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Opportunity for regret
Old 11-11-2012, 08:53 AM   #1
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Opportunity for regret

I found this article today, thought it was quite interesting to share.

My biggest regret : not being able to help more patients here and in third world countries.

A small regret : not being able to post here and Bogleheads site more often

What are your small and large regrets ?

Very conservative with investments. Not ER'd yet, 48 years old. Please do not take anything I write or imply as legal, financial or medical advice directed to you. Contact your own financial advisor, healthcare provider, or attorney for financial, medical and legal advice.
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:55 AM   #2
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Biggest regret - Not recognizing my son suffered from anxiety disorder until he flunked out of college....twice. In hindsight, I think the signs were there.

Small regret - giving up the piano.

I guess the good thing is, if I was asked to list my top 10 regrets, I think I would have a hard time coming up with 10. I always tried to make decisions based on "no regrets", so I guess I did okay. But yeah, the first one will always bother me. I think if I had recognized the signs when he was a child, and gotten him some help then - things would have been a lot easier for him these past years.

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Old 11-11-2012, 11:01 AM   #3
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Call it regret or whatever, but if I can go back and do things differently, I would spend more time with my parents and less time pursuing career and money. Regret may be too strong a word though. Back when I was busy with work and preparing for the future, I was sure it was the right thing to do. I choose not to second guess myself now, but instead focus on what I can do in the present.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Retired at 49. Catching up on life's simple pleasures.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:15 AM   #4
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I'll stay off the deeply personal stuff as it's ... personal.


Big regret --- not having a better developed investment plan as I do now (I think ).

Small regret -- not finding a way to be master of the universe

really small regret -- not finding a way to be always happy in the present, and always present in the present
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:04 PM   #5
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Reminds me of the widely circulated Top 5 Regrets article, was also discussed here a while back. Lots of links, just one
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. "This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it."
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard. "This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings. "Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result."
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. "Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying."
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. "This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 40% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 25% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:01 PM   #6
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To quote Sinatra:

"Regrets, I've had a few;
But then again, too few to mention.
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption."
There must be moderation in everything, including moderation.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:12 PM   #7
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Biggest regret...not being more insistent about convincing late husband to move away from here, where his wacked out family lived waaay too close for my taste. Our lives would have been so different without that constant drama. Sigh.

Smallest regret...hmmmm...I'll call this a medium size regret...going to public college instead of US Coast Guard active duty with them paying for college and then going straight to OCS (yes I had it all in writing) after high school. I often wonder about that. I knew I had the guts to get through it.
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:39 PM   #8
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Big: Spending too much time and energy on my very stressful work, which affected my husband and family.

Small: When I was about 12 I told my parents that the librarian wouldn't let me use the restroom, when in fact I was terrified to ask her. They wrote to the county government about it and I suspect she got in trouble. I never had the courage to apologize to her in person before she died.

Edit: Thanks for posting this - I have shared with my family. Important message.
"One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute." William Feather
ER'd Oct. 2010 at 53. Life is good.
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:24 PM   #9
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A laundry list of small regrets - not doing post-grad, not learning a second language, not investing my life savings in Apple when it was below $10 per share etc etc

But no big ones. Life's been good to me. A wonderful marriage, two great children, seeing a bit of the world, good health, able to FIRE earlier than most and so on.

The choices I've made may not have been perfect, but they were good enough.
Budgeting is a skill practised by people who are bad at politics.
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:05 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by traineeinvestor View Post
...The choices I've made may not have been perfect, but they were good enough.
I love this quote and the attitude behind it.
If there's one thing in my life that's missing; It's the time I spend alone
Sailing on the cool and bright clear waters; There's lots of those friendly people
Showin me ways to go; And I never want to lose your inspiration
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:08 PM   #11
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Why think regrets?

Que sera sera.

Or from the 2-bit gambler-
Ya pays yer $$ & ya takes yer chances
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ERhoosier View Post
Why think regrets?

Que sera sera.

Or from the 2-bit gambler-
Ya pays yer $$ & ya takes yer chances
Like-wise. I guess I sorta don't believe in 'regrets'.

What's to regret? If you aren't doing something in the present - then do it. There must be a reason you aren't doing it. It must not be that important to you, so how can you regret not doing it if it was your choice? You did other things instead, right?

And if it is something you regret because you can't do it (NBA star?) - what's the point of that?

And if it was in the past - well, we can't do anything about that now, so use it to change our future decisions. I call that experience, not regret.

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Old 11-11-2012, 08:27 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by ls99 View Post
To quote Sinatra:

"Regrets, I've had a few;
But then again, too few to mention.
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption."
My sentiments, exactly. I'd like to add the following.

While Sinatra popularized this song, the English lyrics were written by Paul Anka, and to the music of an original French song called "Comme d'habitude" ("As usual"). The original French lyrics are that of a love song and bear no resemblance to English lyrics above.
"Old age is the most unexpected of all things that can happen to a man" -- Leon Trotsky
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:25 PM   #14
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I don't think I am susceptible to this. I am glad.

Basically, no matter what happens if one is partial to feeling regret, he will. There is a Chinese proverb too long to quote, but the gist of it is that events do not reveal themselves fully without the passage of time. Things you may regret not having done, had you done them might have set the stage for major disasters for you or others. When I look back over my life, many things might have been done differently, and at first glance might have helped- but then I would not have had the pleasures and good fortune and rewards of the paths that I did take. One never gets anything without giving up something. Who is to say whether what was given up would have been more cherished than what actually happened?

"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
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Old 11-12-2012, 12:48 AM   #15
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I do have one regret. It's the only one I can think of. I really wish I had taken my kitty to the vet before she died a few months ago. In retrospect, I now realize that she was showing obvious signs that something was wrong, but I discounted them and figured she'd be OK. She was only a few years old and I still miss her.

Unless I'm suffering from some kind of selective memory, I don't think I have any other regrets in my life.
Contentedly ER, with 3 furry friends (now, sadly, 2). Planning my escape to the wide open spaces in my campervan (with the kitties, of course!)
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:17 AM   #16
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Little regret: Not buying a slightly more expensive home in a nicer neighborhood 23 years ago. Since we own out home free and clear, we will probably stay here in retirement. However, I wish that we had spent $25000 more at the time and bought another home we looked at in a nearby area. That neighborhood is really well kept and very desirable. We thought at the time that it would be too high for us.

Big regret: not being a lot more patient with my son, as he was growing up. He has ADD and we didn't know it for sure until he was in college. We thought he was being lazy and stubborn. They didn't diagnose it much back then, so we didn't know. Once he found out, it was life changing. He has a really great job as a software engineer for a medical software company. Back then, he never seemed to be able to remember homework, always was on trouble in school with teachers, etc.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:22 AM   #17
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I regret not having been born into a well-to-do family.

If regrets are for something you had control over, then I regret very little. Many of my decisions haven't turned out for the best, yet they seemed the best decisions based on what was known at that time. I can't say I've done very many things on impulse, or without researching available options.

Edit: I have had a tendency to hang onto fruitless relationships (mostly work-job sphere, but a few personal ones too) long past when I should have bailed. I keep wanting to give second, third, fourth chances, hoping that if I only try harder, things will get better.


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