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Time's not well spent regretting

PUBLISHED: 08:41 06 March 2012

According to new research, we each spend three quarters of an hour dwelling on our regrets every week.

Looking at the list of people’s top 10 regrets, I felt quite smug. Top of the list was ‘not having saved more money’, second was ‘not having worked harder at school’ and third was ‘not having exercised more’.

I have saved money, I worked criminally – some might say psychopathically – hard at school and I’d rather spend quality time in a Thai prison than in the gym. Numbers four to 10 included not seeing more of the world, not staying in touch with people more, not having been more health conscious, not having appreciated an elderly relative before he or she passed away, not having taken more photos of experiences and getting married too early.

Although I think I’d like to see more of the world, in reality I am too apathetic to actually get around to doing so and I keep in touch with the people I want to keep in touch with (and some that I don’t, but that’s another story). I think I’ve appreciated elderly relatives – against very heavy odds, which included my Nanna and Granddad telling me how disappointed they were that I was going to university rather than taking up their offer to set up my own mobile hairdressing business – I take lots of photographs, I occasionally eat an apple and I am not the marrying kind. I do, however, have some regrets. I don’t, however, spend 45 minutes mithering to myself about them: I’d rather be doing the stuff that I’d regret not doing otherwise.

I regret having once dyed my hair blonde, which made me look like a low-rent blue movie star gone to seed, I regret having gone to university with a boyfriend instead of spending my first year rampantly cutting a swathe through eligible bachelors and I regret having a tattoo at 16 because now it looks a bit rubbish.

I regret not having seen Jaws more. I regret buying a VW Touareg and then selling it two weeks later because driving it made me feel like the very worst kind of woman on the planet and I regret the fact that I felt this was an issue, because that car had heated seats and my new one doesn’t. I regret every time I don’t tell someone eating out with me that the very smell of fish pie makes my stomach believe it’s on board a ferry in a force eight gale and I regret the fact that so many of my intros have to start with the words “according to new research”.

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