The Truth About Regrets That No One Wants To Admit

Anyone who says they have no regrets is full of shit.


I get the general concept and idea behind the whole “No Regrets” thing. Regrets live in our past. People who live in the past with their regrets are neglecting their present and future. We have control over our present and future situations, we have none over what has been. That’s where the “live life with no regrets” mantra comes from.

Why dwell on things that have already happened? If there’s nothing we can do about something that happened in the past then why attach ourselves to it? Do you need some voodoo monkey to whap you in the back of the skull to understand that?

Ah, yes.

That whole “You can’t know where you’re going ‘til you know when you’ve been.”


Think about it. You are lost, in the middle of no where. Let’s pretend that somehow every GPS/electronic device that could possibly help you is sucked into some dead signal vortex. All you have is an atlas map (Hey, we’re pretending here! Pretend you have a map in your car!) to get you out of this Twilight Zone scene.

  • You can’t just look at your future destination point and say “We need to be here. Let’s go!”
  • You have no idea where you presently are, so that “I Am Here” dot is useless.
  • You have to re-trace your journey from the beginning to find out where your dot is. Then you have to figure out how to right whatever went wrong to get you to where you want to be.

Oh, snap!

We all have regrets.


Things that, if given the opportunity, we might have done differently. Right turns that should have been lefts and traveling for miles down deserted roads when we should have turned around to a place of the familiar and set out again.

That isn’t to say the adventures you have taking the road less traveled are not amazing experiences. For some, a life of “wrong decisions” is the right decision. Funny thing about people. With everyone being so different, it is damn near impossible to make everyone the same (though gosh, do we try awfully hard!)

Regrets are not something to be ashamed of until you relegate them to a place of embarrassment or make them obsolete. It is not the regrets that we need to fear and extricate from our lives. It is the way that we handle them and give them gravity in our self-worth and being.

We would not be who we are in this very moment without the pasts that brought us here.


That means taking the good and the bad parts. It is impossible to love life in slices. As we come to the end of the year, with all of our round-ups and “Best Of’s” and annual reviews, we need to take the time to analyze and savor our regrets from 2011.

What did you really really royally screw up? I’m talking epic failure?

So, you fucked something up?


Congratulations! Join the legions of people I like to call “Humanity”.

I won’t lie to you. Regrets hurt. They slice through us, leaving our insides exposed and our outsides bleeding. There are some that will make you wish you could die, and others that just irritate you.

Yet across the planet, people are failing at things daily. Every minute. EVERY SECOND. Failure and missteps and regrets – they make people stronger. They make us appreciate success more.

Regrets form our present and shape our future.


You know what a life of no regrets REALLY means? It means you never took enough of a chance or a risk to fail at something.

So say things that ruffle feathers. Set out on journeys and adventures that seem absolutely foolish. Stay with the people you love when they need you the most. Bake delicious foods and get them in your mouth. Eat butter. Play with your kids instead of working. Work hard to provide for your family.

Life a life that takes risks that leave you with regret. Then take that regret, learn from it, and turn it into something that will create a better future. Learn from the voodoo monkey!

If you live a life without regret, then you are most likely leading a horribly sad and ignorant existence.


Honestly. Who wants to start 2012 with a life that feels like that?

Photo Credit: Me. This Summer. When I Tried To Fix A Fan and Instead Got My Hair Sucked Thru The Back And Cut Off. 


  1. Hey Elisa! I love your blog and this post in particular. Reframing mistakes and looking at them as positive things is a big part of my battle against perfectionism, and I think how we view regret is a piece of that puzzle as well. This post made me think immediately of Kathryn Schulz TED talk on regret. Here’s the link if you have some time: Enjoy!

    • Aw, thanks Meredyth! As a reforming perfectionist I TOTALLY agree. Especially in the process…wanting to not make a single mistake so that it is perfect makes for a few really great experiences and projects, ut only a few. Accepting that rarely is anything going to be perfect and knowing most mistakes can be fixed or learned from means that sometimes good enough really IS good enough. Easier said than done, of course.

      That TED talk was an interesting take. Not sure I’ve had regrets THAT severe in life, but I know people who have. It can be devastating.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2020 Elisa Doucette

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑