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Nine Things I Regret Doing When I Was Younger

Paul is an American ex-pat living in Thailand. He has lived and worked in Southeast Asia for many years.

9 Things I Regret in Life

9 Things I Regret in Life

My father used to say, "You get too soon old and yet too late smart." Unfortunately, It took me almost 71 years to get smart and finally realize the wrongs I committed when younger.

The light finally came on when I became a septuagenarian, and especially when I lost my left kidney due to cancer a few months short of my 71st birthday. At that time, I started to reflect with regret on wrong things committed when I was younger.

In this article, I reflect on the following nine wrongs committed when I was younger. They include:

  1. Drinking and smoking
  2. Taking advantage of my parents
  3. Not spending enough time with my parents
  4. Not setting a good example for my children
  5. Not being a more understanding person
  6. Not investing my money
  7. Not recognizing my aptitudes at an earlier age
  8. Not taking or saving pictures when younger
  9. Not asking my parents about my ancestors

Reflecting with Regret on Wrong Things Done When Younger

Reflecting on Wrongs in My Life

Reflecting on Wrongs in My Life

1. Drinking and Smoking

Drinking and smoking are two of the biggest wrongs I committed when younger. I not only harmed my health but also wasted a lot of my money and set a bad example for my children.

I am certain that drinking and smoking were one of the major causes of my hypertension. These bad habits also probably contributed to my kidney cancer.

When younger, I initially enjoyed smoking and drinking but later they became vile uncontrollable habits. Although I was able to control my drinking, I continued to smoke for 28 years. I had lost my sense of smell and didn't realize that my clothes and body reeked with the smell of smoke. My second-hand smoke had also harmed my wife and children.

Having now stopped both bad habits, I regret the harm done to both others and myself. These are two habits never to start.

2. Taking Advantage of My Parents

When younger, I took advantage of my parents on two major occasions.

The first occasion was when I attended college right out of high school. I received a student loan from the state of Wisconsin after my parents had co-signed for it. After graduation from school, I never repaid the loan. Mom and dad were then responsible and repaid the loan.

The second was when I was living in Taiwan in the 1970s. Twice my parents gave me money. The first time was assistance with starting a teaching business. The second occasion was money to fix my teeth but I never saw a dentist.

I didn't regret this irresponsible wrong until later in my parents' lives. By then, it was too late to fully repay them.

3. Not Spending Enough Time with My Parents

Little contact with my son over the past years makes me finally realize the wrong I committed by not spending more time with my parents at their advanced ages.

While living in Maryland during the last 15 years of dad's life, I made it a point to visit dad and my mother in Wisconsin at least once a year. Then, less than one year before dad passed away, I accepted an overseas job assignment in Thailand. I regret doing this because I wasn't close to Wisconsin when my father had a heart attack and passed away a few days later. I also wasn't around to comfort and assist my mother who had become afflicted with Parkinson's.

4. Not Setting a Good Example for My Children

When they were younger, I did not set a very good example for my children. At an early age, I exposed them to my drinking and especially my smoking. It shouldn't, therefore, have been a surprise when I saw my eldest son smoking in front of me when he was 15 and stealing my whiskey when he was 16. The youngest son also started smoking in high school.

I will always regret the bad example I set by drinking and smoking. Also, I regret not spending enough time with my boys when they were in junior and senior high school.

5. Not Being a More Understanding Person

If I had been a more understanding person when younger, I would not have the regrets that I have today. By having empathy for others, I could have avoided drinking and smoking. I could have also spent more time with my aging parents and set a better example for my children.

6. Not Investing My Money

Now that I am much older, I regret not investing my money wisely when younger. If I had invested my money in the stock market at a very early age, I would have had enough money to pay for my son's higher education. I also would have had enough money for living expenses not necessitating the need to take part-time jobs and be away from my family.

7. Not Recognizing My Aptitudes at an Earlier Age

It took me almost 27 years to recognize that I had an aptitude for teaching and learning languages and no aptitude for science. If I had recognized these aptitudes sooner, I would have saved almost five years of time and money studying science and trying to get into medical school.

8. Not Taking or Saving Pictures When Younger

The older I get, the more I appreciate pictures and photos from my younger years. Unfortunately, I have very few of these pictures.

When younger, I took hardly any pictures of my loved ones and friends. Some of the pictures that I took, I discarded after divorce.

I regret not having these pictures when writing my memoirs. It also pains me not to have them to pass on to my son.

Not Asking My Parents about Ancestors

Finally, I regret not asking my parents while they were living about my ancestors.

When younger, I had no interest in ancestry or family research. Now that I do have the interest, mom and dad are not around to answer questions about my great-grandparents, great-uncles, and other ancestors. My ancestry research would be much easier.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Paul Richard Kuehn

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