Since becoming a mom I’ve taken some time to reflect on my past and it got me thinking about some of my biggest regrets and how I view them now. I don’t feel I have many regrets but 3 really stuck out in my head while reflecting.
1. Slacking off in school
Slacking off in school is my first biggest regret.
I know, I know this must be something everyone my age says, but hear me out.
Before becoming a mom, I was content to think that I did the best I could with the situation I was given. However, reflecting back, it was my slacking that got me into my situation in the first place. I focused on the pleasures such as working, shopping, and going on dates. School wasn’t a priority and I really regret it.
My slacking in my studies delayed my graduation. I felt drained during my last few semesters studying and ultimately it let to more slacking. Luckily my grades did not suffer, but it was a difficult time.
I want to encourage my daughter to do her very best because I feel that my slacking closed many doors for me. My dad would always say to me, “study hard now (my high school and college years), your mind will never be as sharp as it is now. So, learn, grow in knowledge and work to keep your mind sharp”. Such words of wisdom I wish I had heeded.
It’s never too late to start learning or engaging yourself in something new. One of my favorite learning sites is Khan Academy! This website is great for students and adults alike. There are video lectures that are great for learning and it’s free. An organization committed to providing education and resources for everyone who wants to learn.
2. Missing out on travel opportunities
Of course, not everyone feels the same, but I take great value in travel. I love traveling to new locations and becoming immersed in the culture. You get to learn about the people of the country you’re visiting and maybe if you’re lucky, experience the culture like a local.
I always thought I would stay somewhere foreign long term, but that never happened and my husband loves Vancouver. He says its the “best city in the world” and he always wants to come home to it after traveling. So long term in a foreign place seems like something I can cross off my list.
I wish I took advantage of the travel opportunities that were available during my college years. “Do a semester in China!” “Teach English in Korea” “Teachers wanted in Japan” “Study a year at our sister school in Germany”
*** Cue deep sigh ***
So many opportunities I didn’t have the courage to take. I am thankful that I got to go on many short term mission trips with my church. We went to Nicaragua, Thailand, LA. I know LA isn’t foreign when you’re living in Canada, but still a travel opportunity.
I want Madison to travel as much as she can. Take-in other cultures and learn to have appreciation and tolerance of other traditions and languages.
3. Letting myself be bullied
This is my third and biggest regret. Fair warning, it’s about to get real honest.
Not long ago, I went through a season of severe bullying. It left me utterly broken, defeated and feeling like I was worthless. It really changed me in the worst ways. This person tore me down multiple times daily. It felt like the mental and emotional equivalent of being beaten with a metal baseball bat. Before the wound had a chance to heal, I was getting beaten again.
I had never encountered such a person. This person took out their racism, frustrations of work and home, and their inadequacies on me. When things didn’t work out, it was immediately my lack of effort, passion, and knowledge that was to blame. They crushed my dreams daily, always jabbing at my shortcomings and how they will be the reason for my failures in life.
You’re probably thinking, why I didn’t report this person to a supervisor or HR or something. Believe me when I say that back then I truly believed that reporting these incidences would actually have made the situation worse. I still believe this. The mental and emotional beatings that I endured left me timid and just wanting to get out without any more issues. I knew the end of this season was coming and I didn’t want to make it worse.
Looking back now as I am slowly healing from the trauma, I wish I had the strength in mind and heart to do something. I wish I stood up to this person: gave them a piece of my mind or even reported them, knowing fully that they could have broken me beyond recovery.
This person is bullying others. I know it. The level of mental and emotional abuse I endured tells me that it wasn’t their first time. Their bullying methods are likely more aggressive and violent now. I regret not helping another person who might be feeling broken and defeated because of this person.
This kind of bullying makes you numb. Numb to those who love and care for you, numb to feeling joy and confidence, and numb to feeling proud of your victories and achievements. The numbness leaves you empty and broken. So broken that you feel whatever you fill yourself with will just leak out the cracks and you will feel empty forever.
I truly regret allowing this person to bully me. I allowed them to treat me poorly. They took something from me that I have to work on daily with all my strength to get back. I feel the most embarrassed to say: I let them take it.
Don’t give someone permission to make you feel inadequate like I did; no matter what position they have over you.
I can happily say, I am no longer empty. Those cracks in my self-esteem, my courage, my confidence, my joy, and my mind have mostly healed. The scar tissue is clearly visible, it’s not pretty but many days I am overflowing. I hope my experience will encourage you to stand against those who might bully you and most importantly others. I wish others that were present during those times spoke up for me.
Some regrets are minor and others major, but still regrets none-the-less. I hope that your regrets are minor and that you were able to grow from them. I hope my daughter can learn from my mistakes and not have regrets like mine.