"I Wish I'd Tried Harder": 14 Honest Regrets From People In Their 30s And 40s

"I Wish I'd Tried Harder": 14 Honest Regrets From People In Their 30s And 40s

As a 30-year-old woman, I know I have things that I worried too much about or didn't do more of when I was younger. It's hard to live a life without ANY regrets. Recently, millennial members of the BuzzFeed Community shared things they actually regret from when they were younger. Here is what some had to say:

Woman with a concerned expression scratching her head while looking down

1."I am about to be 36 and feel like I have gotten much more perspective on my young adult and 20s experience. I wish I had believed when people told me I was pretty! I wish I had dumped my first boyfriend and enjoyed being free in college more. I wish I had taken more risks and gone after what I really wanted. I was so scared I didn't recognize all the opportunities around me."


2."I wished I had listened to my parents and changed my degree when they told me to. I would have had a totally different (and potentially fulfilling) career path instead of trying to start over in a new industry. I wasted so much time and money over something that ultimately did not work out."

Empty classroom with rows of desks and chairs facing a whiteboard and clock
Trevor Williams / Getty Images

3."I wouldn't have started drinking so much and, especially, wouldn't have always associated 'heavy drinking' with 'fun' for a lot of my 20s. At the time, especially because I was so academically focused in undergrad and grad school, it seemed like a 'cool' way to let loose and party. Now, over ten years later, I am not a person with alcoholism (according to my therapist and Partner), but I DO have a drinking problem. I rely on drinking too much as a way to have fun and loosen up. I wish I'd learned how to have a good time without booze when I was younger. It's harder now."


4."Learning to play guitar — my one regret was that I didn't learn to play jazz when I was younger. I have always loved listening to jazz and would have loved to play it well, although I'm sure it would have taken a lot of practice to be even halfway decent at it."

Person playing electric guitar seated on couch with small amplifier nearby
Juanma Hache / Getty Images

5."I wish I had started Tai Chi sooner. As a woman, I shied away from martial arts. I thought they were too rough and violent. Yoga was nice, but it did not grab my interest. With Tai Chi, I am learning meditative exercises, physical ones, and some good self-defense."


6."I too, wish I never started smoking. But I quit and never relapsed on the first try it's been almost nine years now. It was one of the hardest things I ever did."


7."I blew off my college friends for a guy who was just an absolute asshole. And I regret it. I miss them. Since we all graduated, I was cut from the group text (to be fair, they all live in a different city than I do), and I never see them except on social media."

Two people lying on a wooden floor, embracing and smiling at each other

8."I wish I started my novel when I was younger and my mental faculties were sharper. Now I'll never be able to write the book I was once capable of."


9."When I knew getting married to her was a mistake, I did it anyway because I didn't want to hurt her or her family. I just thought I would grow to love her truly. Advice to you all: if it feels wrong, it is. Cut and run now; it will be easier, and your old self will thank you."

A bride and groom exchange rings, focus on hands, wedding attire visible
Anna Blazhuk / Getty Images

10."All the times I was told to sit up straight, I said it was more comfortable to slouch. Now I am riddled with back problems, and I tell my son to sit up straight constantly, just like they told me back in my childhood and through my twenties. Seems small but makes a huge difference once you start aging!"


11."I wish I had learned how to prioritize my thoughts, feelings, and opinions when I was younger. I spent my entire life listening to everyone when they told me who I was or should be rather than listening to myself. The pandemic made me realize I was playing a character every single day of my life, and I didn't want to die without people knowing who I was, for better or for worse. I'm still learning how to be who I want to be vs. who others want me to be, and it's not easy, but I am so much happier."


12."I regret not making decisions that made me happy earlier and waiting until my 30s to live the life I want in my chosen city. I also wish I had ended a few friendships years ago or let a few more deteriorate earlier. Sometimes life happens, and you outgrow people, or they feel they outgrew you. It hurts, but their departure is making room for better relationships in the long run."

Person sitting outside writing in a spiral notebook with a pen, with nature in the background
Neustockimages / Getty Images/iStockphoto

13."I regret not exploring my sexuality earlier in life. I realized I was attracted to girls at 17, shortly after starting to date the guy I would go on to marry. Being coupled up through my late teens and the entirety of my 20s, I didn't have a chance to figure things out, and it took opening the marriage in my late 20s and falling head over heels for a girl just after I turned 30 to realize I wasn't genuinely in love with my husband. He was a good friend who I was okay being intimate with (I'd honestly thought I was just sex-indifferent ace-spec), but my feelings for him were nothing compared to how I felt (and still feel) about her. If we'd just taken a break to figure ourselves out, we could have saved ourselves a lot of wasted years."


14."I wish I'd tried harder to learn about my grandma's early life. she immigrated to the US from Japan in the 1950s after marrying my grandfather, and on the very few occasions I asked her about it, she didn't really say anything. By the time I was old enough to really care about my heritage and her as a person (outside of just being my grandma), she was near the end of her life and had a very poor memory."

Two people having a conversation on a couch, one person is holding the other's hand

Do you have any regrets from when you were younger? If so, share them with me in the comments below.