While I rarely engage in regret-fests, there are things I do wish I had done differently now that I know what I know, so to speak. I’m still pretty sure that, like all of us, I did the best I could at the time, given the information and resources available to me, except for…
1. I dumped a boyfriend without a good explanation in my teens. He deserved better. He was a good person. I was being stalked by a very scary person, and I excused myself from all regrets at the time, believing that I was doing my best to get him out of harm’s way – didn’t want the stalker to target him. It really wasn’t an altruistic move, even though I thought so then. It was cowardly, and I would have been better served to confide in people and let them help me out. I was too busy trying to isolate the problem and didn’t look in the right places for answers. I really think I ought to have let him make the choice for himself; he was not a feckless person and probably would have chosen to go on his merry way until things were more advantageous. I hurt his feelings badly, and when I was finally able to apologize to him, 16 years later (!) I felt better, he felt better, and it straightened out over a decades’ worth of misunderstandings.
2. I’d have gotten more second opinions from doctors. I wasn’t raised to do that – the doctor might be insulted! As a consequence, I’ve had some bad medical advice over the years – from morons with medical licenses, from male chauvinists, from generally oblivious doctors, and the like. I am still more reluctant than I like to be in this regard. I honestly don’t know how to read my own reactions well enough to decide if I need to seek a second opinion. I can remember some spectacularly bad advice – one doctor recommended an all-vegetarian diet and particularly abjured protein sources. I actually tried that for a couple of months until I was too tired to lift my arms and couldn’t stand the sight of cabbage or tomatoes for quite some time.
Another doctor, when I went in after I had had my third child and my husband had a vasectomy, advised me that there was nothing he could do about my diastasis recti unless I were voluntarily sterilized because (this is a real beaut) I might get divorced, and I might remarry, and I might choose to have another kid with the new hubby. I was stunned speechless at the time, and so was my ob/gyn that I went to see yesterday to talk about it. I was also hamstrung by HMO/insurance requirements at the time. So, here I am, 13.5 years after the fact, suffering the consequences of taking advice from a chauvinist idiot. Pfui! Sometimes, I really piss myself off!
3. I’d have gotten more babysitters while the kids were little. I don’t care if I went out somewhere with hubs or not, I needed the time away, and I didn’t get it. I lost the chance to get into the groove of taking better care of myself early on in the motherhood experience, and it’s taken me more years than I like to admit to find my way back there again. I can list all the excuses still – not enough money, too tired, nowhere to actually go to, etc. I still feel I could have done it differently, and it might have worked out better for all of us.
4. I’d have thrown more of other people’s stuff away, then thrown more of my own stuff out, too. Right now, I’m in a house awash with other people’s crap. My husband even built a barn to store more of his crap in. I hope I die first because I do not want to spend my senior years sifting through other people’s crap. I’m hoping I can get my kids to take all, and I mean ALL, of their crap with them when they move out and move on. So, that’s 3 rooms. That’s not going to come anywhere near solving the problem, though.
When I did finally start sneaking around behind my husband’s back (I was really mad at him at the time) and threw out t-shirts that would no longer fit him and were too embarrassingly threadbare to be passed on, he never noticed. I don’t think he has the slightest mental inventory of his load of crap. I’m not sure my kids will even admit to ownership of some of their junk, even though it’s pretty clear that the manga magazine things and orange stuffed elephants and notebooks full of doodles and notes on who’s mean or nice or a good or bad teacher are not mine or my husband’s.
And, I’ve got no call to stand on a pedestal myself, since I’m still working on moving out a boxful of my own junk each month. I hope that when it’s time to haul me off to the nursing home, I’ll have no more than a few changes of clothes, some knitting needles and yarn, and one set of books I could re-read until I wear the words off the pages.
5. Moving beyond easy commuting distance from a big city. I don’t like it. I’ve learned to live with it, but I miss being either in a big city or near enough to get there by train or bus. I find myself isolated, grumpy, and physically lazy. Yeah, I moved with my spouse, following his jobs, but I could have protested harder, we could have compromised. I miss taking trips easily into the city to visit museums, plays, big stores, parks, etc. I’m an hour away from a train that’s over an hour away from the city. I could drive in in the same amount of time, but at that point it’s become an all day JOURNEY, not a trip that could easily be part of a day with other things in it, too. And, when something gets to be that big of a hassle, I find alternatives. Ick.
Well, I’m done whacking myself over the head, and I’m going to go off and find some things to do that I do enjoy and hopefully won’t regret in the future! AAAARGH!
(PS – I just read another rant against blogs. Geez, do those people ever realize they’re no more obliged to read blogs than they are to watch endless re-runs of Mythbusters? Move on, peeps!)