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The life you could have had

(188 Posts)
GagaJo Mon 04-Apr-22 00:20:27

I'm a funny age. A lot more life gone than life left. I keep thinking back to the opportunities I've turned by back on, and wonder what would my life have been like if I'd taken one of them.

I wonder what it would be like, living in New Mexico. A lovely place, that I enjoyed at the time.

Or, married again (not sorry I passed this one up, TBH).

Living in Spain. Certainly DGS would love it. Lovely beaches. Beautiful scenery.

Still living in East Anglia. Funny old place. Warmer than where I am now.

All those other lives. I wonder if any of them would have been better than what I have now. Or maybe, just different.

GagaJo Mon 04-Apr-22 00:21:26

- turned my back on.

BigBertha1 Mon 04-Apr-22 06:54:26

I wonder about this all the time and know what bad decisions I made...drives me potty.

FannyCornforth Mon 04-Apr-22 07:08:27

Yup, same here

travelsafar Mon 04-Apr-22 07:15:27

Me too. If only we could turn back the clock with the knowledge we now have.

karmalady Mon 04-Apr-22 07:17:07

I am content and glad to be so, it is a nice state to be in, no regrets about my life and especially none about my choice of husband. I look back and can see all those choices from a young age, it was my fate to take the paths I did

kittylester Mon 04-Apr-22 07:22:13

My thinking is similar to karmalady. At various 'forks in the road' I made choices I am very happy with now.

I am a glass half full type of person and I wonder if that makes a difference. Or I am not very self reflective.

Hiraeth Mon 04-Apr-22 07:24:14

Ive come to the decision that it’s no good looking back and thinking I wish I had done that this or the other . The past has gone . It’s the future that’s now important for me as I’m realising that time is flying and I’ve got hundreds of „ to do lists“ I hope to be able to do in the next few years

Calendargirl Mon 04-Apr-22 07:30:43

As we get older, we can all look back and wish we had chosen different paths and done different things.

I wish I had worked harder at school. I wish I had thought more about what job I did when I left. Should I have branched out and worked away, instead of remaining in my little home town, marrying young to a lovely lad with no ambitions either, having our family and just getting on with our uneventful life?

But we are still together after nearly 50 years, pretty content, comfortable, two adult children, married with five grandchildren.

Who knows what would have been if I had trodden a different path?

Allsorts Mon 04-Apr-22 07:30:56

My regret is breaking my heart over people that were not worth it. Over worrying and taking responsibility for their inadequacies, wasted a lot of time on them. I’m older and wiser, did my best at the time, you can’t do more. I know I wouldn’t be anywhere in the world but here in the uk and I’ve done a lot of travelling, I’ve had a good life and I’m thankful, but I’ve things yet to do.

M0nica Mon 04-Apr-22 07:35:23

I think for most women our lives are often led by what our husbands did.

Apart from DH, there were two men in my life that I probably would have married had one or two things happened differently. Both have died in the last 10 years.

One moved to Australia in his 30s, and I am glad things resulted the way they did. I had a very peripatetic childhood and I do not think I would have been happy so far from my immediate family. The other was a doctor and joined a practice in a remote rural part of Britain where work and career opportunities for me would have been limited.

As it is, the marriage I actually made, as well as making me happy, enabled me to live somewhere where there were suitable job opportunities, and if not close to family, at least I had them within a couple of hours drive

Of course I have made poor decisions in life and had my fair share of tragedies and unhappiness, no ones life is perfect. But overall, when I look at the alternative lifes I could have had, I am glad I have had the one I have.

Hiraeth Mon 04-Apr-22 07:43:20

That is so important for me to look back and be content with the past . Life is still good and everyone makes mistakes that is human

Grandmabatty Mon 04-Apr-22 07:45:18

I have made good and bad decisions, probably in equal measure! I tend not to dwell on either and live in the here and now. One decision has, however, always interested me as to what my life might have been. I passed civil service exams etc when I was 17 and was invited to work in London in the DSS. I took cold feet and turned it down and went to university instead. I don't regret that decision but I've occasionally wondered what my life could have been.

Oopsadaisy1 Mon 04-Apr-22 07:52:54

This is exactly the conversation I have with myself at 3 in the morning.

TillyTrotter Mon 04-Apr-22 08:00:33

This is a good thread GagaJo .
I got married very young but all my friends did too and we are still together and happy to be so. I wanted to have children young - he agreed - and he wanted to try living abroad - and I agreed.
Big decisions have been made together and so far have worked out. 🤞

Pantglas2 Mon 04-Apr-22 08:04:18

I don’t think I’d change much that I’ve done but do wish my mam hadn’t died so young. So much missed of my and my brothers’ childhood and now, our children and grandchildren. My dad is 88 and in relatively good health - it would’ve been lovely for her.

PECS Mon 04-Apr-22 08:14:09

Je regrette rien! I have had a mostly very happy life so far.
There have been a fair share of unhappy & difficult times, pain & worry but I tend to be optimistic in life and seek out the positives...also I don't believe the grass IS necessarily greener elsewhere. I do think about people I knew & choices I have made but it does not occupy more than a few minutes of reflection!

nadateturbe Mon 04-Apr-22 08:17:12

I often think like this too.
I think if you are at home a lot and can't socialise much there is too much time for reflection on the past.
But it's a natural thing to do as you get older too.
It doesn't serve any good purpose. As Hiraeth says life is good and we all make mistakes.

You are very lucky Karmalady.

Daisymae Mon 04-Apr-22 08:30:58

I can't say that I spend hours in contemplation but I have made some poor choices early on. Having said that I think that I had some lucky escapes too. We are the product of our childhood and to a certain extent things beyond our control. I don't really think that I could have made different choices, so I don't go down that path. We have to learn from our mistakes, surely that's what life's all about?

sodapop Mon 04-Apr-22 08:36:16

I'm very happy now but that's more from good luck than good judgement. I made some bad decisions as well but no point dwelling on that, serves no useful purpose.

TerriBull Mon 04-Apr-22 08:36:46

Good thread something I have pondered on at times. I do wonder if I had knuckled down more when I was at school could I have gone further in life, however I know I was too lazy and air headed at that time of my life plus my convent school wasn't particularly academic and didn't push or inspire any of us to go into further education, always telling us we would become wives and mothers shock They were archaic in how they undermined us in many respects.

Could have gone to Australia with my ex, did the interview in London, Australia House if I remember rightly, got our residents' visas, he was working for an American bank had a job opportunity with them lined up, we went out there for an extended taster and as lovely as it was doubts crept in, it is after all so far away. Ex was not British so he had already done the leaving of his immediate family once, although later down the line said he would miss among other things about England which he had grudgingly started to love more than he realised, the weather shock For me apropos of another thread I'm glad of the one to one time I had with my mother when she became a widow, for the last eight years of her life. I know my brother would have been little use to her, I was very much her lynchpin. Again with my ex, we also nearly went off to live in France, which I would have found easier than Australia closer proximity and we both had extended family there, then he got a more lucrative job offer here. He also turned down the opportunity to work in Saudi Arabia (thank God) no desire to live there in some ex pat compound) his reasoning at the time, "I don't want to live anywhere that bans alcohol" very secondary to mine "I don't want to live anywhere that treats women as second class citizens and not only has the death penalty but at times carries out those executions in public. I also wonder if I hadn't been in one of my jobs nearly 40 years ago, I would never have met my 2nd husband who is my absolute soul mate, but then again I wouldn't have known that.

lixy Mon 04-Apr-22 08:42:43

I'm so grateful to be happy with my life as it is. Decisions made in the past either by me or for me seem to have worked out OK one way or another.
The major forks in the road were firstly in my late teens when I was all set up to go into the Army nursing service, but failed the medical at the last minute so went to uni instead. (A childhood ankle injury meant I wouldn't be able to parachute apparently.)
Secondly, my now husband wanted to go to America in our early 20s. I was in the middle of uni so said I'd stay here for now - he stayed here too in the event, but I do wonder where we would be if we had gone.

Ali23 Mon 04-Apr-22 08:45:00

I have struggled with thoughts like this but gradually I’ve come to understand that if I’d have made different decisions at these key times I’d still be here today wondering the same thing about different things, if that makes any sense.

The Buddhists call it ‘craving’ and see it as a universal tendency that causes us all suffering, and this has helped me a lot. (I’m not exactly a Buddhist but have been helped so much by Buddhist and secular Buddhist teaching.)

Also, if I had made different decisions I wouldn’t have had my two children and that wouldn’t do at all!

Jaxjacky Mon 04-Apr-22 08:53:04

I’ve never really thought about it, I’m happy where and with who I am.

dragonfly46 Mon 04-Apr-22 08:53:22

I have no regrets. I have a wonderful husband who has cared for me and provided opportunities which I wasn’t so sure of initially but worked out so well - living abroad for 18 years being one of them.