Life lessons: 5 things I’d love to try all over again

We've all got regrets from our younger days. Here's 5 of the most common things young people often wish they had done differently.

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Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it? If only we could turn back the clock and erase all the mistakes we made and change the course of our future, our lives would be so much easier. But would they? Maybe we’d end up being extremely naïve and less resilient than we are now if we haven’t been through life’s ups and downs.

Nevertheless there are some things that really might make life less complicated if we had avoided them – things like taking that trip instead of staying with the guy, going for that better job or just avoiding drugs and the hot water that can come with them.

So – if you had your very own genie in a bottle, what would you change? Or put another way, if you could sit down with your younger self, what advice would you give you?

1. Hey… start studying and stop partying – this is your HSC!

So a lot of us went through a bit of a rebellious stage, when we thought hitting the books would wait for later and partying, going out or just surfing on our phones was more interesting and important. 

The problem with being young is that long-term consequences can seem so far away they barely hold any relevance to your daily life. If you plan to do your HSC, it’s just one of those things you’ll wish you did right the first time. 

Failing or even not getting the marks you wanted is absolutely not the end of the world, but doesn’t getting that ATAR you wanted make life easier? Even if you got into uni as a mature-aged student or did a trade instead, if you partied too hard, or just sat on the couch and got stoned during your HSC, maybe one of the things you’d want to advise your younger self is to take the harder track then – study your backside off – and the easier track later so you can graduate with your friends and get on with your life.

2. Seriously… you’ve been wasted all night and you think you can drive?

Remember that night you spent out with friends at a club, dancing, drinking, having the time of your lives? Remember how you felt the next day? Sleep deprived, queasy, achy and just a little bit like the Maccas doesn’t want to stay down. While days like that might seem way too wild now, and nights like that were definitely the cause of a great deal of pain, was one of your worst decisions maybe agreeing to drive a mate to work the next day?

 

We all know not to drink and drive, but by morning, many of us forget that rule and think because we’ve had a sleep and a burger we’re ok. Do you really remember that next day? Getting pulled over by the police and losing your green Ps – along with the delivery job that was going to pay for your Europe trip? Hey younger you, stay away from the car after a big night on the booze and/or weed!

3. Developing a weed addiction as a teenager

It seemed like harmless fun at the time, chilling out with your mates on the weekends, getting stoned and watching hilarious Youtube clips on the couch – but soon the occasional joint may become a regular feature, something that if missing for a day or two, becomes an increasingly big deal.

As a teen it was easy to think nothing bad would ever happen to you – hey, a lot of us still believe it now. And things like addiction don’t happen to everyone, so it was nicer to think you’d be the one who puff-puff-passed with no problems. But the problem is people who start smoking regularly while young are more likely to get addicted to weed, and with the withdrawals – anxiety, trouble sleeping, intense cravings –motivation for things like study and friends can be hard to find. Did addiction to weed eat up all your money for that Bali trip with your mates? Make you anti-social? Cause you to lose that girlfriend that would have stuck around?

4. The one that ‘got away’

Yes, many of us still carry a flame for ‘the one that got away’ in our youth, and maybe you’re no exception. While sometimes the old statement ‘all good things must come to an end’ may be true in some cases, at other times, it’s the decisions we make – how we behave, how we treat people, even what we spend money on – that can result in something great escaping from our lives prematurely. Was there something you could have done to keep the ‘one that got away’ on the line?

5. Choosing Coke over Pepsi

OK so that’s not really something to lose sleep over but we wanted to end on a light note because the great news is that most mistakes are just that, a one-off event that we may not be proud of but don’t define us or our futures permanently. More than anything, it’s important to know they can be great learning points, for you and for others. Mistakes help us learn, grow and hopefully become better people.

There’s a fair chance that despite the items listed above, you got your life on track and have countless great memories of exciting times, and some amazing opportunities to look forward to in the future. But sometimes… just sometimes, you think about how things would have been just a little easier if you made a different decision here and there. Instead of having regrets (because let’s face it – that just makes now less enjoyable!), share your story so someone else can make a better decision. Tell your kids, nieces, nephews, friends about studying harder, the one that got away, what weed can do to you, or the dangers of next day driving and help them make better decisions!

If you’re still battling a cannabis addiction, our free helpline (1800 30 40 50) and Get Help page has a wealth of advice, information and pathways to quitting.

 

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