I was 17 once. Hard to believe when you look at my column photo but it’s true.
I had a bad mullet and an attitude. I worked part time and thought I was the next best thing since sliced bread.
I was not a good student when I was in high school.
It wasn’t that I couldn’t do the work, it was that I didn’t want to do the work.
I made the decision to party my way through my last year and so I didn’t graduate. I missed by two credits.
How dumb is that? Two credits.
I had a stable home life, enough food on the table and clothes to wear.
I had a good group of friends.
There was no excuse other than I just lacked the motivation.
I wish I could blame someone or something.
No can do — this was all on me.
After school, I decided to work full time and try and discover what I wanted to do.
I thought I had all the time in the world to make something of myself.
Time is a funny thing. When you are 17 it lasts forever and never runs out. Then you hit 30. Then 40.
Now time blows by and I can’t stop it.
Looking back at it, I regret those decisions I made when I was a teenager because they have had a lasting impact on my life.
I sit and daydream about what I might be doing if I had applied myself in school and gone to college.
Maybe I’d be a lawyer or work in politics.
If time travel is ever invented, the first thing I would do is go back in time and punch my teenage self in the face.
That’s the thing with regrets. They never resolve themselves, they fester.
The question becomes where to go from here.
I don’t think I’m alone. We all have regrets and we all wish we could go back in time and reverse a bad decision.
Recently, I was re-visiting a career decision I’d made and the question was posed to me: “Why did you take the job?”
I often leap into career decisions before I plan the landing.
This has served me well in the past but it can sometimes be problematic.
I follow my heart but sometimes my heart betrays me.
One of my favourite Seinfeld episodes is one where George Costanza decides to do the opposite of his instinct.
This leads him into relationship with a beautiful woman and a job with the New York Yankees.
I wonder if that is a good strategy for me.
Maybe if I did the opposite of my instinct…..
Is it too late for me to go back and achieve my high school graduation?
Is it too late for me to take college courses?
I’m not sure but I want to find out.
The point to all of this reflection is that regret eats at you. Don’t let it.
Do the opposite.
Rob Murphy is the sales manager at the Summerland Review.