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In case you didn’t know, I (and most of my friends) turn 18 this year. It’s even my golden birthday. I know, exciting stuff.

With things like 18th birthday coming up, most people (I just mean me and my two best friends) give their past, present and future life some thought.

One such thought had popped up in one of my friend’s head and she put it out on our group chat (we literally use the gc for thinking out loud, they’re like lil self-reflection sessions hehe).

She asked, “What is something you regret not doing in the past 17 years?”.

Even though the question was clearly what you regret not doing, I just thought it said what things do we regret?

I started out listing mine:

  • Not branching out enough – Even though I talked to more people in high school than I did in primary or middle school, I felt like there was a lot more potential for me to make new friends or meet new people
  • Not listening to my parents about my friend group – Back in middle school, I didn’t have the most supportive friends. They wouldn’t treat me well but for some reason, I couldn’t see it. My mom, however, could and wanted me to look at it. But I feel like, for a good amount of time, I chose not to. 

I still can’t understand why I remained in that group despite the fact that I shared no values with them. Were they popular? Yes. But did I care about it? Heck no. 

I guess I was just afraid to be alone. What it looked like from my perspective was that if I leave even this friend group, I won’t have any friends at all. (Spoiler alert – that belief couldn’t be any further from the truth)


Stating these regrets and a few others out, I recognised one common factor amongst them all. 95% of my regrets consisted of stuff that I didn’t do. 

You see where I am going with this?

This means there are more people are on their deathbeds thinking about the stuff they could’ve done but didn’t than people thinking of the mistakes they did make. There are more people regretting not 

  • Giving their family enough time
  • chasing their dreams
  • enjoying their life
  • Taking enough risks
  • Travelling enough
  • Living for themselves

than people regretting a wrong financial decision or the wrong profession. 

Woah, got really pessimistic there for a minute. But hope I made my point clear.


We keep on fearing their outcomes, not grasping that the long term compounding guilt of not doing it easily outweighs the fear.

Whenever in doubt whether you should do it or not, just think –  would you regret not doing it in the future? If no, toss it. If yes, make sure you do it with your heart and soul.


Recap for memory:

  1. Majority of our regrets are made up of the things we didn’t do.
  2. The long term compounding guilt of not doing it easily outweighs the fear.
  3. When in doubt, just ask – would you regret not doing it in the future?

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