Six years old

Yesterday was the sixth birthday of this website, and the day before that was the fifth anniversary of the day that I got fired for this website. I usually celebrate these events by opening up comments to talk about something specific, and I’ve been thinking about what topic I should choose for a few months now. Typically the topic has something to do with work or the environment around work, but this year I wanted to make it a little bit broader. So I went back to my inbox to see if there were any specific questions that people were frequently asking me about this website, and a few things jumped out at me. One, the email from the guy who asked me if I would like for him to suck my toes. Apparently, he more than anyone else could show me what a good foot sucking feels like. Internet, if you ever needed a reason to start your own website, look no further. You, too, could have some strange man offering to gag himself on your big toe.

Two, I get asked a lot about whether or not I had any idea when I started this thing that it would one day pay my mortgage. I’ll be honest here and say that I had no idea when I started this thing that it would last more than a month. I just didn’t take it very seriously in the beginning, didn’t think I needed to. Which is why there are all of those early entries that have no point whatsoever, entries that are very different than my writing today. Today my writing is very full of points and meaningful meaning. You just can’t see that part because it is invisible.

But then month after month I continued to update it, started to write a lot more about the personal side of my life, and then bam, my boss found it, found the many instances that I had referred to her as a giant thorn in my side and that one sentence where I had given her the nickname Her Wretchedness. The thing is, I know that I owe a lot of my success to losing that job, which is why I don’t regret anything. A lot of people ask me if I would ever go back and do anything differently, and I definitely wouldn’t because I try not to live my life that way. Yes, I have done a lot of stupid things in my life, writing about my boss with those words being one of them, but I try not to dwell on the thought that I should have lived my life differently. I’m too busy trying to get the thought of my foot in someone else’s mouth out of my head.

However, I do feel like I have been very wrong for not yet apologizing to that woman publicly, and do I ever owe her a huge apology. I know now that my frustrations had nothing to do with her personally, and that how I wrote about her was incredibly tacky. She had actually been a very gracious boss, had brought me into the company herself when she knew I was looking for a new job, had been an advocate of my design work to other executives in the company. What I wrote about her was just gross and clearly indicative that I had serious issues with myself. I do hope that she will one day forgive me and know that I could not be more sorry for hurting her.

Is there anything in my life that I wish I could go back and do differently? Yes. One thing. I wish had worn more sunscreen.


  • meredith

    I wish I had practiced safe sex in college.

  • The Bold Soul

    I regret listening to all the people who told me I could never make a living by working for myself. And all those who doubted I would be able to support myself through my writing. I regret not being brave enough to have moved to Paris 20 years ago instead of waiting until now to do it. I regret all the times I let my fears prevent me from doing things I really wanted to do, including finding real love.

    But I AM making a living as a writer. Not a big one, yet, but it’s a start. And I DID move to Paris, finally, four months ago. Best thing I ever did. I’m still working on the finding real love part, but in the meantime I’m much better at loving MYSELF so I think it’s only a matter of time. And now my goal in life is not to let my fear stand in the way, ever again. It’s a good way to live.

    Class act, by the way, apologizing to your former boss. Even if she never reads it and never knows about, it’s about YOU being complete and forgiving yourself. Yay, you. And happy 6th… my blog just past it’s 2nd!

  • emilykg

    I wish I had learned to shake things that bother me off my shoulders more when I was younger. It’s hard for me to do now.

  • curlyhairday

    I am a redhead and I have worn copious amounts of sunscreen for my entire life and I will still get wrinkles. Meh! What can you do.

    I am not a regretter either, since past is prologue and I’m very happy with my life, but also since I couldn’t have forseen some of the consequences (positive and negative) of my actions, and even if the experiences were difficult, they were often still valuable.

    That said, I would really like to know which thank you notes I have forgotten over the years so that I could remedy that, because I think it is so nice to get a thoughtful little handwritten piece of mail.

    Happy Birthday, Dooce!

  • sarita

    If I could change one thing about my past it would be my egocentrism. For so long, I thought I was the most special thing to ever be born into this world. I thought I was perfect, I could do no wrong, everybody wanted to be me or be with me. I was the queen of the universe. Whew. Unbelievable. I wish I had learned a lot earlier, the lesson that while I am special in my very own way, I am no more special than the rest of the human race. There will always be people who are smarter, prettier, wittier, kinder, and more talented than me. If I had known that from childhood, I would have spared so many hurt feelings. Mine and others. I would have not isolated myself from my friends. I would have tried harder and done more with the talents I actually do possess.
    Dooce- congrats on 6 years! You are awesome and you have helped me so much. Thank you.

  • paula

    Wow! That’s great that you apologized to her, but at the same time it’s not as if you wrote it with the intention of her reading it. I’m sure she’s said things about people behind their backs, too. It’s Human nature.

    I wish I could take back a lot of things I’ve said without thinking. I wish I’d taken more chances when I was younger, and when I look back in 20 years I’ll probably wish I’d taken more chances now. That thought depresses me a little.

  • TigerLambGirl

    I regret nothing really because it’s brought me to where I am today. Though there is still that occasional nagging thought that perhaps if I’d met my second husband, first, life might have been a lot happier 5 years sooner.

  • MotherBumper

    I wish I hadn’t dated 95% of the guys I did date because they were jerks (that’s the polite term). I try to tell myself that I learned what a made a good partner by dating so many toads but seriously now, did I have to subject myself to so much crap just to appreciate the great husband I have now? I’m pretty sure I could have learned what I know now by reading more shmarmy advice columns.

  • Alda

    Oooh! I click to read the comments and the new banner appears. It’s beautiful!!

    Would I have done anything differently? Yes, probably but I can’t stop to think about that now. I’m too busy ejecting the image of someone sucking your big toe out of my head.

  • The Bold Soul

    I regret listening to all the people who told me I could never make a living by working for myself. And all those who doubted I would be able to support myself through my writing. I regret not being brave enough to have moved to Paris 20 years ago instead of waiting until now to do it. I regret all the times I let my fears prevent me from doing things I really wanted to do, including finding real love.

    But I AM making a living as a writer. Not a big one, yet, but it’s a start. And I DID move to Paris, finally, four months ago. Best thing I ever did. I’m still working on the finding real love part, but in the meantime I’m much better at loving MYSELF so I think it’s only a matter of time. And now my goal in life is not to let my fear stand in the way, ever again. It’s a good way to live.

    Class act, by the way, apologizing to your former boss. Even if she never reads it and never knows about, it’s about YOU being complete and forgiving yourself. Yay, you. And happy 6th… my blog just past it’s 2nd!

  • Ani

    That I let people in I shouldn’t have. Thus wasting time.

  • Coelecanth

    If we’re going to play make-believe, might as well go all the way:

    My father stood in my bedroom doorway, drunk as usual. He looked down at my 10 year old self and said, “You don’t love me.” I wish I had replied, “I do. But only when you’re sober.” instead of sitting there paralized. Woudn’t have changed anything of course, but we’re dreaming here right?

  • Amy9Moons

    I think it is good of you to publicly forgive your former boss. I’m sure it was no easy thing, and there may be some of your fans with a hate session towards her going on..even though they don’t know either of you personally.

    I too agree that it’s best to live without regrets or replaying “should-haves”. I never really had a regret for anything in my life except for one doozy of a wish to turn back time:

    I would have not postponed, for work obligations, a trip back to the U.S. to see my family and best friend at Thanksgivng/Christmas time a couple of years ago. I ended up arriving home early the next year only to learn that my friend had died in a car accident on the day I left Melbourne.

  • frifri

    I wish I hadn’t mouthed off as many times as I have, saying the things I’ve said which were very insensitive and knee jerk reactions. Some of these things haven’t come back to bite me in the ass, some of them will and I’m just waiting for the guillotine to drop.

    But on the other hand, maybe it’s a good thing that I’ve let my mouth go ballistic. Or else I wouldn’t have learned the hard way when it’s time to speak up, and when it’s time to shut my trap.

  • melbournedreaming

    This post is so relevant to me right now, it’s spooky. I just wrote a letter to my 20-year-old self on my blog (, on the eve of my thirtieth birthday.

    Not so much about regrets, but some big-sisterly advice to the scared, angsty, confused creature I was (and still am, pretty much). It has been really cool to read all of these other people’s regrets/life decisions and how they feel about them.

    You are an inspiration, Heather Armstrong!

  • HappyMamatoThree

    Now Now, if you had worn more sunscreen think of the blog fodder that would have been lost. The lovely photos, the waiting for your biopsies, oh what you would have taken from the internets… shame on you.

    Me. Oh there are lots of decisions I can look back and kick myself for. But, I wouldn’t change them now. I have a beautiful family, a comfortable home and lifestyle, friends, and though not everything you could ask of, certainly enough to keep me happy for a very long time.

    Thanks for the commentability.


  • cassievalentine

    I really wish I hadn’t eaten that Caesars Salad that would, eventually, send me into renal failure. That whole on dialysis 45 days before my 22 birthday? Totally sucked. Funny enough, it still does. . .

  • la_florecita

    I’ve typed and erased things things that I think I regret (long distance relationships during college, and another one after college, getting engaged too young, waiting too long to learn I’m not too good to work at the mall if I LOVE my job), but they helped me learn what I really do and don’t want. So I think I needed to make those choices.

    Mostly I regret the stupid stuff, like using my debit card ignorantly a few times only to find out that I those $5 purchases were costing me like $100 in overdraft fees. Last week.


  • kim from germany

    oh and “happy birthday” :)

  • skippy delight

    I wish I had never used a credit card, run up all that debt, and started a 401K at 21.

    And become fluent in Spanish… but I can still do that.

  • Daydreamerme

    Where would I even start?! It doesnt really come down to things I would have done differently, its more that I just wish I was different. If I wasn’t so indecisive and oblivious and anxious, maybe I wouldnt be looking back on quite as many mistakes!!

    Happy Birthday and Happy St Davids Day – get those leeks out!! (Its a Welsh thing).

  • Chloe

    I wish I’d been more open to people when I was younger.
    Though I’ll admit I’m probably more closed now.

    I wish I would have embraced my wildness a little bit more, instead of hiding it for all those years.
    On the other hand, that might have ended with a teenage pregnancy, so I take it all back.

    I do wish I’d worn more sunscreen.

  • kim from germany

    everything happens for a reason. it’s easy to pick something stupid out and say i wish i would have done this differently. but that could have totally lead to something maybe even crappier so i just try and be okay with the decisions i made so far in the last thirty years. and i know my dad knew how much i loved him…

  • Ingrid

    Well, I have definitely made some dumb mistakes in my life, however, the decisions I’ve made in the past, for better or worse, have put me in the situation I’m in today, which I couldn’t be happier with. I guess if I could change anything, it would be that I wasn’t such an ass to my wonderful parents when I was a teenager.

  • jezzy_girl

    I wish I would have left my husband when I found out he was cheating on me with my 17 year old sister. But I didn’t. And we had another baby. Now I feel stuck. Why wasn’t I stronger back then? I was only 24. it’s true – they don’t stop.

  • kal55128

    I have always and will always regret that I didn’t go off to college right after high school. I feel like I missed out on such a big part of life, living the college life. I will be 30 this year. About 2 years ago I gave up on going to school for a degree. After graduating from high school I attended multiple colleges. I have student loans with no degree to show for them. I don’t have the motivation to complete a degree and I am finally able to admit that I am just not cut out for college classes. It’s just who I am.

  • farmer_daughter

    I regret not “shopping” around for colleges. I had my heart set on a big one with the best athletic teams. Once I got there, I felt like a cog in machine. I never even thought to look at a better school basically in my back yard.

    Now that I am married to a college coach that has been everywhere except Mars, I realize that so many of those smaller or little schools would be better. I would have a better quality education and not just some recognized name on a piece of paper.

  • rivervision

    i regret i didn’t go on that NOLS semester i was poised to go on during my junior year of college, and that i went to OU instead of WCU.

    i regret i didn’t start thinking about finding a husband until now, at 34, living in a small, very mormon city, in Utah (i’m a liberal from oregon).

    i regret that i chickened out of my trip to turkey 3 years ago. but i don’t regret that because i did that i got to spend 2 full days in paris, just loosing myself as a tourist.

    i will say this, though, i have a chronic illness that makes my life a bit more difficult, but i don’t regret it. i’ve learned more about myself through it than i would have without it.

  • missmonkeyhill

    There is only one thing I would change if I could.

    Last time I went down the Caribbean to visit my father, I would have had that last photo taken of us together instead of thinking .oO(ahhh he’s not going anywhere, I’ll do it next time). I would have also hugged him harder and made sure he knew I loved him.

  • Thoughtfloss

    Oh, so very, very much…. But there are things that I can’t change because the good things that came from them would be lost as well, and I just can’t trade that stuff.

    If I could erase a few of the memories of those stupid, painful choices, though… Yeah, I’d sign up for all that. (Don’t mention Eternal Sunshine, I get it!)

  • Janice

    I would have left my ex-husband the first time he cheated on me. I would have seen a theripist right after my baby died…
    then maybe things wouldnt be so screwed up now.

  • Zee

    AbraCat – I’ve never married and at 31 I’m still figuring out who I am and what I want to do/be/have. I know several others who are single and are going through the same thing… so no guarantees there! :)

    I regret not being more self-aware in my younger years and having hurt the people I did. I don’t know if I’d change anything given the opportunity, however.

  • krabeck

    I regret caking my lungs with tar and scar tissue and squelching the synapses that could have fired in my brain when I was thirteen. Otherwise, I’m just trying to enjoy myself as much as possible before I have to experience the adverse effects of my actions when I was too young and dumb to know better. Cheers…

  • Katie

    I’m very much about no regret, but I wish I would’ve been a little more active in my college search 10 years ago. I went to a mediocre state university 15 minutes away from where I grew up because I had no guidance to encourage me to do otherwise. I lived with my parents and therefore never had the experience of living in a dorm. I know now that I could’ve gotten into a much better school, away from home, and I would most likely be more educated and connected. However, I made some of my best friends going to that mediocre state university, and I’m decently successful as is, 2500 miles away from home, so I guess everything happens for a reason.

    Still, when I send those student loan checks every month, I can’t help but wish I was paying for a better education.

  • Annon

    I wish I hadn’t had so much fun in college.

  • Buttercup

    Instead of waiting tables and bartending for two years between colleage and law school, I would have travelled for one year around the world.

  • Annon

    Crap–forgot to add: I wish Dooce had been around when I had my child. Probably wouldn’t have gone as crazy.

  • gradstudent

    I wish I didnt have to seak approval from everyone around me, it is exhausting.

  • JenInSeattle

    OK, I just have to say that I feel pretty special that I’m posting at the *exact same time* that Dooce is posting her new masthead.

    OK, I admit, I’m weird like that.

  • Yolanda

    I have made many mistakes, but most of them I have come to accept as an essential part of getting me exactly where I am now, which is ecstatically 21-weeks pregnant and married to my incredible best friend for ten years.

    But if I do have one huge regret: that although most people consider me to be one of the smartest people they know, I didn’t apply to a single college when I graduated high school. My self-esteem was so bad, and my fear of being told I wasn’t “good enough” was so great, that I preferred to not even try, than to risk the potential of receiving a single rejection letter.

    I really wanted to go to Sarah Lawrence. I will never know if I actually could have gone.

  • DanielleB

    I regret my complete refusal to acknowledge that I was suffering any kind of mental illness for so long. Everything is turning out ok now, but I think the road might have been considerably less bumpy, for myself and many people in my life, if I had gotten help for my depression and anxiety much sooner.
    The only other thing in my life which I truly regret and would change in a heartbeat was not having a plan in case my pet got ill. Which she did. And I had no clue what to do, and I think she suffered uncessarily. I wish that I had taken time to research when I first realized she was ill, instead of convincing myself that I would just wake up to a rattie who had passed peacefully in the night. For that, I am sorry, Baby.

  • Joe

    Where to start? I’d choose not to have hurt my wife. I’d have pursued a writing career much earlier in life. I’d have delayed marriage. I’d have lived with less fear of everything, failure in particular. I’d have realized sooner that we take life far to seriously. I could go on but who really cares, right?

    Happy 6 Dooce

  • JenInSeattle

    I’ve done lots of stupid things in my life, but I only have one major regret: not getting the help I so desperately needed after the birth of my second child. I waited three months before getting therapy, and I then resisted medication another two months. It’s an effing wonder we (me, husband, older child, and said babe) all lasted that long. I have these very real fears that technology will allow us to recall and remember all of our life experiences–even from the moment of birth. If so, Charlie will come to me and say “Dude, you were a HORRIBLE, VENOMOUS MONSTER when I was three months old.” Sadly, he would be right.

  • Jason

    Actually there is nothing…I consider my biggest mistakes, my greats lessons

  • Julianna

    I wish I hadn’t wanted to be so pretty that I hated everything I ever had. I wish I hadn’t wanted to be as thin as the other girls so that I became anorexic. I wish I had more self-confidence in anyone liking me for me, so that I wouldn’t have put myself in the position to be raped by whom I thought was my best friend. I wish I had never flirted with him either. And I wish I had known he was dead when he died, instead of fearing him for 4 additional years of my life. And I wish I had the strength still to hate him, but at that point he had children, and I could not. They were blameless. I wish I hadn’t gone straight to the next man who would take me, and neat the shit out of me every day. I wish I hadn’t married the first guy who was kind of me, because we should have just been friends (and still are thankfully). I wish I had ended our marriage when it died, and not wait until he went crazy from me and I went to another man. I wish I had never gotten into this debt that eats my very existence. I wish I cared about my school work, but all I really want is to have a child and be a wife. Sometimes, I wish I was never born. But always I know my pain isn’t even as close to the simple wish of Christine at the beginning. Because I have never had a child. And for that I am thankful. And I am also thankful that I ended up with the man I have now. He is wonderful. I just wish he was here or even allowed to visit.

  • Jackie

    I wish I had finished college. Not that I necessarily want to be doing anything different with my life, but the fact that my degree sits 1/2 finished bothers me. And now I’m not in a position financially to finish it just for the sake of finishing it. But no regrets – my life wouldn’t be what it is today if I had taken that path.

    One thing I do regret is taking my parents for granted. I wish I had appreciated them more. I can never fix that.

  • justajill

    I wish that I had said something to someone when I developed trichotillomania when I was 12. Instead I isolated myself in shame for 24 years. Sometimes, I still do.

    Dooce- why no mention of mightygirl’s mightybaby?

  • chelle

    I’d have taken a chance and kept the baby that my husband and I made only weeks after we met.

    I’d have not allowed my mother’s opinion and treatment of me to break my self esteem apart as a teen and young adult. Or at least I’d have found a way to let all that go much sooner.

    I’d have found my real voice as a much younger woman and used it to take a stand for myself instead of living to please others.

  • annab

    i wish i would have been a foreign exchange student in high school.

  • lori

    I regret that I didn’t spend more of my college years exploring other areas of study. When I think now of all I could have learned about art, sciences, computers, etc. then I think my career path may have been much different.