If you’re a teenager and you’re reading this, you might want to take some notes.
Because we’ve got a few regrets here that are both specific and universal, and they point toward things you probably want to avoid.
Let the wisdom of Reddit wash over all of us.
1. Not paying attention in math class
Because I was “good” at math.
Math lessons are compounding so if you don’t learn how to do Algebra properly for example then you’ll struggle with subsequent lessons.
2. Overplucking my brows
Probably only women “of a certain age” will understand this, but overplucking my eyebrows.
The late 90’s sperm brows that were in fashion were my jam and they have never grown back, almost 30 years later.
Every day I have to pencil them in, or look ridiculous.
3. The candy situation
I told one of my friends I like a weird candy only found in her moms home country I said this we were thirteen and everyone else said it tasted like feet.
It does taste like feet but she started cry so I said I liked it and now her mom sends me a box of it every few months and I have to sit there pretending to enjoy the candy when I skype my friend and thank her and her mom for the gift.
i have started rolling the candy in cinnamon before the video chats and that mostly hides the taste but it would really hurt a good friend of mine if I told her the truth even now so i eat a box of candy that tastes like feet sometimes to spare the feeling of a good friend
4. S**king way too much weed
I still love weed but I wish I’d waited til I was a bit older to s**ke so heavily – I’m never as present as I used to be, my short term memory is spent and I don’t know how to self-soothe because I always just turned to s**king a J
5. Not learning to drive
My parents didn’t want to pay the fee for the class my school offered and said they’d just teach me.
They never did.
Now I can’t afford classes as an adult.
6. Constant comparisons
Allowing my older sisters endless success to cause me to really h**e myself.
I’ve always loved my sister and do not in any ways blame her but i heard a lot of teachers ask me if “I was sure I was actually her brother” or tell me “I miss your sister, she was so smart”. For some people it may have lit a fire under them but for me it just led to thinking everything was pointless because no matter what I do I won’t be as good as her.
I’m in my mid 20s now and I’m only just starting to believe I’m capable of anything. I’m by no means a stupid man but 12 years of being belittled like that, it convinced me I was. I think now if I had stood up for myself and maybe even gone to a higher authority in the schools about it I would have been better off.
Moral of the story, you are not your siblings and anyone who thinks you should be isn’t worth your time.
7. Not seeking enough mental help
Was a really talented student but family sucked about doing treatment for mental health. Thought me being depressed was me being lazy, as told to me by my mom.
It would definitely have allowed me at minimum to have my high school diploma instead of a GED. Also would’ve prevented me from half of my less than ideal situations “friends” put me in as well as less judgement for how i finished school.
I’d probably feel less lost too, had i fully threw myself into personal finance. Would be nice knowing how to actually handle more intricate money matters.
8. Not learning to talk to girls
Having no mom and no sisters left me without any reference. I was not shy, simply didn’t know what the h**l I should talk with girls about in conversations.
Later I discovered I should just go about them as any other human being.
I wasted good years trying to imitate what I thought I could learn from popular culture about the opposite gender.
9. So many things…
Notable however: Flunking out of college because 18/19 year old me would rather get f**ked up on a weeknight than go to class, and study.
Then shortly thereafter, turning down a guaranteed spot in the millwrights union because “I’m going to go back to college.”…which predictably never happened.
10. Punching a wall
Hit the stud. The fracture in my hand didn’t properly heal as well as losing the use of two of my tendons which makes opening my hand a nuisance. As you could imagine it was my dominant hand. My life isn’t h**l from it but boy If I could go back in time to my teenage years, that’s when I’d go.
Please please please!!!! If you ever feel like you need to hit something for whatever reason please hit something soft and not living, like a pillow. Your delicate hands will thank you down the road.
11. Sharing needles
Spent the next 40 years with Hepatitis C and did two unsuccessful Interferon treatments that lasted a total of 22 months.
Fortunately, got cured in 2015 with a 90 day treatment of Harvoni, but still, I spent a lot of time effort during some very important years trying to get well.
12. Not finding your bliss
Not asking my parents for help with finding things I really enjoyed doing.
I think maybe if I’d joined a chess club or something like that, I’d actually have had a lot more fun and made some friends.
I was really lonely for a long time and it wasn’t easy to make up for the lack of social development during those important years.
13. Being lazy
It’s not so much of an issue now, but it really bit me in the a** when I tried to make it on my own.
I was incredibly lazy and unambitious. I didn’t have any job experience, any extracurricular activities, no hobbies, no clubs.
I had nothing going for me. It’s pretty hard to get hired based on nothing but your own assurance that you’ll do a good job.
I want to go back and shake 15-year-old me who thought buying c**arettes with my lunch money would cause weight loss.
I am 50 now, and quit s**king when I was in my mid-40s, but the damage done to my lungs and heart is permanent. I got a fitness watch three years after I quit, and it says that my “fitness age” (based on VO2 and exercise tolerance) is still that of a 70-year-old, even though I exercise every day.
15. Thinking poorly of myself
Parents were big on calling out and punishing mistakes, but not much for praising or rewarding good behavior, so I grew up into a rather meek teenager and always just assumed that if a situation felt bad or awkward, it was because of me and my shortcomings.
High school was staying silent, waiting to be acknowledged, and being terrified of being noticed since (in my mind) it could only be for a negative reason. I’m a lot better than I used to be, but it’s definitely still something I struggle with.
S**ked a pack a day for almost 15 years, started when I was 16-17 Finally quit 100% about a year ago when my wife and I found out we were expecting.
I’ve been really good, and haven’t had a single s**ke, but I’m not gonna lie, at least once a day I think “d**n a c**arette would be good right now”
17. Taking out student loans
I foolishly took out a private student loan for my wife about 8 years ago and I finally paid the interest down to just under what was loaned.
I’ve been making full payments and more for over 4 years.
SallieMae is barely better than being literally mugged and beat half to death. It’s the payday loans of student loans.
18. Skipping P.E.
My mom was always too scared I’d hurt myself during P.E class in school, so she always would write me notes to give to the gym teacher that I couldn’t participate in class.
Every single day…
I wanted to tell my mom I wanted to not just participate in class, but that I also wanted to play sports.
But I didn’t. That’s my mistake.
The last time I exercised was probably 12 years old, I’m 27 in a few weeks and my body is like that of a 55-year-old man.
I can’t stand up straight, my knees are killing me, my heart rate increases to around 140 BPM if I so much as even walk more than 100 feet, I can’t lift anything more than 25ish pounds, if I sit down I need someone to help get me off the ground, if I sit in a chair I need to take about 3 seconds to “lift-off” the chair.
But like OP said, “until now”
I have been walking .25 miles every single day, pushing myself harder and harder, for the past 6 days. My goal is to just be able to walk 10 miles. My ultimate goal is to straighten up my back, be able to run 5k, and get rid of all this fat on my body. Already got my binge eating halfway under control. One step at a time.
19. Not pursuing things
Never learned to do anything that I wasn’t forced to do. So I lack the discipline to do things I want to do and don’t have the social skills required to meet people because it wasn’t something I had to do.
I guess it’s a simple fix but it’s not easy.
20. Joining the Army
Seriously take this advice: Go to medical and get on record every medical issue you have.
Any falls or injuries you’ve had, back pain, IBS issues, whatever etc. Make sure they’re documented somewhere. Then, before you leave base make sure you have a copy of those medical records.
I promise you future you will thank you for doing that.
21. Tried to fit in too much
It made me realize I had the wrong group surrounding me.
After HS, I cut everyone off, don’t have many friends now but I’d rather wait to make friends that I know I’m able to connect with as me, not as someone I’m trying to be.
22. Not telling girls I liked them
Years later, 3 different ones told me: I liked you when we were in middle school/high school.
I never had the confidence to let them know and I think about it every now and then.
23. Starting to s**ke
Did it because I was out with a girl who offered. Also, because The Rolling Stones were s**king in all their pictures and they’re cool as f**k.
Now, almost 20 years later….I wish I had a f**kin’ time machine.
Impressing that girl didn’t end up mattering at all and while, yes, The Rolling Stones *DO in fact* look cool….emphysema does not.
24. Being a bad friend
I sometimes feel random guilt towards people that cut me of because of things I did.
And that’s okay that they got away and got space, but I wish I could apologize.
Now ages after, it would just be weird.
25. Not taking the time to be a child
I was always independent and pretty much spent all my time working to make money. Now that I’m an adult, thats all I really do too.
I wish a f**ked around more. Worked less when I didn’t need to.
26. Buying into the “gifted kid” thing
It’s exciting when everything comes easily, but it also means I never established good study/work habits and it’s been a b**ch slowly rectifying that.
27. Not getting in shape
Depression has prevented me from being able to hold a stable routine for almost anything outside of work since I was 18.
If I’d built up some muscle mass earlier even my depression would have been less problematic.
28. Damaging my hearing
With loud music, guns and being in a garage band. I now have permanent hearing loss and persistent tinnitus.
The constant ringing drives me insane sometimes.
29. Not learning French
As a Canadian, not learning French.
For some reason it’s an option once you reach grade 7, and everybody switches because learning the basics of a new language is easier than learning intermediate/advanced French. So not only are students encouraged to switch to a different language because they’ll get better grades, but imo languages like Japanese or German are just more fun, especially if all of your friends are taking one of them.
The unfortunate thing is that switching languages is shooting yourself in the foot should you ever get a job with the government. It’s more difficult to even get a job, and once you do get one you can get less pay and it’s more difficult to progress your career.
I have no idea why such an important decision is given to literal children. Honestly, I think every Canadian should have to speak both English and French fluently. Your average Canadian will never need Spanish or German, so why even give kids the choice?
And before anybody says “why don’t you just learn French now?” I’m trying! I recently made a bet that I would learn French if the Montreal Canadiens beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in the playoffs, which they did, so I made a duolingo subscription. However, as an adult I just don’t have the time or motivation to learn a language, so the progress has been discouragingly slow
30. Not finding a good therapist
If I pushed this and figured it out as an early teen, I could have bettered my whole life.
Solid advice to both the kids of the past and present!
Do you have any big regrets?
Tell us about them in the comments.