I'd have kept going to the track.
It certainly is a legitimate response to point out that those mistakes you've made in the past have helped make you the person who recognizes them for what they were, and that regardless you can't change the past. This is hardly a "platitude," and stimulates thought...just not the thought some want to see.
It's also legitimate to play with this thread as a game, and in some instances (Robert's for example) provide thoughtful and even poignant responses. Games are usually supposed to be fun, but it's amazing how brittle the fun in this thread has, at times, been.
Way back in '77 I started computer programming for what was then New
England Telephone. It was a good stable job at a good stable company.
The future looked bright.
Of course, I left.
I joined Wang Laboratories and the ride got wild and bumpy. Wang went
up fast and came down faster. I was smart enough to leave before Wang
went paws-up. I joined a small start-up. That was fun but scary. I bailed
before it went bankrupt. This happened again with another company and
again I stayed one step ahead.
I thought I was both nimble and savvy until I got a job that was almost
too good. Three other guys and I were given a blank whiteboard and some
ideas to use new router chip technology. We built a product from
the ground up. Time of your life, huh, kid? The rub was that this was
the telecom industry and that bubble was about to burst. I knew
something bad was coming, but I was having too much fun. I even
survived three lay-offs. I was leading a charmed life. Until I wasn't.
I was laid off and out of work for four months. It doesn't sound that bad,
but it left a mark on me that is still there. I found a new job through a
former boss. Less pay and less fun, but I stayed put. I'm still there.
I should've started a new job search once I saw what was coming at the
Well played, Finn! A commentary on the commentary on the commentary of the thread! That'll be hard to top!
I regret not having put my mother on a camel and sent her hurtling off across the desert. Although I don't know who I could ever have achieved it, she hated going abroad. Malta was the furthest she ever got and she thought that was too hot so she never would have gone to Egypt. So I'll only be able to imagine the look of grim death on her face as she pounds past the pyramids.
I suppose I could have put her on the back of a donkey at Scarborough and whacked it's arse, but it's still not the same. I doubt I could have got her on a donkey anyway, she didn't like them.
I would have learned a trade, i.e. electrician, plumber, HVAC and worked 8 hrs a day and come home each day and found something to do to enjoy myself with, i.e. fishing, biking, gardening instead of trying to make a lot of money and working 80-100 hours a week.
This is a difficult exercise for me. I've spent a lifetime rejecting the notion that the road not taken might have been a better road. Two or three times in the past I've made a major life decision and second-guessed myself on it at the beginning thinking, "I hope I'm making the right choice." Then, I'd quickly stop the thoughts with, "It's the right choice now, because it's the one you made." Moving to Chicago from Vt was one such time. Becoming a mother was another. Leaving the corporate world and starting my own home-based consulting company was a third. Those are the big three and I definitely wouldn't change any of those decisions. My typical response to someone asking me about regrets is, "My life only moves in one direction -- forward."
Those were all major life choices. There are some smaller ones that I might do differently, if I had them to do over again, including taking better care of my body and overall health such as:
My knees are **** and will eventually need to be replaced. They don't like carrying the load I ask of them. 20 years of yo-yo dieting has taken it's toll. My diet is sporadically excellent and awful. I'd be more consistent there and avoid all the swings.
I would have skipped being 14. I'm not sure how one pulls that off, but being 14 sucked. Life would have been better if I could have skipped it altogether.
Like Rob, I would have liked to discover meditation and peaceful solitude much earlier in life.
Interesting thought process... thank, eb.
I relate. I won't post all about it right now, but probably when I'm in the mood manana or some time later. The problem will be to pick out where I wouldn't actually do the same thing over again, which will take some considering.