Pet peeve: when people say, “I have no regrets,” as if having them is such a terrible thing. Everyone has regrets; it’s living in the past and constantly laboring over what you would have done differently that’s the problem. So, yeah, I have regrets. Ten of them in fact and from each I’ve learned something valuable about myself. Check those out after the jump, as well as five totally regrettable things I would still do over again. And share yours in the comments!1. Not studying abroad during college. I don’t know why I didn’t pursue the opportunity to actually study Italian in Italy. I think I was scared to go through the experience of making new friends in a new place all over again and to lose out on experiences with the friends I had made already. But looking back, I wish I had faced that fear and studied abroad because it would have been an amazing experience and maybe I would actually be fluent in Italian.
2. Waiting as long as I did to have sex. Yes, the way I lost my virginity really sucked, but that’s not my reason for this particular regret. I think I held sex and intimacy on a pedestal that it couldn’t live up to and avoided both because I was scared I’d be disappointed or hurt. I was and have been, of course, but that’s a part of life. I wish I had learned that at an earlier age. And, I mean, if I could, I would go back in time to senior year of high school and make a major move on Rey Dominguez. Anyone got a Deloreon I can borrow?
3. Writing and posting a very personal essay about my dad on The Frisky. Which he saw and it hurt him very much. It took awhile to repair that relationship — perhaps longer than it should — and I wish I had never been so thoughtless.
4. Thinking that Gwyneth Paltrow’s short crop, circa 1997, would look good on me. Because it didn’t. And it took me six years to grow out properly.
5. Hitting my ex-fiance. That was messed up and I never did it again, but I wish I could take back that one time.
6. Having sex with the following (nicknamed) dudes … The Switcheroo, Fatty Big Balls, The Two-Pump Chump, and The Long-Haired Musician. Just really not worth it at all.
7. Bullying a girl in my 5th grade class. Even though it was just once — I told her that her breath smelled like dog poop in front of the whole class — I have wanted to apologize to her for years.
8. Quitting piano lessons. I studied piano from ages 8-17 and then gave it up the second I graduated from high school. Even though I have no musician fantasies, I’m disappointed that after all of those hours spent practicing, I can only play “Mary had a Little Lamb” and the opening bars to “Fur Elise.”
9. Not maintaining better contact with friends in other cities. My biggest phobia, for lack of a better word, is talking on the phone and it’s cost me some close friendships from high school and college. There’s no ill will, but my lack of effort has turned those friendships into loose acquaintances.
10. Caring what other people thought about me for far too long. Men, my mom, strangers, my co-workers/staff, readers, etc. Being confident in who I am and the choices I make is the only way I can know when I’ve truly made a mistake.
5 Surprising Regrets I Don’t Have:
1. Not ending my engagement before he did. Looking back, I didn’t have the courage to face my gut instinct that we weren’t right for each other or that I couldn’t base a life on how I wanted him to be rather than how he was. But I still don’t regret saying yes to his proposal because I meant it with 100 percent of my being at the time. And I don’t regret being 100 percent blindly committed because that breakup forced me to confront my own problem with honesty.
2. Passing up a great job at FHM in favor of a gig that ended up only lasting two months at Interview. My boss at Interview was a terror and made me cry every day, yet I didn’t take another opportunity that came my way because I thought the Interview job would get me further. It didn’t — I was laid off two months later and spent every day that I was there completely miserable — but it was incredibly character-building.
3. Reading my ex’s email. Whatever. It gave me the answers I needed. Moving on!
4. Eating Five Guys every time I crave it. Despite the fact that it’s not good for me or my belly paunch.
5. Wearing my heart on my sleeve — often somewhat pathetically — in my relationships with men. I’m a person who feels too much, maybe, and expresses those feelings often without a filter. You know, drunken “I love yous” and whatnot. But doing so has taught me many lessons — mostly what I am really looking for in another person — and, in the end, I would rather be a person who feels too much than not enough.