Health & Beauty
|The Top 10 Male Life Regrets|
Jon Skindzier - AskMen.com
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March 22, 2010
The worst thing about regret is that it sneaks up on you. You're cruising through life, satisfied and happy, and one day the stuff you screwed up or missed entirely suddenly hits you. And at that point there's no way to go back and correct things. How much will your 5,000 hours of Warcraft or Modern Warfare be worth when you're an old man, pondering the exhaustive list of things you never got to do?
This list is purely about guy regrets, stuff that young guys are suited for and that old guys now realize was precious but fleeting. We interviewed older men about everything they wished they'd done, had done differently or had never done at all. They talked a lot about relationships, careers and misspent youth, but the overarching idea was that you have to seize the day before you're confronted by the fact that you don't have too many days left to seize.
No.10 - Not playing a team sport
Sports are more than just an increasingly valuable physical activity in an increasingly obese world. Sports, especially of the coordinated team variety, are just as mentally and socially involved as they are physical. They serve as a kind of brief vacation from stress and worry; on top of that, being genuinely good at a sport (or at least having a few solid moments of accomplishment) gives you a feeling of agency and vigor that you can't get from anything else. This is particularly true after you've waited until you're limited to golf and horseshoes.
No.9 - Not staying in touch with friends
Outside of school and work, you're unlikely to wind up in situations where meeting people is purely incidental, where everyone is more or less forced to get to know one another and form friendships. Of course, you're not guaranteed to make friends in either situation, which is why it's so important to retain the ones you have. Neglecting friendships is easy - everyone's busy and everyone loses touch from time to time - but trying to revisit friendships after years have passed rarely works out.
No.8 - Not getting in a fight
With how much certainty can you think of yourself as tough if you've never been called out on it? You may not think of doling out an ass-kicking as a confidence-building exercise, but it sort of is. The most tangible benefit of getting in a fight is, quite simply, that now you've gotten in a fight. Plenty of guys wonder how they'd hold up in that situation, but they just can't be sure, and of course this is something there's ample excuse not to do when you're older. If you didn't have at least one solid fight while you were young, there's a good chance you never will.
No.7 - Not splurging on a badass car
It becomes progressively harder to justify having an impractical, flashy, impressive ride as you get older - there's a point after which having a family and trying to fit a career-oriented status quo will no longer tolerate your tooling around on an explosively loud Mustang. Even if you do hit a midlife crisis and decide you need a cherry-red convertible to call your own, it won't be the same because you'll no longer be the young, carefree guy you're picturing - you'll be the guy who sought escape from a midlife crisis with a cherry-red convertible.
No.6 - Getting married too soon
Around half of the marriages in the United States end in divorce, and one of the most common reasons for divorce is that both parties had a different view of how the relationship would turn out down the line. Some spur-of-the-moment relationships work with no planning at all, but they're not the norm; you need to be fully prepared for married life because emotion alone isn't going to be enough. Winding up in an unhappy relationship, especially with kids involved, is guaranteed to influence the rest of your life.
No.5 - Not sleeping with all willing parties
Youth is attractive, both as its own end and because it's easier to be an energetic guy in great physical shape when you're still young. Granted, some women are attracted to older guys, but for each of those there's one more who'd jump “young you” and won't spare “old you” a second thought. Now, while you're still a dynamic superstar (comparatively, anyway), is your chance to make the most of your virility while you still can.
No.4 - Being a workaholic
Nobody is arguing that work is bad or that your career isn't important, but you shouldn't feel compelled to spend every waking moment slaving away at your job while forgoing those experiences that are purely the domain of younger men (see the previous entry, for example). There are many things you can only do when you're young, and work is not one of them. Someday you're going to wish you'd gone skydiving or had a staggering amount of sex, and it's comparatively unlikely that you'll ever wish you'd worked more weekends.
No.3 - Ignoring your health
Smoking, drinking and everything else you shrug off because you're young will catch up to you later. It doesn't matter how physically fit you are despite of your junk food diet, because what you look like in the mirror doesn't necessarily reflect your actual health at all. These invisible effects are insidious - instead of gradually noticing that you're getting fat and deciding to change, you may just be told one day that your liver is broken, and by that time whatever change you do make is going to be too little, too late.
No.2 - Not spending enough time with dad
Regardless of your relationship with your father, he's still your father, and you probably don't have too many extra fathers sitting around in case you neglect your relationship with this one. He's been a unique influence on your life, whether you realize it or not, and he's not going to be here forever. Make the best of the time you do have, lest you find yourself crying mournfully into your beer every time you hear "Cat's in the Cradle."
No.1 - Not going after the hot girl
Take a page from the whole romantic comedy genre, wherein quirky dudes wind up with gorgeous women through nothing but plucky effort and a little dumb luck. If you try your ass off to win over the girl of your dreams, the worst thing that can happen is that you don't, which leaves you in exactly the same position as if you never tried at all. If you don't even try, the worst-case scenario is that you spend the rest of your life wondering what might have been if you'd just manned up and gone for it.
For more related articles, check out: Top 10: Ways To Become A Better Man and Top 5: Movies About Being A Man At Sundance 2010.