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.


  • doctormom

    Somedays I think that I’d rather be a full-time mom than a doctor. If I could go back now, knowing what beautiful little boys I’d end up with, I might pick mommyhood over med school. I love medicine, but I don’t love missing all those everyday moments with my babies.

    EXCEPT… Being a doctor defines me (plus I did meet my husband in med school). If I did it differently I wouldn’t be me, and I’d probably be sitting here wishing I had a fulfilling career. The grass is always greener!

    Thank you for your blog. You are a gifted writer.

  • schmutzie

    Wow, what a huge question.

    I would have told the rest of the world to go screw itself and gotten down to serious writing sooner. I love it, and I spent years too afraid to tackle it.

  • llazarus

    I would have eaten less french fries and more salad during my pregnancy so now, 5 months later, I wouldn’t have to live off of celery and splenda to drop the akward and jiggly 70 pounds I gained. My son is totally worth it but dammit, I miss being hot.

  • wordnerd

    I would have:

    - done more drugs while I was young (why not?)
    - followed my gut instinct with respect to risk
    - been less judgmental
    - started jogging in university
    - had more fun, worked less hours, told my mother I loved her more frequently.

  • carrieoke

    I wish I worn my retainer more often – my bottom teeth are way crooked now.

    And I wish I’d never signed up for that first credit card in college …

    Happy blog birthday!

  • jon deal

    I’d do it ALL the same.

    NO REGRETS. The past is dead and there is little to be gained from navel gazing.

    Except that part about not buying Microsoft stock back in 1990. Kind of wish I’d done that differently. And getting married so young. We were far too young and immature. And having kids so soon after getting married. And not finishing college, kind of wish I’d gotten my degree. And maybe my life would be better if I’d chosen a career instead of falling into one. And we should have bought a larger house.

    So basically, yeah… I should have lived my life completely differently.

    (going into the corner to weep now)

  • childsplayx2

    I wish that I had asked Mercedes Blair to the prom. However, like you, I have learned from that moment and I try hard not to let my fears get in the way of living life.

    It’s taken me a while but I feel so much better now that I don’t worry about what other people think of me.

    Happy Blogoversary! Oh, couldn’t you have refrained from buying EVERYTHING on Maggie’s Target registry? The kid’s going to be in college before I figure out what to send her!

  • LabLover

    The number one thing I would change? I wish I knew what I know now about money and how to save it.

    When I was in my early 20s (back in the Stone Age), all I wanted to do was hang out with my friends and partay). I never looked ahead to the future, never socked any money away for a rainy day.

    Fast forward to 2007. I am 49-going-on-50, make a decent salary, have a wonderful boyfriend, a great family, but I STILL LIVE IN A FREAKING APARTMENT! No, I don’t have any debt but I also don’t have enough $$$ for a down payment on a house. So, it looks like I’ll be a renter until my bones turn to dust or I win the lottery. Yes, it sucks, thanks for asking.

    Word to the wise: Save something for your old age, which isn’t that old any more.

  • Shalini

    I wish I had studied harder and gone to medical school. I wish I had been valedictorian (really). Not regret so much as I just wish I was a doctor. I wish I could have slapped myself into doing it, instead of something I thought was easy.

    Wishes are nice. Too bad it take years of hard work to make them come true.

  • Zoot

    There are many things I wish I hadn’t done, but given the option I wouldn’t do them any differently because I, like you, know those things made me who I am today. But – there are a few minor things I would have done differently, and am continuing to try to do differently. Like shower more often. Worry less about vacuuming and more about planting flowers. Eat more vegetables. But mainly? I would just not have stressed out so much over such mundane things.

  • Kandice

    This is a tough question. I don’t regret marrying my husband, living in Texas or having my beautiful children. I do wish I would have taken a year off before I went to law school to “follow the dream” of making it in the entertainment industry or on Broadway. I regret not having done it, because now, quite frankly, I’m probably too old. I don’t weigh a buck twelve anymore and now that I’m staying home with my kids and dabbling in other things while they’re at school twice a week, I’m happy. But I still feel like there’s more life for me to live. There’s something bigger that I’m supposed to do. I’ll figure out what it is eventually, but I try not to go to the land of regret. I’d rather focus on the wonderful things about my life, and there are plenty.

    I do know that I will never discourage my kids from following their dreams or their passions. You wanna be an artist? Have at it. Dancer? Go for it. Garbage truck driver? As long as you’re happy. Because that’s all that matters in the end. Not the best fill-in-the-blank in the universe? Most people aren’t. I just want them to be happy and to live without regret. Because regret is a very dangerous thing.

  • slouching mom

    Happy Sixth. I love how you describe Leta’s comings and goings and everything in between. You are unbelievably sensitive to what it feels like to be a child. And no, that’s not because you’re childish.

    There were two guys in college who were clearly going to be very, very important to me. Unfortunately, I met them at the same time. I had to choose, and what I regret is that not only did I choose the wrong guy, but I then spent six unhappy years with him.

    And I can’t take it back.

  • dedo

    Now that I am 42, I regret not appreciating the ability to hop out of bed first thing in the morning without having to take a few tentative steps while everything snaps back into place and I mean “snaps”.

    I also regret the mullet hairstyle I let someone talk me into back in the 80′s.

  • Faith

    I wish I had walked out on “The Butcher’s Wife” when I went to see it with my friend all those years ago. But she seemed to be enjoying it! So I stayed. Dammit.

    Happy anniversary, Dooce! I’m 3 years behind ya, and if it weren’t for the posts you put up, Heather, I don’t know that I’d have the balls to share what I share on my blog, you inspiration you.

  • RisibleLou

    as a white white red head, I always regret leaving my room every morning, no matter the weather, without putting on my SPF WHITE (as my high school boyfriend called it)

    I feel really lucky to have had so many of oppurtunities that people have regretted missing – studying abroad, being fluent in another language, and I feel like for someone who’s only 21 I have a lot of the same regrets too:

    I regret, at least a little, spending the last couple hours reading these comments instead of writing my paper, which is already a week late. but that’s not really a regret, because I’ve had trouble writing for weeks since I finished my SECOND senior project.

    I regret cutting in high school (and in college) because I didn’t know what else to do to deal with my depression – but I don’t wish I hadn’t done it, because it makes me who I am, scars and all.

    I do regret never telling off the “friend” who sexually assaulted me, apologized and assumed we could be friends after that. I wish I could have said, no, F-you, we can not, we WILL NOT be friends. I wish that he hadnt IMed me for the first time in four years as I was thinking about writing this, and I wish I had been able to ignore his messages, or at least not be nice.

    I regret falling in love with someone my first year of college who could never love me back, and I regret that even after three and half years I’ve never walked away from that relationship/friendship because he means so much to me.

    but mostly I love my life, and who I am, and what I’m doing — even if it involves not writing my late paper until some other night.

    thanks for sharing your life Heather, I’ve loved it since I started reading, it’s inspirational and entertaining, I love that I can read your site and laugh or cry. I’ve loved watching your beautiful daughter grow up. I’ve made time for it nearly every day, even during my study abroads!

    ~ Lauren (or Lou, to friends and family)

  • schadenfreudette

    I would tell my dad I loved him the last time I talked to him before he died, instead of being a cool 16-year-old with a chip on my shoulder.

    I would give C one less chance and J one more.

    I would never ever dye my hair blonde.

    And finally, I would punch my step-father in the face instead of being all mature and even-tempered this past spring.

  • cristina

    I wish I drank more in college. No, really. I was so so careful with money, and now I live in New York, where a beer is like $6, and I went back to visit St Louis and you can get a really decent martini for FOUR DOLLARS. I should have had like 4 of those every night.

    That, and not stayed with my ex-boyfriend for so long just because it was comfortable. After all, he was a jackass.

  • Jenny

    Um, I was hoping to use a timemachine, so I could then, maybe drop the, then baby the-guy-who-stole-my-place-to-grammer-school so he might have been a little on the ‘slow’ side.

    Then, I was planning; I could go to grammar school, make lots of geeky friends and live a very geeky life.

    But I suppose I’ll have to suck it up and live with my state schooling with my equally geeky friends who can’t be arsed with life. Whereas if I went to grammar school, I suppose I’d have to work to get a good grade..

    Therefore, in answer to your question.. I suppose nothing yet. Come 148 days, 3 hours and 14 minutes I will turn fifteen years old. I think by then I might have done something regrettable, and perhaps, when I do. I’ll tell you about it. (:

  • angieg

    I wish I had known in high school how insignificant those four years would prove to be. Could’ve saved me some agony. All in all, I have a wonderful life and really can’t say I regret a thing. I appreciate this chance to reflect on life in general, and I wish your readers with painful regrets the joy and freedom of self-forgiveness.

    Thanks for the great blog.

  • Spamelot

    Happy Birthday!

    I would never have permed or dyed my hair when I was younger. Wishing for my regular, natural brown hair to grow in nicely has taken longer than I thought!

  • melinda

    I wish I would not have slept with 2 guys, and would have slept with this other one.

    and I would have strarted writing professionally before last summer.

  • Zak

    I wish I remembered where I left all the bodies…

    Geez, everyone is so serious today.
    I wish I had studied more languages.

  • zuhura

    I regret that I didn’t start taking antidepressants years ago. I fought going into therapy afraid to uncover what was behind my suicidal thoughts. I thank God for my husband of 25 years who stuck beside me and continued to prod me to get help. I’ve been on medication for four years and I can’t even describe the difference it’s made in my life!

  • novembre

    I would not have let anyone convince me my birthmark was unattractive. I would have realized that it can be a bad idea to play hard to get with someone so shy. I would not have told my mother the truth when I did the way I did – it was a tough time and neither of us were ready to handle it.

    I also would not have bought those god-awful pink courdoroy pants.

  • diana connolly

    I would have believed in myself and finished school in my twenties and gone on to grad school instead of smoking pot and marrying a loser.

  • bethyboo

    I’d have used common sense and not believed that man.
    I’d have played sports in college.
    I’d have majored in English or Fine Arts.
    If it were at all possible, I’d have loved and respected myself more despite the circumstances of my family situation.

    I am doing just fine now. So I guess it was all ok.

  • April

    I wish I had picked a career that helped people instead of making people want to jump off a bridge when they see you coming (I’m an auditor!).

  • Skerri

    I try to make a conscious effort not to regret anything I’ve done. It’s hard, but for the most part I get away with it. But feeling the train of thought you’ve got going here, I’d have to say that I wish I had learned at an earlier age that love is something reciprocal, not one-sided and crying-in-your-room-at-night-because-someone-doesn’t-love- you-”as much”-as-you-love-them. I wish I had been able to accept change in my life much easier at a younger age. And I wish that none of my friends ever did heroin, because they all seemed to drop like flies, but I guess that’s something I really had no control over anyways.

  • leigh austin

    i would have asked my mom how to make her tuna cassarole. i would have tried REALLY hard to remember how she laughed.

    i would have kept in touch with people.

    i would have forgiven myself for not being perfect…not everyone is following behind me, waiting for me to make a mistake.

    otherwise, i have a fabulous husband, a beautiful son, a warm home, and i am surrounded by a supportive and loving family!

  • marysia02

    I regret not ripping the bandaid of my college relationship off faster than the 9 months I let myself be tortured. It was a brutal way to finish college.

    But like many have said before me, that ugly break up brought me to where I am today. I moved cities to break the cycle. And if I wasn’t here, I have met and wouldn’t be marrying the most generous and loving man I have ever encountered.

  • ExquisiteSpring

    If I could do it over, I would say no a lot more times. I wouldn’t go back to his room. I wouldn’t let him kiss me. Not him, and not the next guy, the next, the next, or the next.

    If I could do it over again, I’d still have the world’s most beautiful engagement ring on my finger. I’d still be the girl who’d only had sex with the guy she loved the most. He would still tell me that I was the best thing that ever happened to him, not the worst.

  • Krysstyllanthrox

    Of course I have regrets: Not telling my grandparents what they really meant to me before they died, being so shy and afraid in high school, the haircuts, etc.

    But if I change any of those things, I change who I am now. And I like how I am and who I am becomming. I have a good life, a great husband, and have the promise of more great things to come.

    I take out those regrets, every so often, and shine them in the light, turn them over and around, inspect them, acknowledge them, try to not repeat the same mistakes, and then gently put them back where they came from.

  • freecave

    Heather, I applaud you. There are several times that I have read your entries and wanted to comment. Maybe an email then. Anyway, if I could go back…My childhood sucked. I was an outcast, considered an outcast by other outcasts. Jeremy, Pearl Jam. That’s what I’d do but I’m older. I’d be more responsible with my money with the hope that the struggling I went through for the last ten years and finally got over would hopefully not happen. The dream and the ideal. And I’m much better now.

  • tigerlily

    I also regret the sunscreen. For working outside as a lifeguard, getting as many burns as I did, I fear that I will be going through what you have.

    I sometimes regret not being more agressive with my doctor when it came to treating my rheumatoid arthritis over these first two years. It’s taken it’s toll on me and I’m slowly becoming bitter – it’s also changed friendships. But then I realize that, hey, maybe I’m better off without certain friendships. Because I’ve gained some wonderful new ones. Ones that I feel are stronger than the previous. Also, I myself have become stronger from having dealt with this horrible disease, and feel I can relate perhaps a bit better with certain people.

    I think I have lots of regrets. But if someone where to ever promise me that I could change something in the past, I really don’t think I’d be able to pick one. I hesitate to say never being diagnosed with RA, because I would be a completely different person than I am today. And I kind of like that person. My regrets are what have shaped me.

  • Tabbie

    I’m only 22, so really I’ve got plenty of time to screwup but from the last few years

    - I would have chosen a major that didn’t require math so I could have graduated a year ago
    -I wouldn’t have cheated on my boyfriend with such a loser
    -I would have decided to be on the pill instead of the patch

    I know they seem a little trivial and there huge moral message, but never take a birth control that leaves nasty sticker marks on your butt cause the nasty sticker marks are a better birth control than the hormones

  • girlsomewhere

    I regret not setting my ex-husband free when a few weeks prior to our 1992 wedding he got very cold feet. He was too young, 23, had deep personal troubles, and no real experience with women or relationships. Ignoring that was the single thing that has shaped my adult years since. 15 yrs later and I am just now becoming a whole person again, free to love honestly.

  • dani

    I recently started reading your blog and I must say that I enjoy it immensely.
    At this moment, I’m really happy. I have a great husband, an exceptional child, good antidepressants.
    That is now. If I could change anything in my life, I would have gone to counseling much sooner. I should have talked to people the first time I was raped. I would have changed my label from victim to survivor much sooner.
    That being said, these events made me who I am.
    Sorry to dump all over your blog, but you made me think.

  • carolinerebecca

    I would have given myself a break sometimes. I’m never going to be perfect. Teenagers are supposed to mess up.

    I would never have worked for that Republican. I’m totally going to hell for that one.

    I would have put more of that money in savings.

  • Suebob Davis

    I, and my crepe-y neck are right with you there on the sunscreen.

    I would also have spent less time trying to be more cool than everyone.

  • cagey

    I’d make all the same mistakes over again, but would do them sooner so that I could get to this delicious part of my life I’m in right now with the Right Guy. I also wish I had worn more sunscreen.

  • ardaliz

    I’d like to think there’s something a little less Beverly Hills 90210 for me to go back and do differently, but of the many, many, MANY things I’d like to take back, the number one take-back is the way my first love and I broke up…or that we even broke up at all…or that I was THAT retarded at 19. Now, at 30, I’m starting to freak out that maybe he really WAS my “the one” and that it wasn’t just my lame 19-year-old emotions telling me that he was. Except now he lives across the country and has a wife and a son and I’m still here, comparing every man I meet to him, and carrying that torch…with vigor. So much vigor, actually, that I’ve been single since the day he very deservedly dumped my ass.

  • alikatze

    If there is one regret I do have, it is that I listened to my elders and my peers and, at 21, agreed to end one of the most inspiring, wonderful relationships I have ever had. I fully accepted that “we were too young” to plan a life together or get married, and, at 37, I now truly regret my decision to walk away from that relationship. I have not dated anyone as intelligent, funny, beautiful, and accepting as the person I let go. Today, this person is married, living in the ‘burbs, with kids, and I am single, somewhat bitter, and very near the end of my reproductive ability to have my own child(ren). Feh.

  • bfug

    I wish I had found your blog sooner.

  • chefgirl

    I should have become a psychologist instead of a lawyer. Too late now because I have $80k in student loans.

  • amy Jacobs

    Not been so serious in my younger years. I had fun, but not as much as I could have or should have. I worked in a serious job from the time I was 18 and acted WAY too grownup too young. I had a couple of major nervous breakdowns during those early adulthood years in college that I could have avoided by simply getting over my “title” and learning how to use a bong. And I would have traveled more if I realized how medical school/residency of a spouse and young children really hamper being spontaneous!!

  • Leonie

    First: congratulations on the web anniversary!

    I don’t think I get to look back with authority and regret yet, as I’m only 20 years old, but I know that in 40 years time I will regret all the worrying I’m doing right now. My brain doesn’t stop, though.

    Wouldn’t it be great if our future selves could send present-day-us a postcard with just five simple words? (it will all be OK)

  • Carcharodonna

    I’d wish I’d gone to the more prestigious college of the two main ones I decided between.

    I wish that after college, I’d listened less to my parents’ urgings of financial stability and just threw everything to the wind and really tried to be a professional actor.

    I wish I hadn’t married that first guy, for all the wrong reasons, even though it ultimately led me to marry the second one, for all the right reasons.

    And then, privately. That one time, in Lake Elsinore? I wish I had not done what I did. I wish that all the time.

  • Revdonauctioneer

    I am sorry i didn’t take the chances I wanted. If I had i would be worth millions by now. I listen to what others told me not what my heart tld me.


  • OCD Chick

    I regret I was too afraid at 8 to tell my baton instructor that I wanted to twirl the fire batons, so stupid Angie Jones got to be the designated twirler.

    Sort of became the theme of my life.

  • Kataribe

    Just started reading here recently, I enjoy your writing very much.

    Regret anything I’ve done? Nothing specific, it all taught me what brought me here to this place. I’m 51, a recovering drug addict, no kids, no current relationship-and I don’t regret those things at all. I love my work, I’m very lucky, I have a great boss. I have both worked for and have been “Her Wretchedness” ;-)

    If I regret anything, it would be to not have loved more. The rest means nothing.

    Here’s to many more, Heather!