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AIBU to ask if you sometimes look back and think "If only I ...."

(40 Posts)
anyhue Fri 26-Aug-16 16:55:24

All things considered I'm happy enough with where I'm at in life (health, relationships, finance, ..etc...), and in a better place than many people I know. In some ways I've been lucky, but some very bad things happened along the way too.

However, I sometimes look back and think "If only I had ..." I thinking of examples where the decision seemed minor at the time but has larger consequences.

Example, I had a chance to work abroad for a few months, didn't take it, and it would have led me on a very different path in life (for better or worse).

Anyone else look back and think "If only I..."

tinsheddy Fri 26-Aug-16 16:56:16


HolesInTheFloor Fri 26-Aug-16 16:59:40

On my way to work I drive past a house we very nearly bought. I always imagine another me pulling out of the drive as real me drives past it.

Willow2016 Fri 26-Aug-16 17:12:20

Too much to think about. sad
If I could give my 20yr old self a real good talking to and confidence boost I would.

MelanieCheeks Fri 26-Aug-16 17:18:14

Rarely. I am where I am, because of the choices I made. Unless there are any "lessons to be learned", then there's little point on going "if only".

ShotsFired Fri 26-Aug-16 17:20:24

I was trying to concisely articulate what my "if only..." would be, but Willow has nailed it with "If I could give my 20yr old self a real good talking to and confidence boost I would." because pretty much everything I was thinking of boils down to that.

I wasted (still am to a good degree) so much time on worrying and fretting and disliking so much about myself.

TeenAndTween Fri 26-Aug-16 17:49:34

I do it with respect to my daughters.
If only I had pushed for a SEN assessment earlier
If only I had recognised her emotional turmoil earlier
If only I had ....

2kids2dogsnosense Sat 27-Aug-16 20:53:10

Same as Willow

And I would have worked a bloody sight harder at school.

And I would have enjoyed my children's babyhood more.

And I would never get our ginger cats who (luvverley as they are - and I do adore them) slaughter everything that moves - up to, and including a seagull.

(However, I would probably get extra dogs to make up for it - they are useful to blame my er, wind, on grin.

SukiPutTheEarlGreyOn Sat 27-Aug-16 21:47:11

I would've taken the leap to house buy much earlier and would've set up uni bank accounts for DC when they were teeny if I'd had a crystal ball and known free higher ed would vanish for the millennium babes. Oh, and would have followed through with the vague plans DH and I had in early married life to emigrate to Canada as it would've been another grand adventure.

idontevencare Sat 27-Aug-16 22:04:48

If only I hadn't lifted that heavy box when I was pregnant...I went into labour 10 hours later at 28 weeks. It probably wasn't the cause but I'll never know. If I hadn't done it I wouldn't be able to question if the blame should lay with me.

If only I hadn't missed a few doses of progesterone in my second pregnancy. I was showing signs of premature labour and prescribed progesterone. I missed a few doses and went into labour at 33 weeks. t probably wasn't the cause but I'll never know. If I hadn't missed them I wouldn't be able to question if the blame should lay with me.

daisychain01 Sat 27-Aug-16 22:17:59

I don't dwell on stuff because anytime I've felt like crap about myself and had low esteem it has enabled me to pull myself together and become stronger.

The only "if only...." Thought I have is that I wish I had been able to understand and cope with my DBro's MH issues better maybe I could have helped him more. But back in the day, there wasn't nearly as much public information available out there as there is now, at least in the past 5-6 years.

AGirlCalledJohnny Sat 27-Aug-16 22:24:42

flowers idonteven

I don't believe in regrets unless I've done something to hurt someone. However, with regards to where I am in life, I'm happy in the here and now, and all the wrong turns and the right ones led to here so how can I regret them?

starchildareyoulistening Sat 27-Aug-16 22:34:40

I sometimes find myself tracing back long trails of "if" - if this hadn't happpened then that would have gone differently, which would have meant that never happened, and I wouldn't be in this situation now... but I try to stop myself from thinking along these lines because it's ultimately a waste of energy and I can't change things that have already happened.

ProfessorPickles Sat 27-Aug-16 22:46:49

The only one that springs to mind is I always wonder, "If only I'd stayed single throughout my teens". I would've had more fun, spent less time feeling self conscious and maybe made better long term friends.

But ultimately, if I hadn't my son would never have existed as I met his father through the boyfriend I was with from 13 to 17.

hefzi Sat 27-Aug-16 23:30:21

I think it's a PG Wodehouse quote (I know it doesn't sound like it!) but it's something about "if only" and "too late" being the saddest phrases in the English language. flowers to OP and all those with regrets or unanswered questions.

There are things, with hindsight, I wouldn't have done - absolutely: but then, I wouldn't be who I am now if I didn't have that particular backstory. That said, I don't particularly like who I am or where I am. But I think dwelling on the forks in the road where I could have made a different choice would have left me with an even greater load of tablets to take every night! At the end of the day, though, if we had changed that one thing, we don't know what else might have changed as a result - so it's impossible to assume any different outcome than the one we already know about.

albertcampionscat Sat 27-Aug-16 23:35:27

'The saddest words of tongue or pen are these: it might have been'. Bertie Wooster quotes that a lot. My main regret is not having a Jeeves.

RJnomore1 Sat 27-Aug-16 23:41:47

No I don't. There are decisions I made in the past that I would not make low, but no one eve consciously makes a bad decision. It's against natural order to make a bad decision deliberately, we all do the best we can with the resources we have at that time.

Plus I've been through a lot and I'm pretty strong and I can do a hell of a lot of things and it's been the life I lived that made me who I am.

Madness lies in self blame. I do though learn from where I could have done things better. Usually 😁

peppersaunt Sat 27-Aug-16 23:46:25

Now that DD is older my one biggest regret is not going back to work after maternity leave.

Boogers Sat 27-Aug-16 23:46:49

I do try not to dwell on things that have been, but if there is one 'if only' it is 'if only I hadn't left school at 16', because I would have a (free) degree and a career by now and hopefully much better off financially. I've told my children they leave school at 16 over my dead body.

Cocklodger Sat 27-Aug-16 23:48:02

If only I hadn't gone into that computer room with him alone.
I wouldn't have been destroyed emotionally.
My family wouldn't had been torn apart.
I wouldn't have had a mental breakdown that no one understood in a 14yo.
I would have gotten my GCSE's (Aforementioned mental breakdown put a stop to that. Mum was a single mum on benefits. could not afford a private resit either) saddest thing for me is I was predicted A*/A's across the board and really think I could've done it sad
telling someone in a cryptic and anonymous yet highly depressing way.

cocklodger Sat 27-Aug-16 23:48:24

*yet a highly depressing way, helped

albertcampionscat Sun 28-Aug-16 06:33:04

Cocklodger, flowers

SickInBedOnTwoChairs Sun 28-Aug-16 06:43:25

I wish I had not followed so doggedly the 'career' path I did. I could have done so much better for myself. I wish I had listened at school but I barely went. I wish the staff (or adults around me generally) had realised what I was dealing with at home and there had been some sort of intervention.

CuttedUpPear Sun 28-Aug-16 06:52:58

flowers for the posters here with such sad regrets.

I've just finished reading a fabulous book by Kate Atkinson called Life After Life where the protagonist is able to go back and change minor things that altered the course of her life.
She actually has to do it again and again before any satisfactory conclusion is brought about.

It's a brilliant book and it gave me a little comfort with my own regrets in that many, many things affect our destinies.

That said, I have loads of 'what ifs' and dwell on them too much.

EarthboundMisfit Sun 28-Aug-16 07:02:39

Every day!

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