We get told a lot that we should live our lives with no regrets. But how are we supposed to do that? 

Most of the time there’s no one there to give us advice on the right choices to make and the right thing to do to avoid making choices we regret. Making regrettable life choices is a good way to get the experience that tells us what to do to avoid making the same mistakes over and over. 

It’s too bad our older and wiser selves can’t talk to us from the future and give us guidance about what to do and avoid making those regrettable choices that will come back to haunt us.


Sometimes I think about what I would tell myself at different times in my life. 

Maybe I would tell me: 

  • It’s okay to have a sense of humor and be a wise guy, but not when you work in a corporate office.
  • Get a job.
  • Study journalism and writing. Natural ability will only get you so far.
  • Same with guitar lessons.
  • Tell Laurie you have a huge crush on her and ask her to go out with you.
  • Spend more time reading comic books.
  • When the guidance counselor tells you to make sure to have a social life and have fun in college, he’s not suggesting you do that instead of going to class and studying.
  • Don’t mix beer and tequila.
  • When people tell you to straighten up and fly right they are not suggesting you should become an airline pilot.
  • Invest in Microsoft and get in on the ground floor. Stocks are pretty cheap right now.
  • Flammable and inflammable mean the same thing.
  • Just because you still have checks doesn’t mean you still have money in the bank.
  • Always listen to your inner voice unless it tells you to take off your clothes and run out onto the field at halftime.
  • Most of the time thinking, she’ll never know doesn’t turn out to be true. 
  • Don’t even think about trying to use your VISA to pay off your Discover card.
  • Always look before you leap—don’t go off half-cocked–sometimes it pays to ask yourself first what could go wrong? That question usually has a lot of answers, and not fun ones.
  • Before you break a rule or a law, make sure to find out why it was put in place to begin with. 
  • You are nine years old—you aren’t smarter than your parents. Sometimes there’s a good reason why they tell you not to do something.
  • When she tells you that’s not funny, don’t laugh and keep doing it. 

But I think the best advice I would give me this: 

  • Eat well but eat right. Eat a vegetable once in a while. 
  • Stop putting off seeing a doctor for years and years. 
  • Watch your blood pressure. 
  • Don’t give yourself a stroke. 

I would no doubt tell myself about those last few. I’d scream it if that’s what it took. I really don’t regret having a stroke in my past–but I sure do think I would regret having another one. That’s why I’m taking my own advice on this one.

Isaac Peterson grew up on an Air Force base near  Cheyenne, Wyoming. After graduating from the University of Wyoming, he embarked on a career as an award-winning investigative journalist and as a semi-professional musician in the Twin Cities, the place he called home on and off for 35 years. He doesn’t mind it at all if someone offers to pick up his restaurant tab and, also, welcomes reader comments. Email him at isaac3rd@gmail.com. Read more articles by Isaac here; https://www.brainenergysupportteam.org/archives/tag/isaac-peterson

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