What Is Your Biggest Regret In Life?

Of all of the decisions you have made over the course of your life, which do you regret the most and why? This could be either something that you did or something that you neglected to do.

Do you think that it is beneficial for you to anguish over decisions you cannot re-do?


My biggest regret is going to law school. But now that I’m on the other side, facing the Bar Exam (again), I’m still not sure what I would have done different, or what I should do now instead.

The one dumbest decision I ever made was to take up smoking. I don’t agonize over it much, however, especially since I’ve quit now.

I’ve made plenty of other dumb moves, but that was the worst in the long run.

There are many. Some bigger than others.

Among the biggies… not going into med school. I’d have made a great doctor of radiology. Not because I like to help people but because I enjoy the applied investigative aspect of it. Yeah… weird reason to go into medicine, I know. Perhaps it’s good that I didn’t.

I’ve made many stupid decisions in my life. Yet I suffered more when I chose not to make a decision. Usually status quo in my life has been the kiss of death. Now, I live my life like I’m bungee jumping - close my eyes and leap.

A couple of years ago, I was set to go on a road trip to Canberra with a couple of close friends, but for some reason decided to give it a miss. One of the friends that was going to be there - a guy that I hadn’t spoken to for quite some time beforehand - was killed in a car accident a week or so after the trip, and had I gone on the trip, it would have been the last time I saw him. So, that was pretty regrettable.

There have been a few other regrettable decisions, but they’re mostly the result of me being different now to when I was younger (like not seeing the point of learning a second language while I was young). I think the anguish of regret is useful in the same way pain and other negative emotions are - they’re just a somewhat primitive method of teaching you not to do that again, because it’s bad. Sometimes it is bad, and it’s a lesson well learnt - other times, it’s just painful, and it would be better for all concerned if it could just not be felt.

On preview, there seems to be a goodish amount of people regretting what they did or didn’t do at university/college, so I guess I should add myself to that list. I probably wouldn’t study computer science if I had the choice again, but that was a choice made when I was pretty young.

~ Isaac

I played “the other man” in a relationship where I was madly in love with the girl who had another boyfriend. She ended up marrying him.

I’ve never been an emotional guy, but that situation had me torn up enough that I would vomit when I thought about her being with her boyfriend. It was absolutely devastating, and kept me away from dating/relationships for a long time. I still think it has some effect on me all this time later.

Marrying my second wife.

Far and away, the stupidest damn thing I have done in my life, and let me tell you, I’ve pulled some beautys.

I made the decision a long time ago not to regret things. I hate agonizing over what could have been. When something bad happens, I tend to just shrug and accept it as something in the past. I’m a bit emotionally detached about things in the past.

But, as a consequence, I have a tendency to repeat some really stupid mistakes as my original mistakes don’t carry enough emotional impact. So I think anguishing over somethings can be helpful as a a sort of life lesson.

Letting my parents make every filthy , stinking decision for me throughout my entire life , including them talking me out of college and forcing me to get a ‘good factory job’ , which I hated , hated , hated . And I am now presently unemployed , 45 years old , and scared shitless .

Staying with an ex-boyfriend I now refer to as Assman for 3 years. He was an ass.

Add me to the college-related list: I think what I regret the most is that I didn’t take any journalism classes. At the time I simply wasn’t interested (I was all about radio broadcasting), and I thought journalism was only for people who wanted to become reporters. It took me a long time to realize that it would have been a good thing to take at least a few journalism classes. I’m in graduate school now, and might be able to remedy the situation: undergraduate classes will not count toward my graduate degree, but if I can find a journalism class that meets when I’m available I might just look into taking it for the hell of it.

I’m pretty grateful that this is my biggest regret … but then, I’m only 33 so I’m sure that a lot of bad decisions are still ahead of me. :wink:

A little legitimate regret is not a bad thing: it can help keep us from making the same mistakes over and over. But regret so strong that it turns into anguish doesn’t help anyone (not saying that it doesn’t happen, just that it should be seen as something to be gotten over as quickly as possible).

Oh my god, no. Not at all.

Do the complete opposite.

Drop it. Forget it. Don’t talk to a shrink about it. Let it go. That’s why it’s called “anguish”.

And when you’ve make a good decision self-gloat over it.

I don’t really regret moves/decisions/relationship stuff.

I think more than anything I regret being mean to kids when I was a kid. I at least hope that any kid I was mean to didn’t get a big complex about it.

Some kids were mean to me too, and I don’t think it had any effect on me.

My biggest regret is that I didn’t go away to college. Because I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up (and still don’t at age 41) I went to the local “community college” across the street from Mom and Dad’s house. It was like an extension of high school, but one wasn’t “required” to attend classes. What a waste!

I recommend that everyone go away to college, live in a dorm, and experience their first taste of “independence” without the strings attached.

Do I have regrets? Yeah, sometimes I can think of a million decisions that didn’t turn out the way I hoped. Maybe I should have chosen that other major university that I was accepted to. Maybe I should have waited to get married. I really shouldn’t have a drunk so much in college. All kinds of other things that I would have done differently if I knew then what I know now.

The thing is, though, how do I know it would have been *better * that other way? Different, yeah, but I could have been miserable at that huge university. I might have ended up a lonely, childless old lady. I might have turned into a recluse studying away while all my friends were out partying.

It’s easy to have regrets when there are so many choices in life, but when it comes right down to it I think it’s better just dealing with what I have than mourning over what might have been.

The biggest thing I regret is a decision I made in grad school, to try to win back the guy that had dumped me. If I’d just let the guy go and got on with my life, I’d’ve been spared lots of crap, including a suicide attempt.

OTOH, all those decisions brought me to where I am today, married to a guy who’s a gem, with a house, and dogs and a subscription to the SDMB. If I’d made another decision 30 years ago, I might not be here today.

Or I might have arrived by another path. Who knows. I just know if I could go down the other leg of the Trousers of Time, I might try it just to see how it would be different.

Not going on a student exchange to UNSW (New South Wales) when I was a junior in college. I let money get in the way, and if I had stuck it out, it turns out it wouldn’t have cost me nearly as much. (it would’ve been a direct exchange as a guy from UNSW came over that year and that would have covered two thirds of my costs)


Not sticking with piano lessons when I was young; there are some pretty strong musical-talent genes on both sides of my family, and I chose to squander their potential

Deciding to take six years of French instead of Spanish

Not applying myself throughout school so that when it came time to go to college, I would have the skills necessary to succeed the first time

Instead of beating myself up over these regrets, I see them as an opportunity to cultivate certain interests and potential in my children so they don’t find themselves one day looking in the mirror and wondering why they did or didn’t do the same things…

Darn I must be a shallow guy… one of my great regrets was letting this absolutely gorgeous friend of mine get away. I was a bit dumb and I could have taken her to bed but I was a bit angry at the time with her for a very silly reason ! :smack:

Going to a women’s university instead of a regular coed. Don’t get me wrong - the school was great - small, supportive, sheltering. But I ended up taking a 5 and a half year sabbatical from men just when I was starting to realize how much I liked them. I can’t help but wonder what my life would have been like if I’d gone to a school that had a population I could have dated.