Of regrets

This week, something reminded me of a crush I had when I was a Master’s student (more than a decade ago, gasp).

It surprised me remembering how I regretted not accepting a kiss from him. I liked him but didn’t quite feel ready for the kiss to change our friendship. I don’t regret many things, and this certainly isn’t a life-changing regret, but to this day I do wonder what would have happened if I kissed him.

Is it true though that we regret missed opportunities more than the things we did?

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.Mark Twain

I find that I have seriously been working myself to the bone these past couple of months. I’ve been focused on achieving all the things I need to do but have not factored in any time for sheer enjoyment. I feel like if I had a nap or took some time to read a book not related to my PhD that I would regret it. I was told by a couple of people in the past that I would regret applying to a PhD program. Will I?

Over the summer holidays, I caught up with some of my really good friends and one of them was talking about this book she recently finished – ‘The top five regrets of the dying’ by Bronnie Ware. She said it gave her an opportunity to review some of the plans she made for herself for the coming year. The author, Bronnie Ware spent many years working in palliative care. Her memoir shares the stories and lessons she’s learned from those many people she cared for.

I’ve just recently read the book and I’m so glad I did – one of the top regrets is this: “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.” To clarify, they did not regret working hard per se. What they regretted was working too hard for things that didn’t matter to them in the end. Is it meaningful work? A purposeful life? The chance to be yourself and live an authentic life?

What matters to you? What do you think you’ll look back on without regret?

Tagged in What messes with your head, Student life, phd