regret for the first time in your life.
It's thought to be a very important mechanism, because it will help you to make more profound decisions a next time, especially to realize other considerations that will need to play a part, and how you should weigh them, than just the ones you used to make your previous decision.

Apparently, like in this thread, when asked, more people say they regret something they didn't do rather than something they did. That's understandable, because you know what the road you chose brought you, while you can only wonder what would have happened on the ones you avoided.

In a large study, most people mentioned choosing the wrong discipline or not following a study at all (or enough).
Then came matters related to relations, like not kissing a girl and missing an apparent opportunity.
Women often tend to mention the fact that they stayed in a bad relation too long while it already had become hopeless. Less so about the divorce.

People also regret some things more in a short term, like doing something on impulse (e.g. kissing a person).

You regret something you did, not something that "just happened to happen": if the train just leaves when you arrive at the platform, running, you're not regretting as much that it leaves - you're regretting your decision to pay for the ticket with your credit-card, which took half a minute longer at the counter.

The way I try to go about with regret is what I also used to tell my children when they made an apparent mistake: don't cry (everybody makes an occasional mistake), but (1) try to repair the damage as good as you can and (2) seriously try to avoid the same mistake in the future.

Apparently, this is indeed what it "serves". The article stressed the fact that regret can help you to make a better decision next time, but it can also make you to honestly apologize to other people involved, which is a very important social mechanism and part of the damage-repair. (We feel a believe that society may forgive us more easily if we sincerely apologize. Indeed judges tend to give lower penalties when the suspect shows genuine regret. Of course I've seen apologizing taking pathetic forms.)

In short: it's a highly interesting topic for psychology studies.


Cees

#54 of 85 JohnRice

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Posted August 24 2008 - 07:20 AM

Excellent post Cees.

I keep intending to post my motivation for starting this thread. I have hesitated since then, because there are the considerations of others at stake. The fact there is virtually no chance any of them would ever come across this thread makes no difference. It is the act of posting it which concerns me.

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#55 of 85 ChristopherDAC

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Posted August 24 2008 - 04:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRice
ChristopherDAC, also curious with you, but I certainly won't press the issue.
There really isn't that much to be said. I've always been of a sober & studious temperament, & somewhat retiring withal. Accordingly, through high school & into university, I did not go out of my way to socialize or have fun, assuming that I could take the opportunity to do that once I was out in the world on my own. I also did not hesitate to take extra time about doing things I considered good preparation for the kind of life I intended to lead. Unfortunately for me, I developed a severe chronic disease partway through my university career which has interfered with my finishing my degree plan, & makes it difficult for me to work at the kind of jobs one can get without a degree.

As a result, I'm 26 years old, unemployed & practically unemployable, single & living with my parents. If I'd known I wasn't going to have as much life to live as most people I would have spent less time preparing to live my life & more time living it. I'm still trying to make a difference in the world & a good life for myself, but it's not as easy as it would be if I weren't sick, nor as it could be if I'd taken the opportunities I had to make deeper & more lasting contacts with people.

#56 of 85 Lucia Duran

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Posted August 25 2008 - 01:53 AM

I have a few regrets in life. One being that I didn't really go after exactly what I wanted to do when I was younger. I had the opportunities, but not the drive at the time and passed up some really incredible things. It's not so much about money or wealth, but experiences that I am sad about.
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#57 of 85 Carlo Medina

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Posted August 25 2008 - 05:46 AM

One. Luckily (for me, and probably for her as well) she lives in Sweden now. I think (and hope) she's happy.

I fully agree with the article Cees is referencing. The event was horrible, but it did help me to be a better person in the future. I wouldn't be who I am now without it. Ironically, who I am now, 15 years later, is probably who she needed (or expected) me to become, and who knows what could be possible now. But if she never left me, I would still be who I was then. Vicious circle.

#58 of 85 Chuck Mayer

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Posted August 25 2008 - 07:38 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucia Duran
I have a few regrets in life. One being that I didn't really go after exactly what I wanted to do when I was younger. I had the opportunities, but not the drive at the time and passed up some really incredible things. It's not so much about money or wealth, but experiences that I am sad about.
That sums me up as well. Profound is such a strong word, I hesitate to claim my regrets are profound. They certainly are personal, so I guess that is one way to frame it.

I will speak to the fall of 2006 where I experienced a fairly strong third-life crisis (hopefully not mid-life Posted Image ). As Lucia states, it wasn't that I wish I had more money or more success (not that I am successful and rich - I am not, though I don't have a ton of fiscal conerns), or a shiny new car or a young wife. I have a loving wife and a beautiful son, and I am truly thankful for that. So my regrets were not profound, as my failures have put me on this path as surely as my successes have. But during that little crisis, I longed for not being locked into the next ten years of my life, or for having done something extraordinary when I was younger. The Peace Corps. A different college perhaps, as my college experience was severely regimented and narrow. A different experience in my twenties, I suppose. My college was free...they just required 5 years of your life after you were done Posted Image That is nine years, 18-27, where I had little freedom of movement or choice, right when those things make a big imprint on your life.

Struggling through that, I learned that had I taken those other paths...I'd merely have a different set of regrets. So I came to peace with it, and grew out of the funk.

I, like many here, could name a few names of girls I should have pursued, but either learned too late were interested, or never knew (which might be worse). But that is part and parcel. We probably all have those.
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#59 of 85 JoeyR

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Posted August 25 2008 - 03:10 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristopherDAC
There really isn't that much to be said. I've always been of a sober & studious temperament, & somewhat retiring withal. Accordingly, through high school & into university, I did not go out of my way to socialize or have fun, assuming that I could take the opportunity to do that once I was out in the world on my own. I also did not hesitate to take extra time about doing things I considered good preparation for the kind of life I intended to lead. Unfortunately for me, I developed a severe chronic disease partway through my university career which has interfered with my finishing my degree plan, & makes it difficult for me to work at the kind of jobs one can get without a degree.

As a result, I'm 26 years old, unemployed & practically unemployable, single & living with my parents. If I'd known I wasn't going to have as much life to live as most people I would have spent less time preparing to live my life & more time living it. I'm still trying to make a difference in the world & a good life for myself, but it's not as easy as it would be if I weren't sick, nor as it could be if I'd taken the opportunities I had to make deeper & more lasting contacts with people.

sorry to hear about your illness Christopher

#60 of 85 Jason_V

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Posted August 26 2008 - 08:10 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristopherDAC
There really isn't that much to be said. I've always been of a sober & studious temperament, & somewhat retiring withal. Accordingly, through high school & into university, I did not go out of my way to socialize or have fun, assuming that I could take the opportunity to do that once I was out in the world on my own. I also did not hesitate to take extra time about doing things I considered good preparation for the kind of life I intended to lead. Unfortunately for me, I developed a severe chronic disease partway through my university career which has interfered with my finishing my degree plan, & makes it difficult for me to work at the kind of jobs one can get without a degree.

That's horrible to hear, Christopher.

I'm just about in the same boat-although healthy. Shy, introverted, nerd if you want to use the term. Didn't care much for sports when I was younger or music or anything besides video games and sci fi. It kinda put me into a corner with friends and even my family. It didn't help at all being gay and going to six different schools in four states through high school. I think keeping to myself is my biggest regret.

It's shaped the person I am at 29. I have a good boyfriend and quality friends, but not the circle I wanted. Everything sprung out of those early years of being the outsider. If I had learned to be outgoing, maybe I would have fought a bit more for the jobs I wanted or the people I wanted in my life. Heck, I might have even swallowed those butterfly's in my stomach, come out earlier and told a guy I still think about today "hi."


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