10 things I regret from my late teens to early twenties
When I entered adulthood at 18 and even in my early twenties, being in my thirties seemed decades away! It seemed so mature and so far in the future. Now I’m 33 and my thirties arrived in a flash! Life with a husband, work and kids is so busy that time passes quicker than I could ever have imagined. It’s only at this point in my life with so many responsibilities that I realise how much freedom, money and time I had pre-kids. Back then I always thought I was skint and always thought I was busy. Oh how I now laugh at my pre-kid self!
With kids, a mortgage and a husband, I now have responsibilities and have to stay put. I need to be good at managing finances, organising four schedules and cannot just nip off for a weekend away or week’s holiday as I have children to care for and school term times to contend with. It’s now that I realise how much more I should have done in my twenties and the wiser decisions I should have made to better prepare myself for the future as well as take advantage of all that freedom I once had.
Here are 10 things I regret from my late teens to early twenties:
Not travelling more
This is probably my biggest regret. I long to travel the world now, but responsibilities mean I can’t for now and will have to wait until the children are older or even when I retire! If only I had realised how much freedom I had to do this when I was younger. I worked a job I loved and thought I’d be there forever, so I was too nervous to ever leave it. Now I realise things change and life’s plans change and I should have just had the courage to save up, quit my job and go travelling!
Related: Obscure travel destinations bucket list
Staying in the wrong relationships
I had a few relationships that I just knew deep down were never going to work out. Relationships where we argued every other day. Of course, I guess I learnt a lot from these relationships and I was no angel in them, so maybe it’s taught me more about what works and who I don’t want to be. Still, I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time trying to make these relationships work when they were clearly going nowhere.
Related: How to keep a relationship strong after having kids
Always seeking love
This ties in nicely with the last point and I wish I’d spent more time just hanging out with friends and not worrying about always finding love and needing to be in a relationship. Even when I went out with my friends it was always an agenda of mine that I might meet ‘the one’ that night. I wish I had just spent more valuable time with my friends instead of always trying to seek out my other half. When I was in a relationship it sometimes consumed me and I wasn’t always a great friend because of it. I wish I’d had the confidence to go out with my friends more even when I was in a relationship and wasn’t afraid of having my own life too.
Another huge regret is always thinking I had no money, but in reality I did have plenty for my circumstances. I got into terrible debt and should have been more careful! I always had FOMO (fear of missing out) and so if people were going for drinks after work or for a night out, then I’d always be there. I’d never say no and just enjoy a night in! I spent far too much money on things I did not need like the latest fashionable clothes, cigarettes and alcohol. That’s where the majority of my cash went after rent and bills. I’d always think I was skint and didn’t earn enough, but in fact I just had poor spending habits.
I also never saved anything. Instead I spent more than I earned and got into terrible debt very early on. Instead I should have worked out my incomings and outgoings properly, then budgeted for each month making sure I spent less than I earned and saved a proportion each month. I never ever saved any money and always spent every last penny and then some. I should have started a savings account and pension when I was in my twenties and had some disposable income. It’s only now I’m in my thirties that I’ve realised the value of not spending everything I earn and have started saving for my future.
Related: Why saving an emergency fund is a great idea
Partying too much
I definitely spent too much money on a party lifestyle and also probably seriously affected my health! Though I am very healthy now and feel fit and active, I do wonder if I did cause any lasting damage from drinking too much alcohol and smoking for ten years. I often stayed up all night, especially when the nightclubs were allowed to stay open until 4am and would eat junk food, drink way too much alcohol and smoke a couple of packs of cigarettes on each night out. Yuck! Some weeks I’d have a few nights out… I thought it was fun at the time and did not think of the consequences to my health or wallet.
It’s so crazy to think I smoked for ten years of my life. I am totally anti-smoking now. I hate being close to those who smoke and I hate being behind people in the street who smoke. Stop giving me and others cancer with your bad habit! I don’t know what I was thinking, aside from it being an addiction and that my only excuse, but it’s a disgusting habit that can have serious health consequences and I hope I haven’t given myself any from all those years of lighting up.
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Caring about what other people think
I wish I’d had the confidence to be myself more. Even in my twenties I’d want friends or boyfriends to like me so I’d agree with what they said, say the same phrases as them or pretend I didn’t like a certain food just to try and impress them and feel like I belonged. It was due to a lack of self-belief and self-confidence and I really wish I’d have just stayed true to myself.
Not having a hobby
It’s only in my thirties, and late twenties, that I have discovered a few things I am deeply passionate about. I love writing, making money online, yoga, running, healthy living and plant based living. Back in my late teens and early twenties I didn’t have anything I felt particularly passionate about and I didn’t have any hobbies. It’s probably through this boredom that I always went out partying as I had nothing else that I enjoyed doing. I really wish I’d tried out a few different sports, exercises and skills to find something I loved and to give myself an aim and focus on something that I could have become really good at.
Getting random tattoos
I have five ‘proper’ tattoos and a sixth which is half there. The sixth was my name in small italic letters on the side of my foot. I let my friend, who wanted to be a tattoo artist, do this when he got his first tattoo kit. The idea was the skin replenishes so much there that it should come off, but we didn’t do it low enough. Now half the tattoo has come away and half is still there making it just look like some black dirt on the side of my foot from a distance!
My other tattoos are OK, but they are not what I’d choose to have now. They are all different and all not representative of me now. I think that’s the problem with choosing to have a tattoo is that even if I picked to have a tattoo today that I feel strongly represents who I am, it might not fit with who I am in ten years or so. I am changing and growing all the time.
If you are considering getting a tattoo then you should definitely have a good think about it before you make the decision. There are options to have it removed nowadays, as these videos below will show you, but some colours are not so easy to remove, so it’s not always as simple as choosing to have it removed in the future as you might not be able to!
Watch these videos about tattoo removal to get an idea of what’s involved and what can be achieved:
If you are considering tattoo removal, then here are two locations that offer the service in central London:
5 Percy Street
Tel: 0207 205 4085
1st Floor, Peek House,
20 Eastcheap, London
Tel: 0207 523 5158
Hopefully I won’ have a long list of regrets for my thirties! But also, it's important to make mistakes and learn from them. That's how to grow and develop. So really, we probably shouldn't have any regrets, but learn from what we've done and be better in the future!