Regret Exists to Help You, Not Hinder You

Angela M Ward
5 min readJan 18, 2019

On the advantages of regret and how you can learn from it

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

When I tried out for the cross-country running team, I not only became a better runner but I won seventh place in the regional finals.

For some reason, I didn’t try out for the team the next year but I did the year after that. After those two years, I decided to just quit.

I don’t know why I gave up so easily but I acted according to how I felt during the school year. I was shy growing up, so I either avoided extracurricular activities or eventually quit them.

My third-grade teacher had a lot to do with my decision to initially try out for cross-country running. He was always an encouraging coach and teacher. Throughout school, I had very few teachers who I felt understood me, so that positive reinforcement really helped.

However, I didn’t like the fourth grade. My friend and I had parted ways the year before, and I felt like I had to start from scratch, friendship-wise. I think this played a big part in why I didn’t try out for the team that year in between. I hardly felt comfortable talking to new people, so trying out for the team was a no-go.

I’m not sure whether I quit because I lost interest in running or because my third-grade teacher eventually transferred to another school — but I do know that I regretted not trying out again.

When I entered adulthood, I looked back on my high school years wistfully, wishing that I’d been more involved. Wishing that I had joined something other than the book club. For a long time, I had this nagging nostalgia about my teen years, thinking they would have been better if I had been more social, more willing to try new activities or more willing to continue long-forgotten ones — like running.

Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

I considered trying out for cross-country running during high school but my dad made a good point. I didn’t run regularly as it was, which meant I was years out of practice. I could have made a habit out of running and tried out for the team but I didn’t.

Angela M Ward

Communications and digital marketing professional, interested in creativity, personal development and mindful living. Top Writer in Reading.