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"I Wasted A Lot Of Time Doing This": Millennials Are Sharing Regrets From When They Were Younger, And I Think Gen Z Should Listen Up

We're always told not to live with regrets; however, I think since we're human, regrets are bound to pop up. I know I have some! People of the BuzzFeed Community shared some of the things they regret doing (or not doing) in their younger years. Here is what people had to say:

Man in tank top with "NO RAGRETS" tattoo on chest, pulling shirt down to display it

1."I regret listening to my parents too much as I entered adulthood. I should’ve taken more risks career-wise when I had the opportunity. I wasted a lot of time just getting by with jobs I hated living in a city I hated because it was 'safe.' I only just got into a new career path in my 30s."

Pedestrians crossing the street in a busy city against a backdrop of buildings and sunlight
Ezra Bailey / Getty Images

2."Spending too much time hung up on my first love. He was a dick, and I missed out on keeping really good friends because of it. Also, I regret wasting so much time worrying about what I looked like when now I realize how much better I looked back then."

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3."Falling for 'If you really loved me, you'd do [BLANK].' So much coerced consent, which I didn't realize was bad; I just thought that everyone does things they hate (some seriously traumatizing things) for their partner."

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4."I regret not having more fun as an undergrad. I decided to complete a bachelor's degree in three years with a double major, then went straight into grad school. I spent all of my time studying and working. I didn't date or go to parties. I wish I had done more of the typical college things."

Person studying with open books and laptop on a desk
D3sign / Getty Images

5."I had a toxic upbringing and a bad falling out with my father in my early 20s, and I thought I'd have longer to figure it out and restart a relationship with him. He died shortly after I turned 31. He met my husband once when we were in our early years of being together, but he was drunk, and it wasn't a good situation. He never got to meet my son. This year will be the fourth anniversary of when he took his life following an ALS diagnosis."

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6."I regret taking no for an answer from my parents when they wouldn't let me try new things. I should have pushed harder. If I had, maybe I'd be an amazing dancer, a black belt in karate, or an amazing pianist."

Two people having a conversation while sitting on a bed
Ivan Pantic / Getty Images

7."Ignoring red flags because she was supposed to be my best friend. She was a user. She said unkind things behind my back. She’s a bad person. I didn’t deserve that. I wish I could apologize to 28-year-old me."

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8."This is the opposite of what most people say, but I regret getting a degree in a subject I love that doesn't pay anything. I'm in my mid-30s, have no savings, and am living paycheck to paycheck. My student loans may never be paid off. I'm not sure I'll be able to retire. Did I enjoy many of my jobs and feel like I was improving the world? Yes, and that's great. But so is being able to go to the grocery store and not have to hold my breath worrying that my card will get rejected again."

Person in a store carrying an empty shopping basket, walking by produce section
Oscar Wong / Getty Images

9."I wish I had gotten to know my mom, really know her. I wish I had asked her questions about her childhood, what her favorite Christmas memory was, what her favorite book was, and why. She died suddenly last year, and all her memories with her."

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10."Focusing too much on having a boyfriend and the 'win' of getting a guy to choose me."

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11."I wish I had traveled more in early adulthood. I always felt like I couldn't, mostly because I couldn't afford it, but also, being in college and working took up all of my time. I've tried to make up for it, but once I reached 30, my career was much more demanding, and I almost always take my laptop with me wherever I go, so it's not always vacation."

Interior of an airplane showing passenger seats and overhead compartments
Jasmin Merdan / Getty Images

12."I wish my dad had been more encouraging and complimentary to my sisters and me. We were never told we were beautiful because his mother told him pride was a sin. If he had been a more loving girl dad instead of an 'I wish I had boys' dad and encouraged my self-esteem, maybe I would feel beautiful and have more joy. I wish all of that could have been different."

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13."I really wanted to play guitar but always thought it would be too expensive and time-consuming. I finally got into it in my late 40s, but my mental plasticity isn't what it used to be. I could have been so much better if I'd started earlier."

Close-up of a person's hands tuning an acoustic guitar
Pablo Rasero / Getty Images/iStockphoto

14."I should have quit smoking the minute I smoked and inhaled an entire cigarette and it made me sicker than shit. That should have been the wake-up call, but no, I kept smoking until I was 34, then went to vaping, and now completely quit both. It took years and several quit attempts to kick the habit finally, but young people now, PLEASE stop smoking NOW. If you're curious, DON'T DO IT. Hopefully, I'm saving one person from years of shitty health and withdrawals. It's not worth the time and money. Trust me."

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

The National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline is 1-888-950-6264 (NAMI) and provides information and referral services; GoodTherapy.org is an association of mental health professionals from more than 25 countries who support efforts to reduce harm in therapy.