I liked this answer by June Chan, extracted from http://www.quora.com/Life/What-do-you-regret-not-doing-in-your-20s
t’s not regret. But looking back, it seems my life would have been better if I had done / had known these earlier:
- On love: Leave an unhappy relationship. It’s not about commitment. It’s about how to respect yourself.
- On work: Quit an unhappy job. The feeling of being caged, deprived of the opportunity to learn new things simply because of your role – are not compensated by pay or even gratification of supporting your loved ones.
- On emotion: Appreciate, listen to, even indulge in emotions sometimes. It keeps a human life. No worries, we’re rational enough. Our brain is amazing.
- On body: Have happy (safe) sex more and earlier. Play fun sports more and earlier. Feeling a cramp in my leg once saved me from depression due to overthinking.
- On money: More is not better. There’s a threshold over which you feel secured and free to pursue your dreams. Work constantly to lower this threshold. It frees you from constraints that you set for yourself.
- On desire/passion: It’s OK that desire/passion changes over time. Someday the dots can be linked. Before that, follow the passion even as it takes leaps and seems without focus.
- On fear: Never act/decide out of fear. You’re doomed. Lying is an example.
- On people: Stay around those you want to become. If your network is not given, create it yourself.
- On human life: You can change your life. Be kind, be honest (to others and to yourself), be grateful. Genuine happiness triumphs.
Regret is a self-referencing concept in the sense that you only become the person with regret because you were once the person you now feel regret on.
Maybe some journey must be traveled in order to learn from it. Maybe we should be grateful that, finally, we realize what we regret. Then everything is worth it.
Things I’m glad that I did early on:
- On family: Invest in it heavily. They may disappoint you. But they’re (usually) there to cheer you up when the world disappoints you. (maybe I’m the lucky one)
- On knowledge: Read a lot. Study logic and philosophy. Master a second language that represents a different culture. It changes the way you think.