This post is a little more life-rambling than most of my usual ones, but bear with me. It’s something I just want to get off my chest and talk about with you, my friends. This post is all about regrets, and why I don’t really have them anymore — mostly because I found Stag, and I just assume all roads led to that life-partner fork-in-the-road.
Sure, I have small ones here and there. For example: “Why on earth did I grab that boiling-hot bowl of baked beans from the microwave without oven mitts?” which I now say to myself bitterly whenever I remember we only have 4 actual bowls left in the flat. And yes, I am pretty much ‘Queen of FOMO.’ But life-altering regrets? I used to – financial ones, career ones, perhaps even moving to the UK ones – but not anymore.
Those dried up, like when snow evaporates into nothing and you only realise when the white is gone. I suddenly realised any tears, fears, regrets and time spent crying if I had made the right decision, all had led me to Stag. That is what it was all for. And then the snow was gone, a day as clear as Spring.
So…What’s my One Regret? (Total ‘First World Probs’ Right here)
However, despite reaching that point, there is one regret I still have that looms over me, huge, like an oppressive weight of you idiot: not starting my blog earlier.
I began my first blog – in the sense of online diary – when I was 13 years old. It was a Deadjournal, because I was dark and moody like that. A few of my close friends had their own, too, and we would use our journals to write about our days, our thoughts and – most importantly – our stories. Then followed four years of my high school career, complete with Livejournal, Xanga, Geocities website (HOW OLD AM I) and a personal forum we used just for story telling.
Four years of college came and went, and I was too brain dead and tired to do anything more than ramble in a word document once in a while. When I moved to the UK in 2009 right after graduating, blogging was becoming more popular, and I thought my expat life could make a good journal to read. I started a Blogger and wrote some poncy life-thoughts on moving. But then I realised I was too broke to do fun things and stressed doing my MA degree, and three entries later, that became a bust, too.
2012 saw me one year into my first ‘big girl’ job, in which I either was desperately trying to stay positive and “make a go” of this corporate thing – or I was crying in the office toilet, wishing I could leave. Either or. As a way to cope and keep my creative juices flowing, I took up another Blogger, deciding to make a Lunchtime Stories blog of thoughts and lists. The juices dried up, mostly with career unhappiness, and so I quit that, too.
And then, finally, at 28 years old in freaking 2016 – when blogs have become so saturated that writing is so far down the list of what it takes to ‘blog’ these days – I decide to make a go of this blogging thing.
The competition is tough. I’m up against 19-year-old college students who were born attached to their phones and still have everything so damn perky. I don’t think my body has known perkiness since 2008.
And then there’s the marketing, advertising, social media expertise and professional photography skills now required to get even one person to find your blog. I’m OK at writing. I relish in making fun of myself. And I love finding readers-turned-friends online that love these things too. That used to be enough. Not so anymore.
“How on earth can I compete?” is my daily mantra, followed by “For the love of god why didn’t I stick with that damn blogger back in 2009?” Then concluded by, “Oooh, sudoku puzzle.”
So yes, that is my one big regret. And yes, I would be lying if said I wasn’t jealous of those bloggers with their hoard of readers, whom began their little-corners-of-the-internet years ago for the love of writing and meeting people and simply managed to grow without much in the way of social media or marketing.
How do we move on from regrets?
I’m not entirely sure if I’m the best person to be giving this advice. (See aforementioned ramble). But it’s something that I’m always looking into in order to improve myself, like fighting laziness and how to make really good desserts-in-a-cup (priorities, after all).
Here are 5 tips to help yourself shake the feeling of regret and start feeling positive:
Give yourself some perspective.
So you think you should have done something differently. Take stock of your life: is there something supremely positive about it? Are you happy? Are you healthy? Are you striving towards bettering yourself and the world around you, in some level? Chances are, then, that whatever ‘regret’ you have is taking up too much emotional space. The best counterbalance to many negative emotions — self-doubt, anxiety, regretting, fear — is rediscovering some perspective.
Ask yourself: “Can I change the situation?”
If you can, then change it. If you can’t — which is most likely the case, thus causing the regret — then thats your answer. You can’t change what’s happened. What good, then, will dwelling do? Be honest with yourself, and try to ask yourself the tough questions. What’s really going on in your headspace? A problem can’t really be solveduntil you get to the root of it. Once you accept that you can’t change, then all your left with is a chance to move forward.
Get it off your chest.
Nothing makes regrets feel that much more painful and deep quite like not talking about it. Many people are afraid that if they give life to negative experiences they regret through words that it makes it seem more ‘real.’ In actuality — and I say this from personal experience — it does the opposite; it makes it seem less huge. That big deal in your head suddenly seems so small when said to another whom you trust. Because chances are, it isn’t as big as you think it is, and that person will love and support you regardless. Again, perspective.
Look for lessons in every experience
Yes, even the bad ones! Even at your worst or most humiliated, there is something to take away and learn from. This fact is both a comfort and, in many ways, an ache. I just assume this is why old people are just so ‘Don’t Give a F***k’ — because they’ve just had so many lessons along the way. Just like a good after school special, there is always, always something to take away and learn from.
Spin that regret on its head.
So maybe you missed that amazing opportunity back then because you were scared of failure, or busy, or simply life got in the way. There’s no time like the present, right? According to surveys, the most regretted thing is missed opportunities. For those of us who can relate (and I’m sure that’s most!), all I have to ask is: what’s stopping you now? Turn that regret into something positive; a new experience, volunteering for your local community, trying your hand at a new skill. In the immortal words of a sports brand whom are on my feet at this moment: just do it.
I hope no one takes offense to this, as seriously I love blogging with a fiery passion. And I love meeting people. I just hate marketing myself. I’d rather just chat to you, eat ice cream and write.
Do you tend to have regrets? Are you pretty great at moving on from them? Would love to hear how you feel about these topics, both about blogging and about regrets!