[ri-gret]  , -gret·ted, -gret·ting,noun

verb (used with object)

1. to feel sorrow or remorse for (an act, fault, disappointment,etc.):
    He no sooner spoke than he regretted it.
2. to think of with a sense of loss: to regret one’s vanished youth.

Lately I’ve been on a self-reflection tip. Perhaps its because I just passed a milestone birthday but I’ve been looking back at my life and I’m gratified with the accomplishments that I have and all the personal achievements that I have met. On the other hand I can’t help but dwell with discontent when I reminisce over some of the mistakes I’ve made over the years. Lately, I’ve been dealing with an emotion that is foreign to me. That emotion which I’ve managed to elude this long is regret.

I’ve always had the train of thought that until the time machine is invented there is no use in harping on the past. I have always lived my life knowing that I whatever decisions I’ve made there is no way I can change it so its better to just roll with the punches and take whatever consequences or rewards my actions brought me. But yesterday as I laid in my bed before I fell asleep I wondered what I would do if I had a time machine.

If only this were real.

If I were given access to a time machine I wouldn’t do anything outrageously immoral like write a note to myself to invest in Apple or tell myself the Powerball Megamillions numbers. I would do things that would cause the least amount of damage to the space time continuum. Things that maybe affected myself and those closest to me. Exact details you said? Glad you asked.

1. I fucked that shit up trying to be a player.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret about me. I’ve never been broken up with. I’ve always been the break up-er and not the break up-ee. That doesn’t mean that I won in some way or that any of my exes would have broken up with me. It just happened to work out that way. Even based on that fact I have that one relationship where I wish I would have done things differently. I still wonder from time to time how things would have turned out if I wasn’t so stubborn and selfish.

2. School was my hustle. I’m glad I attended the schools that I did but sometimes I wonder how things would have turned out if I went the Ivy route. My grades and standardized test scores were certainly good enough where I probably would have received scholarships to any school I applied to. I didn’t. I wanted to attend an HBCU. The only PWIs I applied to were Temple University and the University of Maryland. Perhaps more opportunities could have opened themselves up to me.

3. I am my brother’s keeper. I understand that people are going to live their life and you have to allow people to make their own decisions but sometimes I feel like I failed my brothers. My youngest brother is 20 years old. When I was 20 I was senior in college and I was applying to graduate school. Also around that time my parents got divorced. At the time my brother was 11. He stayed with my mother. I noticed a change in his behavior. He went from an A/B student who talked with me about going to college and pledging my fraternity to C/D student who constantly got suspended for fighting. I tried to give my advice but I should have been there more. The same goes for my other brother but that’s another entire blog post in itself.

These are just a few things that I regret. Do you look back at your life and remorse over anything?


38 thoughts on “Regret

  1. mizzcam

    Really great post! I, too, am very proud of my accomplishments so far, but of course, hindsight is 20/20.
    If I could go back in time:

    1. I would have ended a certain relationship years earlier than I did. I think I may have missed out on a few potential relationships in college. Scratch that, I *know* that I missed out on a couple. Who knows, I could’ve been married w/ kids by now. I let a certain relationship take over my life and influence my decisions on many things. I think my college experience would’ve been a lot different…

    2. Greek Life – while my adventures in Greek Life are somewhat complicated, after certain events had taken place, I kind of gave up on my pursuit. My community service fell by the wayside and now the timing just never seems right. So I think I would have handled that differently.

    3. I don’t think I would’ve bought my house. I was only 22 at the time and I knew even then that I didn’t want to stay in Cleveland. Now that I’m actually moving out of state and the market is the way that it is, my house just feels like an unnecessary burden. =( [Also, being lazy doesn’t really tie in w/ being a homeowner – not as a single woman anyway. Grass does not cut itself and snow does NOT melt in Cleveland, ok?]

    That’s all I can think of right now…

    1. madscientist7 Post author

      i feel on you number one. i had one of those relationships as well. looking back i think i missed out on a lot great people being stuck where i was. if only i knew then what i knew now.

      as far as number 3 a lot of my classmates bought houses while we were in school because real estate is dirt cheap in nashville compared to other housing markets around the country. the problem was when we started graduating they had difficult times selling their homes. now they are in different parts of the country renting their homes in nashville. i’m glad i don’t have to deal with that.

  2. Lioness Rising

    Actually I have one regret and I have been struggling with it for a while. And the only way I put it in perspective was with the quote “You aren’t living life if you dont have regrets” and I was pretty sure you wrote that or tweeted it or something. Maybe I’m mistakingly giving you the credit…
    Luckily I have a chance to fix this regret somewhat so I’m working on it now (rather not tell what it is). I figure Im just entering the prime regret period of my life but I still have a few I can share.

    1. My freshman year of high school I did not have the greatest roommate (boarding school) but I told something personal about her that spread across the school like wildfire. I should have kept my mouth shut. Learned my lesson. Out 5 year reunion is in June..people forgot about it after a week or so but I still want to finally say sorry…

    2. I regret worrying so much. Its the Capricorn in me but if I had taken more risk imagine where I would be..

    3. The worrying extend to relationships. I wish I had had more confidence is HS and college when I came to men. There is one guy that I was crushing on hard. If I could go back I would have politely told him I was interested. We still mak small talk from time to time but I haven’t seen him since he graduated. She have had more confidence in myself…kept me from talking to guys like I should have.

    I know I have more but I can’t remember now.

    Your thinking on HBCU vs PWI is part of something I just realized about the difference… maybe i’ll blog about that…

    1. madscientist7 Post author

      not to make you feel any worse than you already do but spreading rumors is something that i’m strongly against. a rumor was spread about me and one of friends in high school that was just down right mean. thinking back about it just makes me shake my head.

      1. Lioness Rising

        very true. But to clarify it wasn’t a rumor it was true but I shouldn’t tell people’s business. I hadn’t realized that when you tell one person something they will go tell everyone else. Glad I learned it very early though…

  3. Dots

    Thought provoking… I try not to think of regretting shit but shit happens. I’m curious about the story on your brothers though.

  4. Divinepearlz

    Yeah 30 has a way of doing that to you. Quiet as it is kept I started feeling the pressure a few years before I turned 30. I don’t necessarily have regrets, rather there are some things that if I could I would do over.

    1) I am my brother and sisters keeper and I allowed certain family issues that really fell on my mom to be my issue and it caused a lot of emotional turmoil and at times my grades suffered. I wish that I would have learned that I couldn’t always save the world even if the were related to me.

    2) I do wish that I would have went to a HBCU. I was lucky to go to the PWI that I did that had a program that fed me culturally but sometimes I feel as if I did miss out.

    3) I wish that I would have went to grad school earlier.

    1. madscientist7 Post author

      feeling obligated to save family is something i deal with daily. i’m so different from anyone in my family that its hard for me to see eye to eye with a lot of them. i love them unconditionally and want the best for them but i still struggle with that. it becomes hard sometimes when you feel like you’ve taken on the role of parent.

  5. Silent Scorpion

    If there was one thing that I’d do differently if presented the opportunity, is ask my mother all the questions that can’t ever be answered by anyone else. The selfish part of me would also liked to have taken a more roll in preventing the bad habits that contributed to her untimely death. But if I couldn’t change that, I’d spend more time getting to know her. Because I was so young, I didn’t know then what I know now.

    1. madscientist7 Post author

      i dread the day that i no longer have my parents in my life. sometimes i don’t appreciate them as much as i should. i think this is the case with most parent/child relationships. when they’re gone i’m going miss them dearly. especially my mother even though she works my nerves sometimes.

  6. Ashlee Brown

    As much as we like to say “the past is in the past” I am sure that most have at least thought about a few things they would fix, even though we know everything happens for a reason.
    1. Maybe because I am stuck here right now writing my thesis but I most def regret going back to school so soon. I should’ve taken my time in deciding what it was I wanted to do. Yes, I’m glad I came bc I met friends, but I wish I had went for something else.
    2. I think most of us have a relationship that we think “if only I had…” mine happens to be “I wish I had followed my gut instinct when I thought he was cheating (bc he was) and talked to that guy I was very interested in that approached me at the jazz club…”
    3. I sometimes wonder how my life owuld be different had I went to a PWI as well…my dad wanted me to go to Harvard but I didn’t see myself going so far away from home. I didn’t like the ppl at Vandy, and I wanted to go where my family had went…even though TSU wasn’t offering me money like other schools. The money eventually came but I wonder sometimes, “what if?”

    1. madscientist7 Post author

      i think in the end you’ll be glad you went straight through school. i know a lot of people say once you stop school and start working its hard to go back to school. apparently life gets in the way.

      as far as your number 2. if you replace he with she and jazz club with “good friend” then we would be saying the exact same thing.

      1. Ashlee Brown

        I think my thoughts on school are that I prob won’t use my second degree that much. Especially if I do what I want to do. It did, however, give me time to stay home and meet the people necessary to make what I really want to do come true, which prob wouldn’t have happened if I were in OKC working (where I had my last job interview). I would prob be content with my job making a nice salary n lost what it is that truly makes me happy. During the struggle of school I found that …so I guess it is a double edged sword.

        I’m sure you regret it but know that things always work out for the better. And when you realize/meet who your wife will be, you will understand why everything happened the way it did:-)

  7. Corrin

    You really are my pc/brother b/c we clearly think alike and usually at the same time! The feeling/emotion of regret is as natural as rain on a cloudy day. We as humans are not perfect,we make bad decisions, poor decisions, and flat out wrong decisions. The trick is to learn from them and not make the same mistakes twice. I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason and we all learn/mature (yes i think decisions are a sign of our maturity) at the right time and what is meant to be will be. I think if you were meant to be with that ex then you would have had the epiphany to not be selfish at that time. I think if you were meant to go to a PWI you would have been there and though your brother didn’t go to college, you never know what lessons he is learning now that college would have never taught him. I think the ability to look at the past and figure out what role you played in the decisions you made in life is the true beauty of regret/reflection. Now on to your proposed qt,lol. I currently have 3 overall regrets:

    1) HS/College involvement- I didn’t do shit in HS or college except go to class and party. I often wish I had played sports or gotten involved in student government. It wasn’t until I got to grad school that I became involved in student affairs/campus activities and I have loved every second of it.

    2) Not deeming myself worthy- Growing up, I was told that as long as I was overweight I would never be happy romantically and no man would ever want me. Though I never had trouble making male friends, getting bf or keeping them I always thought in the back of my mind I wasn’t good enough. This feeling of “not good enough” also caused me to stick around in some situation for fear of not finding another and it caused me to not enter some situations.It wasn’t until i was 25 that I actually started to come out of this……

    and 3) 1st yr of Grad School- I was SO IMMATURE (no romeo) my 1st year I made some silly mistakes that cost me time in grad school. Though I didn’t get put out, I did face major set-backs which I can’t help but think are the reasons i’m still here

    1. madscientist7 Post author

      we’re here pc >>>__<<<

      i'm going to do you like you did me. lol perhaps in college/high school you weren't actively involved because it would make you appreciate it more once you got to grad school. me? by the time i got to meharry i was pretty much over it. i understand the not deeming yourself worthy. although i'm not overweight i had my own issues i was insecure with. call it the ugly duckling syndrome. it allowed you to cultivate your personality. i don't know what you were doing your first year. you were kinda wildin. lol j/k

  8. Kat Webb (@KatWebb84)

    I’m of the mind that our mistakes are as big a part of who we are and become as our successes, and so I hesitate to say that I would take anything back. After the initial sting of disappointment, I do tend to feel that regret and then I let it go and look for another chance to get it right.

    I often wonder what it would be like if I hadn’t slept with a few key people. Anyone who knows me AT ALL (even casually, even in PASSING, because I make it THAT known), knows I’m not into casual sex. I never have been, and until I was 25, I never even considered trying it. But then a really bad relationship ended, one where I realized my self worth and had lost a bunch of weight and I flexed my new “self” by getting with all the new dudes who were coming on to me. I didn’t go buck wild or anything. In fact, I got some regulars and, besides a few blurps here and there which shouldn’t even count, I stuck with them for the duration of my casual phase.

    But I’m not a casual girl, as I mentioned. I began to feel more. That’s not really true…I’m an overachiever, and someone who tries to please as many people as possible, so I began to wish that THEY’D feel more. I know it’s rare for men to fall for FBs, but I get rare things all the time and I thought it was only a matter of time.

    It wasn’t. NONE OF THEM fell for me. And the few men in that period that I went on actual dates with, thinking something might pan out, they didn’t fall for me either. So all my casual sex phase ended up being was how to handle rejection. Rejection even when you give something your best (which they didn’t even deserve).

    So yeah, part of me regrets feeling anything for those dudes, or trying to make them feel something for me. Because I knew all along I wasn’t into casual sex, and I know even moreso now.

    But there were a couple nice moments in there, and a couple horrible moments. Now I’m done with my casual phase after only a little over a year. Mileage is a bit higher and, besides the emotional experience, no real progress in the relationship dept. Oh well. C’est la vie.

  9. Muze

    good post.

    i’d go back and be single instead of spending my teens and most of my twenties in lonnnng relationships that didn’t encourage growth in any area. i’d go through school straight through, and not let anyone use my credit. lol

    life would be a whole lot better right now i think.

    1. madscientist7 Post author

      oh i completely forgot about the credit thing. sometimes you don’t have a choice when you’re a child. :-\ i’m so glad that my parents discouraged relationships growing up. all my friends and classmates talking bout how in love they were. people at that age don’t know shit about love.

  10. msevahoney

    Great post! I applaud your transparency.
    1. I would have asked for help for mental illness sooner
    2. I would have not stayed in unhealthy relationships just so I would not feel lonely. I want to have a healthy relationship now, but frankly I am not sure how.
    3. I would have done my core classes in community college and applied for school on the east coast.

  11. Me

    1. I would’ve been more eager when the time came to look at colleges. I accepted the first scholarship that was handed to me because I felt like there was no other choice. My father had just passed and money was tight. I thought it was my only ticket out of the city. If I could do it over again, I would’ve considered another school. I was only happy there 50% of the time.

    2. Speaking of school, I would’ve had more drive while I was in undergrad. I just picked something I was good at and majored in it. Not to say I hate writing, but I wish I’d really kept at it. Maybe I would’ve been in NYC by now, writing for Rolling Stone. I just lost motivation. Didn’t help that I was dealing with depression at the time. I think had I grown a pair and transferred to a school with a stronger program, I would’ve felt more challenged and accepted (Like Syracuse).

    3. I would’ve stood up for myself more when I was younger. I just let things roll down my back when I should’ve snapped and told folks about themselves. There were rumors started about me that were completely false, and my closest friends knew it was bullsh*t, but what hurt so much was that I’d done nothing to no one and here someone was slinging mud on my name. That hurts tremendously.

    4. I would’ve been more driven after graduation. Saved my money a bit more instead of splurging. I would’ve been better off by the time I moved if I’d been smarter about things. I made decisions too fast and crashed and burned.

    5. I would’ve gotten out of that one brief relationship much, much sooner. Like, before it even got THAT far. It was emotionally abusive, and I didn’t recognize it at the time. Luckily, it fizzled before things got worse, but it took one minor act of defiance (which I still think I was entitled to) for it to end, when really it could’ve been over and done had I, once again, grown a pair.

      1. Me

        Every time I’m in a jam, I think, “You know, I could’ve written this off by now had I NOT done that stupid s__t back in (insert year here).”

  12. CRich

    *finally out from lurking*… great post

    I am coming up on a milestone birthday celebration *25* and right now I am in a tizzy of emotions about things I wish I had done better or not done at all. “Regret” has always been a word I would try to avoid using, but as time rolls pass I find my mind wandering to that exact word accompanied by these thoughts…

    1. I regret not going to an HBCU… now while the college I attend now is great, I just think I would have had an even better experience and better life lessons to learn at an HBCU. I have honestly just did what I needed to do while here at my present school and have not felt compelled to join any type of organization. I often listen to my friends and their experiences with going to other colleges and I feel like they’ve really developed a bond not only with that particular college, but one another.

    2. I regret not taking the time out to get to know my biological dads side of the family. People always tell me it is “never too late”, but I just feel some type of way trying to get to know them now. Hopefully I will get over it and take some steps to open up.

    3. Wearing my heart on my sleeve. I have endured some tough heartbreak the past two years in regards to this. I should ultimately look at this as a life lesson, but a part of me wishes I would have known better and took some steps back. It has really affected my outlook on relationships today.

    1. Me

      I feel you on #5. The past few years were tough for me, too, but I realized that people don’t just turn trifling overnight. They let you know early on. You just choose to ignore some major red flags.

  13. maureen (@MonnaPalmer)

    Great post. The dreaded R word. I have a laundry of list of things I would have done differently. But one that is killing me softly is deciding against pharmacy school for IT degree. But I chalk up to being in a new country with no guidance.

  14. .tisha (@tishatweets)

    Good post, Tunde! You are certainly entering the period of life where most of us find ourselves doing some sort of introspective work–where have I been? Where am I now? Where am I going? For my money, these are all questions that speak to the maturity and forward thinking of an individual. Show me a person who hasn’t done any really good introspective work by at least their late 20s and I’ll show you a person destined to repeat their mistakes time after time.

    That said, I absolutely have some regrets. Some things I wish I’d done differently. Some people I wish I hadn’t bonded or shared my heart with. I’m sure there are at least a handful of bumps and bruises I could have avoided had I heeded God’s still, small voice prior to His allowing me to fall flat on my face to get my attention. I can’t think of one area of my life where I don’t have at least ONE regret. But they all serve as a good foundation for me to choose better next time.

  15. mab

    Awesome post.
    1. I regret lackadaisically throwing away a friendship that could have been salvaged with a little work.
    2. I cosign not ending a particular relationship sooner.

  16. Shondriette

    I just turned 34 and I have quite a few regrets; some big, some small.

    1) Not spending enough time with my Daddy.
    2) Not doing a semester abroad in college or law school.
    3) Not getting another degree while I was working on my J.D.
    4) Acquiring senseless debt

  17. La Grâce Personnifié (@FostersBaby)

    I don’t know if I actually have regrets as opposed to having had an extreme lack of awareness, still, I can’t help but feel regretful.

    I was raised in a strict southern household. My father and my mother were BOTH disciplinarians. Very early on, I prepared myself emotionally for college because I did not have a choice. I was raised in a black college town. My mother and father both attended HBCUs and I was exposed to both. See, being from a family where EVERYBODY holds bachelor degrees, (mostly in Education) people naturally assumed I would do the same. However, I’ve never wanted or desired to teach, still don’t.

    While I was prepared emotionally, I did nothing to prepare myself academically. When making plans to go to college and start a career, I gave no thought as to what would make me happy. I never once asked myself, how can I be a part of something that I can commit to, (even though I am a Scorpio and we are by nature, non-committal) and grow into while thriving. Not only was I (for years) out of touch with my purpose, and my essence, I was delusional about how life actually worked.

    Because of my passive approach regarding my contributions to the world, I found myself unprepared to meet this world on its terms. I thought I would magically find the right opportunity and it would fall at my feet.
    While I knew myself to be gifted at writing, I never considered it as a career path. I thought it would make me think too much and I was inherently LAZY.

    It wasn’t until very recently, I started journaling, letting people read it, and receiving more than positive reviews.

    I wish I had figured this out sooner, and I’m still not sure how it all will work out, but I’m in a better place about who I am. I constantly tell myself ‘please excuse my tardiness, I’m sorry it took me so long to get here but better late, than never’.

  18. chunk

    As someone said above, I really like your transparency in this post. I have been thinking a lot about regret… I don’t regret much… and it might be because I make very calculated decisions, but I have a few:

    I wanted to go to an HBCU for undergrad, but I didn’t because I had stacked full rides at a local state school. I regret not going to Bennett, but I do not regret missing out on all that undergraduate debt… so it may be a wash. I went ivy for grad/professional school… I don’t regret it, but I regret the amount of loans I took out to finance it. Maybe I should have gone part time or something.

    I don’t regret getting married at 20, but I do wonder how much more I would have accomplished had I not, especially considering it’s now over. I don’t think I’d feel this way if it had worked out.

    Very weirdly… I regret not having a child in my late teens. This has turned out to be a very weird feeling of regret for me right now as my cousins and friends now have children in high school… and will soon have both the pleasure of having raised children and still having a significant portion of their adulthood to “get it in.” It’s not the PC thing to say, but I had I had babies with them, I somehow think I’d be happier than I am now with the prospect of figuring it all out at this age.

    I regret not going straight into my profession after graduation. It was a risk, and it has backfired. And now I have to back track a little to get back to my profession.

  19. Up4Dsn

    This is a great post. I’m sure there are some things I would change if given the chance. I would have to seriously reflect to decide which things I would ultimately want to change. I have always believed that everything happens for a reason, but at the same time I wonder how my life would be different if I’d made different choices along this journey.

    Thanks for providing me with something to reflect on.

  20. Jessy, Jess, JS, J (@JSimmons17)

    Great post.

    Just about all of my regrets are education related:

    1. I wish I attended a regular high school instead of a specialized one. I missed out on high school basketball & football games. Although I had an amazing experience, having yoga classes for gym & having your H.S. known for producing national chess champions is not exactly the model for the classic American H.S. experience.
    2. I regret not going back to school sooner for my Masters. I feel like I am in ‘catch-up mode’. Like when I found out FAFSA was done online instead of paper…I was like..Word? When did they start doing that? LOL Talk about a learning curve. Attending a large PWI, as opposed to my small HBCU, doesn’t help…it’s like being a very small fish in a big ass fishbowl.

    Thanks for sharing!

  21. SDEE

    I’ve never been broken up with either, and yeah there’s always that one relationship i wished i had relaxed and asked the right questions instead of letting it fizzle out.

    My mom lived in a different state that i went to school in,she requested i transfer a year before school year,but i didnt ( senior year hype) i wished i did cos she passed a year later.. could have been 365 days of memories

    Wish i took my GRE test when i was in school and my brain was still fresh…. studing after work sucks


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