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ZEPHYRA's avatar

What are some of the biggest mistakes/unfortunate choices/decisions you've made that affected your whole life?

Asked by ZEPHYRA (15690 points ) July 13th, 2014

Leaving your hometown, changing career at a late stage, divorcing or not divorcing, marrying, saying something you can never take back, trusting somebody you should not have…...

That life mistake of yours in a nutshell had to do with what?

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17 Answers

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Letting my odious in-laws bully me into having a wedding. After a lifetime of their megalomania, my husband was easily cowed by his parents and didn’t stand beside me and help fight them.

We’re still living with the repercussions. I spent my entire life savings, and went into debt (I hate debt), to pay for that stupid event. My husband was so depressed by all the fighting and ugliness, he stopped showing up for work, got fired, and stayed unemployed for years. I never forgave my in-laws and remain resentful and cold to them.

If I could build a time machine and go back, things would be very different. I would have put my foot down, drawn some firm boundaries, and demanded respect.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

@SadieMartinPaul I guess you did it for your husband so you could make him happy by making his parents happy’ you did what you thought was best at the time, not your fault. Did they want a “royal” wedding? Was something small and simple out of the question?

Coloma's avatar

Getting a divorce in 2003 after several decades of marriage.
Not a mistake, zero regrets, but now, after a decade of holding my own and doing quite well, thriving, and then the economy tanking and me losing my work and home between 2010 and 2013, well….it sucks the big one. I could care less about my ex but for the first time in years I feel angry and resentful that he’s skating along making the big bucks, corporate sociopath type, and I am going into my later middle age and old age in a very precarious position. Sounds cliche but shit…so much for giving the best years of my life trying to make a crappy marriage work only to divorce just before he hit the top rung of his ladder while I have had the ladder yanked out from under me.

Bah Humbug.

rexacoracofalipitorius's avatar

Going to college turned out to be a bad idea, but I don’t regret it.

longgone's avatar

I don’t believe in mistakes. Life is easier without regret.

filmfann's avatar

I worked 6 days a week, 10 hour days. On my only day off, I would try to relax, and would take my kids to visit my Mom. I should have also had them in church.
They are all adults now, and they are good people and successful in their life choices. They are what is best described as casual Christians, but they don’t feel so connected to their faith that they let it guide them.
I also regret not having more kids, though I have no idea how we could have afforded more…

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Not keeping control of my weight when I was younger, now in my fifties and a hundred pounds over weight not a good thing, and all the idiots saying just lose the weight,if only it was that fucking easy.

GloPro's avatar

I put my two weeks notice in on a job I was pulling 72+K annually in September 2008. They don’t close your 401k out until the end of the month of your notice. The stock market crashed and I immediately lost 53% of 8 years of savings, automatically rolled over to an IRA. God dammit.

Coloma's avatar

@GloPro Heh…so sorry, yep, welcome to the new order. haha

GloPro's avatar

@Coloma Watching $40,000 plus go down the drain in two weeks, hands tied, while newly unemployed has definitely been one of the most desperate feelings of my life.

hominid's avatar

While tempted to engage in “if I had only” thinking, I realize that there are problems with it.

First, there is the question of free will. It seems clear that any claims that “I could have chosen __” are based on claims about a version of free will that I just don’t feel exists.

Second, wishing that you had made a different choice is the type of fantasy thinking that is involved in troublesome time-travel ideas. We imagine the world to be exactly as it is/was while only modifying one thing. In other words, we can’t pretend that we can identify the scope of what would be different if we had made another choice. Saying that I wish I had done x is to say that I wish I had done x, but that every other thing that my choosing y had influenced and created would not exist.

Third, we’re just not able to understand the consequences of any decision we make. We can only catch glimpses and pretend that we understand. Did I make a good decision by choosing to do x? It might appear to be a horrible decision. But I have no way of determining what this decision really means.

If my wife decides we really need red peppers for a salad and she asks me to drive to market to get some – and I am killed by a drunk driver who blew a red light, she might spend the rest of her life regretting that decision. “Why?” But how often do we arrive home safely from the market and celebrate that return?

When I failed out of my first attempt at college during my first semester, I beat myself up for many years. But working for two years and eventually getting back to college only to meet my wife-to-be makes it seem that my decision to slack off originally was a “good” thing. But I think these are constructs that have little justification. It’s my mind putting together clean stories that I can use to encourage the concept of agency and make sense of my life.

When I am in a clear state, I like to think of that classic story about the farmer whose horse ran away. When his neighbors found out, they said “how unlucky”. He replied, “maybe”. Soon, his horse returned and was joined by 3 wild horses. The neighbors said, “how luck”. He replied, “maybe”. The next day, his son was thrown while trying to tame one of the horses and broke his leg. The neighbors said, “how unlucky”. The farmer replied, “maybe”. A few days later, soldiers came by to demand that all able-bodied men join the fight in a war. His son with the broken leg was not enlisted. The neighbors said, “how lucky”. The farmer replied, “maybe”.

talljasperman's avatar

Moving to Jasper from Edmonton… I should have stayed in High School.

hearkat's avatar

I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but managed to handle them and turn things around, so I don’t have regrets; but there was the one time that I had a choice between two jobs – and the one I chose was not a good fit, so I wonder what if I had chosen the other.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

My first divorce.
Crossing the street that horrible sunny January day.

hearkat's avatar

@Jonesn4burgers – I can’t even begin to imagine.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I may have made a lot of mistakes and horrible decisions, and they may be devastating. But to the point of changing my life, no.

@Jonesn4burgers I wish I had been there to warn you at that time…

Haleth's avatar

Weirdly, every major life-changing decision has led me somewhere ok in the end.

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