360Conversations: Ten people answer the question, “What is your biggest regret?”
5th October, 2019
5th October, 2019
"Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way"
- Frank Sinatra, My Way
Despite having big hopes and dreams for our lives, sometimes we fall short. Our biggest regrets aren’t always something we did; sometimes they are the words we didn’t say, the places we didn’t go or the chances we didn’t take. Some mistakes may seem to be too grave to come back from, but it will always be more important to try.
1. Quit while you’re ahead.
I would say “Not leaving for Canada circa 2012 when I had an easy chance to, and instead pursuing a tertiary education in Nigeria.
- O.O|22|Ibadan, Nigeria.
2. Learn from your mistakes.
My biggest regret is not living up to my potential or even making the best of the situations I’ve been in. I had three tries at school (got into three Unis one after the other) and never really learned from my mistakes. Life is hard enough even for people who put their best into life. I made it harder for myself due to my actions/inactions.
-E.A|28| Enugu, Nigeria.
3. I should’ve never stayed here.
My biggest regret is not leaving this country earlier. Now everything is on standstill because my Father and Brother – in – law have been kidnapped for 6 months and 22 days and haven’t been released despite paying a hefty ransom. I have lost all hope in this country.
- C.D.A| Abuja, Nigeria
4. Don’t waste your life being angry.
I spent much of my growing years giving in to my anger. I was always mad at someone or something. Being a teenager stuck with their parents, my mother was mostly the recipient of my outbursts. One day she asked me to do a simple chore – something really stupid, I could’ve done it in seconds – but I wanted to play video games and she was a thorn in my side at that moment. I was so mad about having to pause; I didn’t speak to her for days. Well, she passed away from a car accident before I got to even calm myself and speak to her again. My last words to her were “I wish you’d go away forever.”
- T.I |24|Westminster, England.
5. Having sex at a young age isn’t all its cranked up to be.
Everyone was going on about liberation. Giving the middle finger to your parents’ rules and embracing your true self could only be achieved by jumping in bed before you even knew what to do once you got on there. I didn’t get pregnant or catch any STDs but there are a lot of embarrassing stories about me out there from stuff I did before I even understood hygiene. 0/10; would not recommend.
- O.A|25|Lagos, Nigeria.
6. Your body, your choice.
I got pregnant at 15. My parents are Christian and strongly anti-abortion so they wanted me to keep it. I did not want to be a parent at 15 but I didn’t have any option but to have the child. She’s 8 now and I’ve never felt a connection to her as a parent, maybe a step sibling at best as she lives with my parents. I wish I could show her how a mother should love their child but I simply cannot. It was my body. I should’ve terminated.
- S.S |24|Lagos, Nigeria.
7. Marry for love or for money or for fame or not at all. It’s all a sham anyway.
Hands down, my biggest regret is getting married. I don’t know if I’d feel the same if I had chosen a different partner but the one I chose makes me hate life. I thought I had the recipe, having chosen the poorest of three options that I loved, supported and believed in. He’s leaving me for his ex whom he was heartbroken by when we met. She didn’t support his dreams, so I did. Well, guess who’s reaping it now, not me.
- F.F|32|Abuja, Nigeria.
8. I really regret investing so much in someone.
My biggest regret would be opening up and investing so much into someone I felt I would spend a lifetime with and have her put an end to everything after almost 2 years. Her ridiculous reason, “I can’t be in constant contact with people”. I had spent so much time, emotion, been vulnerable and opened up to this person. I always felt more like an afterthought than a priority; almost like I was a joke.
- F.S|23|Lagos, Nigeria.
9. Be brave. A life might depend on it.
I am an internal medicine resident. I’m no stranger to life and death situations but when I was faced with a dying woman on a plane, I turned my face out of the window at the call for a doctor. I was scared motionless. Unfamiliar territory and a little bit of performance anxiety, maybe. She died. I don’t know if I could’ve saved her, but I know I should’ve tried.
10. Imagine being unilingual in a country with more than 520 languages.
Something I regret deeply is never learning a Nigerian Language. I speak English, that’s not ours so it doesn’t count. I grew up in a household where English was almost exclusively spoken. I learned to say “I don’t understand” in our dialect so I can reply to my mom when she tries to speak our language to me. It’s probably too late to learn.
- I.A |23|Lagos, Nigeria
Listening to these stories was a heartbreaking feat. It hurts to think about all the opportunities missed and the actions not taken. What’s most important is learning from our past mistakes and becoming better versions ourselves.
Here’s to living regret-free lives going forward.
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