Things That I Regret From My Younger Years

By Issy Goode - 20:13

I used to always be a big believer in not having regrets, but one day I thought, who am I kidding? It's so hard not to regret things. Whether it's something you should have done, or something you wish you hadn't, regrets are quite simply a near unavoidable part of life. Whether you say yes to everything, or say no - how do you know which one is really the right answer?

As a 22 year old,  I don't have many regrets, but most of the regrets I do still harbour lie within my teenage years, as I'm sure they do for many!

So, here goes...

I regret never getting braces - I was offered braces when I was younger, free on the oh so wonderful NHS, and what did I do? I said no. I witnessed my older sister, who's 5 years my senior, go through the pain of having braces. She was limited on the amount of chocolate and sweets she could eat (well realistically I don't think she was supposed to have any) and she complained about the aches and pains. I also witnessed many of my friends go through the wonder years of braces, and whilst straight teeth appealed to me, the timeline and experiences of actually having them didn't seem all that worth it to me at the time. 

And now, of course, upon reflection, I'd do anything to have braces for free on the NHS. I greatly regret my decision, and part of me wishes my parents hadn't been so liberal in letting me make my own choices when it came to doing or not to doing certain things. I know that I can still get braces, but for the prices they are without the NHS having my back, it'll be a few years off before I'm earning enough to make that a priority. 

I regret not accepting my body - it's not something I tend to admit a lot, but I had a hugely hard time accepting this ol' body of mine as a teenager. I feel like almost all teenagers experience this, male or female, and whether it's not feeling right in your own skin or just not being happy with the size you are, body hang ups are different for everyone.  In my teenage years I felt like my body still looked that of a slightly overweight child. I never felt like I was becoming a woman, I didn't have curves in the right places, and both my boobs and bum seemed flat as a pancake. I tried to exercise and eat right, but I tended to prefer fun over being cautious about what I ate and what I did to burn it off. Of course, now I've educated myself on health and fitness a little more I understand that it's not about restricting your lifestyle to such an extent that it's no longer enjoyable. 

Had I perhaps learnt to accept myself at a younger age, maybe I would have treated my body better.

I regret not having a better attitude - I remember when I was rolling into the teenage years my Dad always used to call me out on my 'bad attitude'. Of course, I'd response with an eye roll, a big sigh and likely slump off to my room. Or sometimes, I'd argue against my bad attitude...with a bad attitude. I wasn't a tough teenager, at least I don't think I was, but I was always very flippant towards everything. I'd sit in mock GCSE exams and cover my arms in artistic doodles instead of actually trying to take a test paper. I focused more on my friendships and flings than I did my own education on some occasions, and whilst clearly it hasn't hindered my educational achievements, I just regret not trying a little bit harder.

I regret letting boys get in the way of my friendships - Because, as I said above, I never really liked my body or felt like I was an attractive girl, I went a bit weak at the knees anytime a boy would pay me attention. It was desperate in a way, in almost every way, in fact, but because of this I often became absorbed in my own little world with him. Whilst I wouldn't now like to say a bad word about one of my long-term exes, the time we spent together did drive some of my friends away. It wasn't just that he didn't like me hanging out with a particular male best friend, but more so because we just felt like we wanted to be together all the time. I'd immerse myself in these relationships and miss out on seeing my friends and important personal life events of their's, all because I was utterly wrapped up in myself and my 'love-life'.

On that note, I regret being so selfish and taking people for granted - I don't consider myself to be a selfish person. I enjoy putting other people's needs ahead of my own, buying them gifts and I enjoy doing things for others but I certainly wasn't always like that. I'd borrow things off my friends and never return them - it was always a genuine accident, but once I had actually forgotten who it belonged to, I'd just leave it lying around my room. Or I'd borrow things and borrow them for far longer than my friend had expected. I lost a close friend over my selfish attitude as a teen. She was, at the time, the one person who kept my world spinning. She'd cook wonderful meals for me, she'd laugh with me, she'd record Teen Mom so we could watch it during study leave. We were inseparable. And sometimes I treated her like shit, so she finally stood up for herself and gave me what for. We're no longer friends now, which still hurts me a little.

I regret not being nicer to my parents - again, I wasn't a horrible teenager, but when I reflect upon all the moaning and groaning I did as a teen, all the 'life is so unfair' declarations (said in my head more than out loud) - I soon ponder what it was like for my parents, and I can quite confidently draw the conclusion that it wasn't easy. I was never the type to turn and say horrible things to them, but with my party antics and 2 week sleepovers at friends, they sure did worry about where I was a lot. I did crazy things like sleeping in an abandoned quarry, walking 8 miles to the beach and going for a skinny dip, sleeping by the local river without a tent, and beach party after beach party. Growing up in Cornwall there were 1. Plenty of opportunities for an expedition & 2. Not a lot around for a growing teen to do. We made our own fun, and a lot of the time it probably had our parents worried sick.

My chilled parents taking a break at St Michaels Mount
So this is a public apology to my Mum and Dad. If I ever worried you, karma will probably bite me in the arse if I have children of my own.

I regret not learning my limits - this applies to university more than anytime of my life, but boy did I take over the top drunk way over the top. I was wild during some occasions at university and I'd always try drink everyone under the table. Sometimes, I did a pretty solid job of it. But did I remember it all the next day? Did I hell. Whilst I had an amazing time at university, I do wonder, had I perhaps learnt my limits or just taken it easy, I may have remembered more and made some mistakes that could have easily been avoided. But hey, who hasn't woken up after at least one night declaring they will never drink again and regretting everything from the night before?

Plenty of people probably haven't, but they are a lot wiser than I am.

My list of little regrets goes on, but of course, I don't let anything hold me back. Whilst I regret losing friends and not learning from my mistakes, I've come to realise that actually, regrets aren't as harmful as I once viewed them.

I used to be very adamant that you shouldn't ever have regrets, but as I said at the beginning, how's that possible? In some situations, you simply don't know which way it's going to go. You can't say yes to every opportunity, because you may even regret that decision. I clearly haven't always done what was right, and I take these experiences on board. Regrets are all a part of living and learning.

Is there anything silly or simple that you still regret?

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  1. A very thoughtful piece Issy. Regrets and mistakes are the only way we move forward to become a better person. Everyone has their list but not all brave enough to publish it. Well done you. I am a very proud Auntie. Xxxx

    1. Thank you! Exactly, there's no need to dwell on them! Lots of love xxxx


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