I read a survey last week. It was about "The Nation's Top Regrets." Apparently the three biggest regrets that Brits harbour are:
- Not learning to play a musical instrument
- Not going to university
- Not following a different career path
It got me thinking about stuff that I regret. I don't know much about therapy, but I imagine that once you face up and admit what you really regret you can sort it out. All of my major regrets centre on my time in the States, I was there from 24 - 30 so pretty formative years really.
1. Not travelling around odd bits of non-coastal America more.
I did quite a lot of exploring "real" America, but as I was single for a lot of my time in the States I was really nervous, not about travelling alone, but actually about driving a car alone and having to do things like map-read and park without moral and physical support.
2. Not dating more in New York.
I met Francois my lovely French husband in a bar on Avenue B so New York had its up-sides for me romantically, but for the first couple of years I was enjoying myself so much that I somehow forgot to date. The rules of dating all seemed so complex that it out me off a bit (in fact I wrote about this in a feature for FT) and anyway I was happy getting drunk with friends, staying out late and eating in grotty all-night diners.
3. Not writing more, or recording my time better
I wish that I had done more journalism about my time in New York, being part of the Internet boom and bust and being there for 9/11. I think that I was probably too busy living life to record life, I probably thought that it wouldn't be interesting to anyone else.
I really like the site Future Me and think that this could help dealing with and learning from past regrets. Future Me allows you to write and then send your Future You an email - you pick the date, it could be 1 year, 10 years, 20 years or more. You can send yourself an email about anything you like. I think that I need to send my Future Me an email to remind myself to not to worry so much - about map-reading, or understanding the rules of dating or about whether my thoughts and observations were interesting enough. Maybe it's a good lesson for Present Me as well as Future Me.