Not Looking Back In Hindsight Is Hard | Sortin’ My Life Out
Nostalgia is a big part of being a millennial.
I never though I did it that much, but clocking every time I take a trip down memory lane, I probably do it a good few times a week. When you’re struggling with life, looking back to a ‘simpler time’ can do one of two things;
- make you feel great
- make you feel worse
I try to use looking back as a way of appreciating where I am now, how far I’ve come, and seeing how much has changed over time, whether it’s good or bad. It doesn’t always essentially make me feel great, but sometimes it’s a necessary thing to force me to understand that not everything is at a standstill in my life.
I am moving forward. I am making changes. And change is a good thing.
As someone who is sorting her life out, I find spiralling thoughts looking back in hindsight to be the most unproductive, pointless thing to do. Yet I still do it. I can always say to myself
“If you did A, B and C differently, you’d be in a better place than you are today.”
But that’s not true at all. Certain aspects of my life may be better, but then other things that are good right now might have suffered if I were to take that path. But I seem to love mapping out my past years differently; tweaking things here and there, to make the seemingly perfect version of myself that will never exist anyway.
The only parts of my life I can affect are the present and the future.
So, what is it about my past I would change when I’m lying awake at 2am, filled with anxiety?
1. Poor Education Choices
Fourteen years old is way too young to be making big choices. There, I said it. Funnily enough, your qualifications can affect your entire life, and that wasn’t something I could wrap my head around in Year 9. Choosing my GCSE’s felt so easy at the time. I chose based on what friends were choosing, what I thought was an easy A, and what I thought would be a fun lesson. I chose:
- Media Studies
I regret 2/4 of these choices. Art and Textiles were terrible subjects to pick; I only took them because I liked the teachers and I thought they would be fun. Liking teachers is all well and good, but no one cares when you’re sat in a job interview at 25. I ended up not enjoying either and they make no contribution to my skills or experience now I’m an adult. I’m terrible at art and I still can’t draw.
What would I have chosen, you ask?
- French – I love languages and was the top of my class. However, when I moved to a new school, I acted up and misbehaved to fit in with the class. I also had a bad teacher.
- Business Studies – Even just a little introduction into how business works, no matter how much further I took it. I have no idea what they even taught in those classes but I know that after two years, you received a BTEC in Business, which I think would have been useful.
Education isn’t something that’s set in stone. You learn throughout your life, and it’s madness how much I want to learn now compared to how little I cared when I was younger. I have plans to at least join a language class, and I’m definitely learning how to drive. Learning to drive is also something I would do so much earlier than now. I had so much free time during sixth form. Free periods. Finishing an hour early. My parents even offered to pay for lessons but instead I chose to go to Disneyland for my 18th. Eye roll.
2. Missed Opportunities
Everyone makes bad decisions. I don’t think you can have a life without bad decisions. But when you’re in a situation you don’t want to be in, or even just not having the best time, you think about all the opportunities you missed because you decided against them. The reasons back then were reasonable, and they’re still reasonable to me now. But in times of hindsight, my mind rolls back to the skipped interviews, because it was a ‘difficult’ commute, or the last minute changes that meant I couldn’t attend certain things. All things that might have changed the outcome of my career. It’s strange to look at people younger than me, on a somewhat similar career path as me, knowing the correct steps to take earlier in life that I seemed to miss the class on.
When life isn’t going the way you want it to, it’s easy to look back and think of all the things you could have done to not end up in the place you are now. But it’s also important to remember all the things that have happened; all the good things.
I may not have made the right choices in education, but I ended up going to university and graduating with the only degree I could ever see myself enjoying. I missed opportunities that would have helped me along the way. But new opportunities arose, opportunities that I found and forged myself. I made things happen, albeit slowly and with time to heal.
It’s nice to look back on your life, but there’s no point in thinking about what could have happened, what you could have done. I’d rather look at what I can do to make my future bright and better and happy.
And then maybe I can look at my past and not look back in anger at one single thing.