Gransnet forums


Regrets in life and dealing with mistakes you have made

(57 Posts)
greengreengrass Mon 31-Aug-20 09:25:08

Over lockdown I have seemed to be rerunning my life in dreams etc. Quite vividly coming back to me.

I suppose nearly sixty years worth of life inevitably brings with it things that I wish I had handled differently. Lots of them. But of course can't undo certain things.

My question is, how does everyone else deal with such things. Do you revisit things in your head or how does it work for you?

Luckygirl Mon 31-Aug-20 09:54:08

I spend a lot of time going over things I might have done better - as a mother; as a wife etc. Therein lies madness. We are all human and get things wrong sometimes. I remind myself of the good things I did for my OH (now dead) in spite of the ups and downs; and of the wonderful people my children have become - I/we must have done some things right I feel.

It is really a question of not dwelling on these things and countering each negative thought with a positive one - there will be lots I am sure.

Charleygirl5 Mon 31-Aug-20 10:00:43

Je non regret rien

My French is not brilliant but you get the message

Urmstongran Mon 31-Aug-20 10:04:42

I find I can ruminate if I wake during the night. In my head I have to say ‘no, I’m not going there thank you’ and close one or two doors quite firmly.

Cs783 Mon 31-Aug-20 10:16:45

Ideally, a little reflection then ‘Think only of the past as its remembrance brings you pleasure’ (Jane Austen). Not truly feasible, but cheering.

Urmstongran Mon 31-Aug-20 10:19:30

Only ‘if it’s remembrance brings you pleasure’ surely? Some memories are upsetting. No thanks - for my mental well being!

Marydoll Mon 31-Aug-20 10:22:50

I too have been doing this recently, especially thinking about my teaching career.
I can't remember what I did yesterday, but events of years ago are so clear in my mind. Thinking about pupils and could I have been kinder or had more patience with them when they were disruptive, has been niggling away in my head.

I envy my husband's capacity to compartmentalise things and move on. I wish I could turn the clock back, but hindsight is a great thing!

Cs783 Mon 31-Aug-20 10:31:42

Yes Urmstonegran it has that meaning. Just a difference in the use of language 200 years ago that I hadn’t spotted! You and Jane Austen agree. I hadn’t seen your previous post and I love the way of being able to control the wandering mind. A technique very useful between 2 and 4 am.

Lexisgranny Mon 31-Aug-20 10:37:39

I think many of us do not sleep as well as we used to, and the mind tends to wander when lying in the dark, particularly with Covid hanging over the world. I used to think of things I could have done/said differently etc and my mind would flit from one thing to another and when I eventually fell asleep they cropped up in my dreams. Then, I read about something (I think on Gransnet, and cannot give enough credit to the poster). The idea is to stop your mind flitting, but to concentrate on one thing. You take the alphabet and then think of things beginning with that letter. I have used: annual flowers; boys/ girls names that you never hear now; film stars of long ago. Nothing too easy. I have never got to Z! Night is always the worst time for dwelling on the past. I didn’t think it would work, but it did - it may be worth a try. I know people say that if you can’t alter something forget about it, but it’s not that easy. Good luck greengreengrass.

paddyanne Mon 31-Aug-20 10:39:24

Theres only one thing in my life I truly regret,theres no one else it affects and nothing I can do to change it .It rears its head when I'm low and I find myself crying while singing doing housework . Its bizarre.
The past is the past and I usually have no problem leaving things there ,I'm not sentimental about things or places and I think that helps with not looking back much.

I do miss My Dad and Mum and my lovely Granny but theres nothing I would change about my life apart from that one regret. I know it will be with me until I die ,its not something I have ever discussed with anyone else so it down to me to deal with it myself .

Fflaurie Mon 31-Aug-20 10:40:25

My problem is that I have a memory like an elephant, I cannot forget certain things how ever much I want to leave them be. Sometimes I hear myself say "Oh No" out loud. Some memories make me cry and at 63, (am I really that age now?) I can't make them go away or make them right.

Illte Mon 31-Aug-20 10:45:06

The mistakes we made were because we were young and knew so little. Now we can see they were mistakes. Let's congratulate ourselves on how wise we have become!

BlueBelle Mon 31-Aug-20 10:50:33

My problem is I have a terrible memory except for anything I did wrong or handled badly or acted differently as to how I would now Those are sharp and clear and forever nagging me I know there’s nothing I can do and I know I can’t change anything except do things differently now but it’s a very very lucky person who says they have no regrets
I have many and they nag

maddyone Mon 31-Aug-20 10:57:10

I often wish I could live my whole life again and do it properly this time. In other words I wish I could go back in time with the benefit of hindsight. I regret lots of things, but mostly I regret being irritable with my children because I was working full time and lacked patience at times.

jenpax Mon 31-Aug-20 11:01:28

I am so glad to see this thread I nearly posted the same question myself! I have been rehashing my life and my many, many mistakes recently!
I have found that lock down (and a recent serious illness) have made me more introspective and recently I have found myself feeling like I have made a complete mess of my adult life, it’s probably not all true.
I feel like I messed up as a mother, although I tried so so hard in very difficult circumstances, and I wasn’t a great daughter either or a good friend 😱

DillytheGardener Mon 31-Aug-20 11:04:33

Maddyone, I have the exact same regret as you, as I imagine many other women do to. My sons have referred to me as ‘a screeching fish wife’ on more than one occasion. I no longer work full time but find that snappy screechy stressed person I used to be hard to switch off.

greengreengrass Mon 31-Aug-20 11:05:44

I feel like I messed up as a mother, although I tried so so hard in very difficult circumstances, and I wasn’t a great daughter either or a good friend

Don't know how to do the quote thing jenpax but I feel like this. I try to tell myself it was because I was under a lot of stress but that only takes me so far.

All insightful comments and tips.

greengreengrass Mon 31-Aug-20 11:07:41

And it kind of doesn't help that parents in particular mothers tend to be so much criticised by the media etc

Hard work for me, being kind to myself and making space for self care

Pantglas2 Mon 31-Aug-20 11:09:11

I agree Maddyone, I wish I’d been more patient, kinder, less selfish, more generous with my money and more so with my time - and that’s with family, friends and colleagues!

I do know that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried to make amends and nowadays I am so much more aware of the small kindnesses I can do to make someone else’s day.

jenpax Mon 31-Aug-20 11:27:58

greengreengrass It was the same for me! I was working full time caring for a DH with mental health issues and effectively a single parent to 3 we struggled with money and I was constantly under pressure which made me stressed and bad tempered! I wish more than anything that I could have been calmer and had the chance to enjoy been a parent instead of feeling constantly stressed and worried and judged

greengreengrass Mon 31-Aug-20 12:02:59

Yeah I get that Jenpax.
DD the other day was invited to go on holiday with a friend and said

'what do you do on holiday'

she really didn't know, she has never had one and we have never had one together. Still I try to cherish the lazy days lie in on Sunday and making her breakfast etc.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Mon 31-Aug-20 12:50:16

We all make mistakes, we're human - I try to comfort myself with the phrase, "A man who never made a mistake never made anything," which has a ring of truth to it.

I have lots of regrets, I shouldn't have said this, wrote that, did something else, hung back, gone forward, trusted so-and-so, etc. Oh dear. We can only try to do our best most of the time and try to make amends if possible.

mumofmadboys Mon 31-Aug-20 14:20:31

It is easier for our children if we were not perfect parents! They too can fail in some aspects of parenting without feeling total failures.

Smileless2012 Mon 31-Aug-20 14:28:12

I love that lovebeigecardigans A man who never made a mistake never made anything.

I agree mumofmadboys as they wont be perfect parents either; they simply don't exist do they.

Puzzled Mon 31-Aug-20 15:17:14

Yes, we all have things that, with hindsight, we would have done differently.
But water under the bridge cannot be brought back.
Concentrate on making the best of what lies ahead.