Je ne regrette rein. I regret nothing. That is the mantra most of us follow when we look back at our past. We swear that if we could go back in time, we would still do everything the exact same way. The little things like waking up in the middle of the day instead of rising early in the morning, to the bigger things like spending all those years in a doomed relationship, which we deem wasted years, yet still we claim we’d do all over again.
Why? Because it made us who we are today. It made us better, more tolerant, more patient, kinder, and so on. I personally believe you cannot learn lessons from other people’s mistakes. So it’s almost a necessity to make these mistakes (regardless of countless warnings and obvious sign. The only thing missing would be a giant illuminated ‘DANGER’ sign to try and stop us). That being said, we all know from the first moment we saw the Time Turner in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, admit it, we all wanted that device to go back and change something. Something embarrassing we did, something painful we said, something cringe-worthy we saw. I know I did and, of course, I didn’t want to go through this journey alone, so I asked a few of my friends about something they wished they could go back and change – whether a specific incident or something in general. Here’s what I found:
Anaam Ikram –
If there is one thing I could go back and change in time, it would be in my first year of University (at The American University of Sharjah) when about a month before finals, I decided I was too cool to go for classes. Not that I was passing my 100-level courses with flying colours (though I should have been), because I barely even attended those anyway.
I decided I’m doing well enough so why even bother turning up anymore? Now, skipping classes is part of the university experience and I get that wholeheartedly, but get this – I wasn’t even doing anything fun in my free time. I would sit in the student centre, wasting time with people who were there in between classes; this not only resulted in me being on Educational Probation (Level One and Level Two the following semester), but when I was finally off that, I spent the rest of my university years trying to play catch up to raise my GPA.
Might not be the most interesting of tales, but I definitely regret it. I wasn’t very good at studies in school, but once I finally got to studying super hard in university, I did quite well. I just wish I hadn’t wasted all that time and money.
If I could go back in time and change something, I would have waited for my trustworthy dentist. You see, when I was 15 years old, I woke up one morning with an alarming toothache which also lead to a splitting headache. I desperately needed to go to the dentist but because it was a friday, my dentist was off and all the others I knew were off, so I went to one I knew had a reputation for being careless. But I was in pain, and those who have endured such pain know it cannot be subsided by Panadol.
I went to the dentist: he told me I had a cavity, and that I needed a root canal. I agreed. I was drugged and prepped for the operation. Turns out this dentist had ended up drilling too far into my tooth, past the bone, leaving the tooth hollow. Due to my heart condition, the open wound would make my body susceptible to infections, which would further worsen my condition, so the tooth had to be removed. Because of that gaping hole in my jaw, I had to wear braces for two years after to fill the gap. I honestly wish I had waited that one extra day to go see my careful dentist!
I regret the day I first started dying my hair. I was very young when I started and, of course, part of growing up means you want to experiment and change how you look. So, like many people, I too decided to start dying my hair (I’m a natural mousey-brown). The dyes ranged from colours such as bright red, black, brown, auburn, to blonde.
Though it has been blonde for a while now, it’s because I constantly dye it. I know it damages my hair, but I cannot grow my hair out because the roots and the body would have two very different colours and I don’t have the patience to wait till my hair grows out entirely. That and it also costs a lot of money to constantly have your hair coloured! It’s a circle.
I wish I had been more active physically during my school years. PE was always my most dreaded subject. Not that I wasn’t any good at it, I just never tried hard enough. I wish now I had at least joined a sports team at the high school level (not professionally though!), and of course, nowadays, I just wish I was able to work out more.
I wish I had enjoyed being younger more when I was younger. I know that sounds a little confusing, but when I was younger – much like many people – I could not wait to grow up. I wanted to be an adult and so I adjusted my mindset to that: so I would try to think and act older than my age. I wanted to be older because I thought it was better. Adulthood isn’t necessarily too bad, but there is a certain innocence and a sense of freedom to being young – partially because we don’t have as much responsibility, so I wish I had enjoyed that more.
There isn’t much I have regretted in life, except for my current job. It took me several months after graduation to find this job and, at the time, I had received two offers at once (from different places of course) and I accepted this one. I wish I hadn’t. It’s not that I don’t enjoy my job – I just don’t feel myself growing here as I perhaps would in another place. After months of unemployment, when you finally get a job offer, it’s the most exciting thing ever! I went ahead and accepted what I thought was a better option for me, but now, I wish I had looked into both offers a little more carefully.
Regret can come from the smallest or biggest incidents in our lives. It’s up to you what you make of these regretful moments – whether you choose to learn and move forward or have them eat you up inside…because either way, there is no turning back!
Share your regrets with us in the comments below. Maybe they’ll serve as wisdom to our other readers!