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regrets

(87 Posts)
etheltbags1 Fri 15-Aug-14 22:28:21

Does anyone feel like I do. I am approaching 60 later this year and I am thinking over and over again that my life has been wasted. I have never travelled much, my jobs have been boring and ordinary, I would have loved to have had a career. I have done lots of courses and got qualifications but there are never any jobs at the end of it. I now do a boring zero hours contract job and am unlikely to get anything else at my age. I think the reason has always been money, I have never had enough to spare to go to uni or to take time off work to travel.
. I have achieved having a lovely DD and DGD and I have no regrets regarding them as I love them very much but I would have liked to had more for me. If I had a good job I would feel more self confident, for instance I worked as a cleaner for a while just to fill in and I kept it secret thinking that I would be looked down upon as a cleaner.
I have spent all my life in a dream world, I read fiction to escape from the real world and even now if I find a good book I will avoid going out or even sometimes going to work just to read to escape.
I would love to be good looking, confident or just have a good job so that someone somewhere will be envious. I get told to be content but I think that to be content is the same as being dead, you have nothing left to strive for. Am I odd or do others regret much of their lifes like me.
I have a life of regrets

Soutra Fri 15-Aug-14 23:14:52

Oh ethel! I can absolutely see where you are coming from. There cannot be many people who do not have regrets about what they may not have achieved in their lives. You have raised a beautifu andl fine DD to be proud of and she in turn has had your lovely DGD- some people have been denied that privilege and it is no mean achievement - raising children is one of the hardest jobs in the world! You sound as if you are having a down day so instead of listing all your perceived failings, look at your DD and DGD and ask yourself- is any achievement better? flowers

Tegan Fri 15-Aug-14 23:56:39

If you've read books and dreamed dreams your life hasn't been wasted at all.Feel sorry for those that don't dream ethel smile. If it's any consolation, when my marriage ended I became the village litter picker [ I couldn't even hide what I was doing as it was a difficult job to do under cover of darkness confused]...

Eloethan Sat 16-Aug-14 00:37:07

That's sad ethelbasgs1. I sometimes feel a bit like that myself - at least on the job front, and especially when I see all the interesting and responsible careers that many people on Gransnet have/have had.

I think this is the time in life when a lot of people start thinking of all the things that they could have/should have done. Although I do it myself sometimes, I recognise that it's counter-productive and just leaves me feeling miserable.

It might help you to identify something that you're interested in doing now, and having a go at it. It sounds like the courses you did in the past were done to improve your employment opportunities. Now, just concentrate on doing what you enjoy.

I expect there are some people with money, good looks and a high-flying career who, in pursuit of those things, might have missed out on what you have - a dearly loved daughter and granddaughter.

boheminan Sat 16-Aug-14 00:57:32

ethel - this is the most moving (to me) post I've read on GN. I so, so relate. All these years on I do a cleaning job (cash in hand, yer knowwink!) when in another life I should be - well, a princess.
What I'm trying to say, in a very clumsy way, is that you are a wonderful, wonderful woman and I, for one, admire you to bits flowers

Coolgran65 Sat 16-Aug-14 01:01:58

Ethelbags .... career isn't everything...some money would be great....but sure you couldn't put a price on your DD and DGD. Some days are awful and we feel not needed and as though we're just putting in time, then for some reason it's as if the sun has come out and all is well.

Like yourself I didn't go to uni. No-one in the family had done so.
And, also like you , I was the local litter picker. But was doing it before marriage ended, a reason to be out of the house.
Don't think of litter picking as nothing...I'm serious.... your village was a more pleasant place without the drinks cans and rubbish.
I would still do it, to an extent.
There will be folks in mansions who would love to be you....or me.
You are important.

And with regard to looks, take off specs before checking in the mirror, and never ever look down onto the mirror ...... that's scary.

Mishap Sat 16-Aug-14 07:59:40

We all have regrets over one thing or another when we get to our age - it is normal to feel like that.

But, you have two choices: you can either give in to this, or you can look around for things to get involved in that you would not have any regrets about when you are 90, perhaps volunteering or taking up some activity you will enjoy.

However, I do not think that you have had a wasted life. We none of us have a clue why we were put here, but I always think that being kind to others is central - that does not involve careers and lots of money. As others have said, bringing up a lovely DD is a huge achievement and is an important a career in itself. I get very cross when that is denigrated. And what is wrong with cleaning? - another thing that makes me cross is denigrating practical necessary and vital work just because you do not need a degree to do it - what nonsense is this!?

And as to reading being a waste of time - I have therefore wasted a huge chunk of my life too!! - but I do not look at it like that! Reading is a huge pleasure - broadens the mind, entertains. It is a GOOD thing!

And as to good looks - lord above, this is the least important thing in life - and anyway, who says you are not good looking? What is good looking? - what the media say is good?

The media have a lot to answer for in peddling the idea that we all have to achieve, achieve, achieve - that is not true; we just have to live blameless lives and take pleasure in the small things. Why ever would you wish to make someone else envious?

Believe me those who we are envious of often cover up many sadnesses.

Go girl!

Marmight Sat 16-Aug-14 08:12:18

I think it's natural to have regrets, particularly as one becomes older. Looking back there are hundreds of things you would have done differently, opportunities you should have taken but you do what you do at the time because that's just how it was.
Since being widowed, I have many regrets, probably because I have time to look back and ruminate, and wish I had done this or that in a different way, wish I had said or not said things and mostly wish I had been less selfish and more patient but, I try to live in the present: looking back with regret is useless, the past can't be changed but the today and tomorrow can be better.

Lona Sat 16-Aug-14 08:19:53

ethel You are not the only one to feel like this sometimes!
It will pass.

I too have cleaned [a pub-- mens' toilets (yuk)] after my divorce as I have no real qualifications.
I have read hundreds and hundreds of books, and absorbed lots of knowledge from them.

I once asked my mum what was the point of me? "Count your blessings, you've got two beautiful children" she said!

On a lighter note my friend always says with a grin "Chin up, tits out" and off we go. grin

You're as good as anyone ethel and you've got all of us behind you flowers

NfkDumpling Sat 16-Aug-14 08:32:33

Before I achieved the lofty heights of receptionist (part time) I was a cleaner, playground dinner lady and did home knitting in the evenings (multi-tasked!).

I loved being a cleaner as the people I cleaned for made me feel appreciated saying they wouldn't have been able to do their jobs (a teacher and a doctor) without my input. Being valued for what you do means so much.

Purpledaffodil Sat 16-Aug-14 08:38:04

Great post Mishap! I do think regrets can be part of the ageing process because the hopefulness of youth has gone. When you are young you expect that things will get better next week, next year. Now it is harder to believe that. We are where we are because of choices we made, or were made by others which affected us. That sounds less than comforting I realise, but I suspect the way to deal with it is to dwell on the positives, rather than the negatives.
Someone on my FB page spent a week posting three good things, some apparently very minor, which had happened to her each day. At first I thought it was excruciatingly embarrassing, but I have tried doing it myself, very quietly in my head of course and it does make a difference. It is more cheering than polishing the same regrets and worries we all have. flowers to you Ethelbags 1

Greenfinch Sat 16-Aug-14 09:10:10

Actually ethel your contributions to GN are an achievement. I enjoy reading your posts and find them helpful and I'm sure many others do too smile

suebailey1 Sat 16-Aug-14 09:13:30

No so much regrets about what I haven't done but about some of the choices I made - crying over spilt milk I suppose. I am trying hard to count my blessings when I get a bit low and it does work.

inishowen Sat 16-Aug-14 09:17:22

I can relate too. I always wanted to be a nurse. However leaving school at 16 I went into the first job I was offered, which was an office junior. I got stuck in office work from there, and eventually became a secretary. I had two children in my twenties and thought it was too late to train as a nurse. There were no childrens nurseries in those days, and my parents couldn't have taken on full time child care. Instead I did various part time jobs, sometimes in offices, and seven years in a nursery. Now retired I feel embarrassed when asked what I used to do! However life is not about the work you did. I have a good marriage, two adult children, two baby grandchildren, and one on the way. I love to read, knit, and look after the garden. Onwards and upwards I say!!

KatyK Sat 16-Aug-14 09:22:34

ethel flowers I have had phases in my life where I have regretted stuff but now at 65, I try to think a bit differently. I have always worked in what is considered a 'lowly job' but I stuck it out and now have a reasonable pension.
I have a daughter who has worked hard and made a decent life for herself. I have a beautiful clever granddaughter. I had a dreadful childhood and was always wishing to be the pretty little girl who lived down the street who had lovely clothes and ribbons in her hair, caring parents and days out etc. I could have ended up on drugs after the trauma of it all but I picked myself up and worked and married a decent man and made a good life for myself. I have spent years wishing I was someone else, someone more impressive. Now I think 'well maybe you are impressive'. I have had so many traumas in my life and I'm still here. I think that's pretty impressive smile I no longer envy anyone or wish for better/different etc. You seem pretty impressive to me ethel, Give yourself some credit. The girl done good. You are not yet 60, you are still young. There are lots of things you can do, many of which do not cost money. smile

Mishap Sat 16-Aug-14 09:24:12

My regret is not having the opportunity to learn to play the piano well - I am self-taught and it needs a strong constitution to listen to me!

But I do not dwell on it - there are lots of other things that I CAN do, and I have to concentrate on those.

ffinnochio Sat 16-Aug-14 09:49:20

Regrets? Yes. What I've done is to assimilate them - every experience has gone into making me who I am today. When low days hover, then I tell myself the sun will shine again - and it does! Chin up ethel sunshine

vampirequeen Sat 16-Aug-14 10:04:56

You're approaching 60. You have years and years ahead of you. I'm sure most people look back and have regrets. I certainly do. I didn't start living until 8 years ago when I left the ex. Then life really took off 6 years ago when I met my (now) DH. He helped me realise that I wasn't an 'I can't' person but an 'I can' person. Now life is full of experiences that I once thought people like me couldn't/shouldn't do. In the last 6 years I've started to wear trousers (big bums shouldn't wear trousers lol), learned 1940s dances and rock and roll, cycle, walk and a host of other things I wasn't supposed to do.

Look forward. What do you want to do? I recently saw a sign on the back of a touring caravan. It said 'Adventure before dementia'. I thought that's what I want. I want as many adventures as I can. They don't have to be expensive or even particularly daring. They just have to be things I want to do.

Nonnie Sat 16-Aug-14 10:11:13

I do but rarely think about them, there is no point. Stuff happens but it is better to look forward to what you can change than back to what you can't. My father believed men should have education but that it was wasted on women. I got over it but my sister never did. We had a rotten childhood and she was bitter until the day she died. She was a lovely person but she let it blight her life.

I'm not going to list all the bad stuff I have been through, most of it has gone and I have to deal with the remainder but I have lots to look forward to and plan to make the most of it.

Every day I try to think of positive things rather than negative (although they do creep in). Yesterday I received a photo of my latest grandson gazing at his 100 year old great granddad, so special. Today the sun is shining and tomorrow.................. who knows.

It is never too late to go to uni, I read that most pensioners will never have to pay back their student loans so go for it, just for fun if you are not too busy.

I would never 'look down' on a cleaner, I think most people would be very grateful to them, I know I was when I was pregnant and unable to move.

Mishap Sat 16-Aug-14 10:44:13

Ditto my Mum - bitter about her lack of education until the day she died and it blighted her relationship with everyone, and our childhoods (and indeed adulthoods) - do not go there. Bin the regrets and look forward!

ayse Sat 16-Aug-14 11:43:35

I could have many, many regrets about all the things I've done and haven't done but my middle daughter has reminded me on several occasions that I did what I thought was best at the time and that is all you can do. I've always read for escapism and that has kept me sane as most of my life I have been fearful of mental breakdown as it seems to run in the family and my mother suffered terribly.
I count my blessings every day: Three happy, well educated children who all have employment; 5 grandchildren in OZ and NZ with two more to follow in December(ish) in the UK; caring and loving OH; my health; just enough to live on and the love of my children.
I've always done a pretty lowly job and this used to bother me but in more recent years I've started to count my blessings and this is really liberating especially when the morale and mental health is not 100%.
Today's society seems to denigrate the more poorly paid amongst us and seem to forget that jobs such as litter-picking and cleaning are still necessary whether you have qualifications or not. If we all had degrees etc. cleaning etc.would still need to be done by someone. (Perhaps our overpaid footballers would fit the bill!) smile

Aka Sat 16-Aug-14 11:46:24

Ethel you speak as if your life is over yet you are still relatively young. Do you still enjoy good health? Then make the most of it.

Why don't you draw up a list of things you'd like to do and can afford? Even drawing up the list will help focus your mind and make you aware of possibilities.

Then start working through the list adding more ideas as they occur to you. That way you will feel more in control of your future and that you can achieve things you want.

I've drawn up lists of places I want to visit, letters that I ought to write, recipes I want to try, activities I must try, films I have never watched or books I ought to read, people I'd like to meet, and so on..... Some I have to save up for, others cost peanuts, a few require investment in time and research.

Go on. Take control.

glammanana Sat 16-Aug-14 12:11:38

Ethel You are still so young in the scheme of things and I for one think being a mum & grandmother is one of our most amazing achievements,never mind about other peoples careers etc you are who you are,I did cleaning jobs when my children where small to fit in with the family timetable and help with finances and when I told my mum she said so what if you are a cleaner "every job is nobel" and I have remembered that to this day,join free classes at Colleges if you feel the need and don't discount finding "that special job" I started my own business again at 61 just by default and found what I should have been doing for years so there is always something out there for everyone.

HollyDaze Sat 16-Aug-14 16:43:51

I think many people will relate to your post ethel. Two psychologists have told me (when I echoed some of your sentiments to them about regrets and a wasted life) told me that it is the one thing they hear a lot from women.

I am 57 so, close to your age and maybe we were born on the cusp, so to speak, of women being expected to have the main career of housewife and mother and then to 'potter' doing something else as well as compared to today's young women who have been encouraged to go for a career to match any man; that is bound to set us thinking 'what if'.

Being valued for what you do means so much.

To me, those are the wisest words on this thread so far - if you are made to feel valued for what you do, you will feel good about what you do.

I kept it secret thinking that I would be looked down upon as a cleaner.

I would love to be good looking, confident or just have a good job so that someone somewhere will be envious.

Aren't those thoughts a product of the way our society functions? I think they are so I am not surprised that people can feel that way. I remember reading an article, many, many years ago, about cleaners going on strike in America. Their grievance was pay and, to an extent, attitude towards them. Within a few days, that area of America (according to the article) almost ground to a halt as everything became unsanitary; they got their pay rise and, I'm sure, a measure of deserved respect for their efforts.

We can't turn back the clock unfortunately but do try and make the most of what you have which, you will find, is often more than you think.

rosesarered Sat 16-Aug-14 16:56:46

Some lovely post for you on here ethel I can't add any better ones.flowers