Things people seldom regret NOT doing, even if it takes a while

All my life, I’ve been told, “Don’t regret the things you did; regret the things you didn’t do.” There’s a lot of truth in that, BUT I’ve learned that there are a few things people don’t do, whether by choice or circumstance, that they may regret for varying periods of time, but in the end, they know it’s best that it didn’t happen.

Here are a few that immediately come to mind:

  1. Not having children

  2. Not marrying that person, regardless of why

  3. Not getting into medical school (and, to a lesser degree, law school)

Anyone else have their own things to add?

Making a snap decision to quit a job. I faced that back around 2009 and I’m facing it now. Professional adults don’t quit jobs without something better lined up.

Well… I quit a job abruptly because one of my coworkers physically attacked me. But yeah, other than a clear and present danger, you’re right on that one.

Do you regret quitting the job, or not quitting the job?

I actually found the Dope when I Googled something like “quitting a job without notice” and found a thread addressing exactly this. That’s what I did with my last pharmacy job, and for a number of reasons, it was not a decision made lightly, and there are situations where that is the right thing to do; one of them is “Your physical and/or mental health is in immediate jeopardy” and that’s exactly what was happening with me. Among other things, I had been in the ER and had lost about 15 pounds in less than a month, and knew I was going to wind up IN that hospital if I stayed any longer. I realized I could retire from active practice, so I did, and the healing process from that decision was more traumatic than the one from my cancer diagnosis last fall.

Other legitimate reasons are “You’re being shorted pay and/or benefits” or “You are being asked to break the law or violate ethics”. I’ve seen evidence of both.

I told one of the maintenance guys from where I lived that I was going to move and what had happened, and he told me that his previous job paid $90,000 a year, and after his 3rd heart attack, the doctor said, “You will not be returning to that job.” He replied, “How am I supposed to support my family?” and the doctor replied, “You can’t do that if you’re dead.” (Good point.) So, he and his family moved from that city to this area, where they had extended family and living expenses were much lower, and even though his wife had to go back to work, something she was planning to do anyway, his health had returned and his family was better off for it.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. :wink:

I do not regret choosing to not be the sacrificial lamb after a minor mistake across two departments with no proper oversight came to the attention of the CFO. Nope, not one bit. I was not going to shuffled off to another department doing work I was far over qualified for because two departments didn’t have a system of checks and balances.

Instead I stunned everyone by giving notice and offering to train a replacement. I was the only one in the firm who did my job, though there were a few people who could fill in for me if I took a vacation. I have never looked back.

I don’t regret that I never took up smoking.

And I don’t regret that I never gave up drinking!

I have quit every job I’ve ever had (except my current one), but it was never a snap decision; it was always after much careful deliberation.

Seems to me that most people who regret not going to their dream school later get over it and might even eventually feel like they are better off.

I don’t regret not joining the military. When the recruiters came to my high school in 1976, they said I wouldn’t be accepted because I wore glasses. Whether that was true or not, I’ve now hung out with enough ex-military guys to realize that I totally would not have made it in the military.

I don’t regret not dropping everything to travel the world on the back of a motorcycle with this guy I met in Mexico. We had a whirlwind romance, and the idea sounded pretty enticing, but somewhere in my gut I knew that I’d end up abandoned–and possibly very sick–in the middle of nowhere.

He was committed much more to his journey and himself than he ever would be to me. It would have taken me years to rebuild my life, had I run away with him. And, as much as we cared for each other, we didn’t actually know each other very well. I think I would have been welcome, as long as I remained useful to him–but not a minute longer.

I think that everything my gut told me not to do, I don’t regret not doing. That includes things that would otherwise seem to be very good ideas.

Not having sex with my girlfriend in college. I knew we weren’t quite clicking and when she was ready to go for it I had a feeling that I would regret it one way or another. I know now that my decision to wait was for the best.

Do you mean: “Things that–in the end–you’re glad you didn’t do,” or “Things that most people are eventually glad they didn’t do”?

What is the function of seldom in the title?

I don’t regret not getting the stereotypical “home” that marks success for some people - never owned a house, much less one with a picket fence. My life has been unconventional in some aspects and that worked out well for me personally.

I don’t regret not having had children. Oh, sure, I’m aware I missed out on some things, but I’ve had others that might not have been possible if I had had kids, and certainly they would have been more difficult. I also got to miss out on some bad things - I have a sister who has seen both her children die before they reached 30, it’s heartbreaking, and I won’t have to experience that for myself.

I don’t regret not finishing a degree, the first time I attempted it. We don’t have the same system in the UK as the US does, you don’t have a ‘major’, you just have one subject, and while there may be a few options to choose between, all your modules are related to the topic you’re studying (sometimes people study a combination, ‘X with Y’, but normally it’s just X’). It’s very hard to switch to a different programme, and you generally can’t switch outside the department at all, you’d have to drop out and re-apply.

I hadn’t really wanted to go, but got basically forced to pick a subject and apply by my mother and school. I realised once I was there that I wasn’t really interested in what I was studying, it wasn’t going to lead to anything I wanted to do, and as the government funding assistance is only available for your first degree, I probably wouldn’t be able to go back and do something else later if I did finish. My mother was furious when I dropped out, everyone kept telling me I’d regret it.

I’ve never regretted it for a moment; I went off and explored the world instead, now 15 years later, I’m back studying what I want to do, in a topic area with job shortages.

I took as your latter option there… But she meant everyone who didn’t regret not doing something, including (but not limited to) those that took a while to realize it.

I don’t regret being a non-drinker. I’ve never liked the taste of alcohol of any kind and I don’t ever want to be drunk. So no regrets there, whatsoever.

I don’t regret not being the Navy “lifer” I’d intended to be. I got out with a little over 11 years, more than half way to retirement, but I recognized that my career was over and I decided to end it on my terms. I’d made the mistake 5 years earlier when I was commissioned - turns out I was a lousy officer. And I wasn’t willing to play the games that were necessary to achieve the coveted “top 1%” fitness report.

When I was a lowly enlisted technician, I enjoyed what I did and I think I was pretty good at it. I thought it’d be better as an officer. For me, it wasn’t. There was a brief period of regret as I was readjusting to being a civilian, but it passed. I didn’t retire at 39 as I’d originally planned, but life was a whole lot better.

I also do not regret quitting my piano lessons. I had no aptitude for the instrument whatsoever.