Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

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.

You?

  • I regret I ate the WHOLE thing.

  • scout87

    Biggest regret—allowing myself to go most of my life letting my low self-esteem be the driving force behind most choices I’ve made.

  • I wish I had brushed my teeth more as a kid, as my dental history nowadays involves nearly a filling every six months and crown #2 just around the corner.

  • ma2one

    I wish I had finished Art College.
    I got a good job and into the union (I was a prop master and set decorator for TV Commercials and film) and thought that was the top of the heap.

    Then I hated my work.

    When I was in my 30’s and had a child I wanted to become a midwife, it was so much school I felt too overwhelmed by the prospect of all that school work ahead of me and gave up again.

  • I’ve certainly made choices that were wrong or I wish I had not made, but they shape my life now, so I do not regret them.

    The one thing I do regret and I would definitely change if I could is to realize how strong the genes for colon cancer is in our family and make sure my baby brother had been screened. Instead, he died at 29. I would give up a lot to go back and change that.

  • What a lot of good comments! Some that brought a lump to my throat, and some that made me smile…

    Like so many of you, I try not to brood too much on the things I got wrong, but in the past year I’ve been totally kicking myself over one incident. In August last year I told my best friend what I thought of aspects of her behaviour. No, that’s not the regret, I just wish I had told her 20 years earlier. One adapts and deals with things better when one is younger and a little more malleable and can still learn from ones friends. Now I fear she will never get over it, and as I have no intention of apologising for what I see as THE TRUTH (there’s always at least 2 opinions on what that is…), I guess I will have to kiss that friendship goodye.

    Another regret is that I did that 4th year at uni in Edinburgh. What a waste of time that was – I learned nothing new and it was all just a load of pretentious shite and a waste of money.

    Thanks, Heather – I’ve tried to send the link to my friend hoping that someone else’s words might make her laugh as well as think a little. She respects people she doesn’t know a lot more than those she does (or thinks she does). Happy bloggiversary!

  • jittacatgirl

    I regret the last track meet I ever ran. Arkansas 2001 Meet of Champions, my senior year of high school. I basically handed the race to this skinny, blonde biznatch. And you know, I feel like that was the beginning of my long slow slide into mediocrity. Pride, people, pride.

  • Loz

    Happy 6th Birthday dooce.com!

    I am on my way out the door right now (it’s 5:45pm in Australia, and i finished work at 5:00 after reading all these comments!), to buy sunscreen, and have a whole lot of (safe) sex because I am 22, and it’s Friday night, and I don’t want to regret not have done those things when i ‘grow up!’ 😛

  • oO_Bubblez_Oo

    After reading other people’s regrets today (at 21) I don’t want to look back in 20 years time and regret not taking anyone else’s regrets about their early twenties on board! Thank you all for sharing your regrets, it has prompted me to finally get my act together and study teaching next year – something i have been tossing up for a while now – rather than stay in a job that i HATE. I am sure that in 20 years time, the regrets i have now will seem trivial, but at the moment:
    * I regret continuing degrading relationships because I was too scared to be alone.
    * I regret how much i let my exboyfriend walk all over me, exploit me, never stick up for me, take me for granted, and then when I stupidly kissed another ex he made me feel so completely and utterly worthless that when he oh-so-graciously accepted me back into his life that he cheated on me with probably his entire neighbourhood… and then i found out that he had been screwing around behind my back with people almost our entire relationship – from our manager at work, to a friend of mine, to his sisters best friend, to what i am sure was his entire (male) cricket team; and I regret continuing that relationship for another year because i thought i loved him (i was in a baaaad place right then)
    * I regret the four years spent battling depression, when i should have just taken the medication like the first doctor suggested, but at the time i thought that that was ‘being weak’ because the other doctor said i PROBABLY would be ok without it…
    * I regret introducing my ‘best friend’ to a guy i had a massive crush on, and I regret believing her when she told me that ‘nothing would happen’ and believing her when she swore ‘nothing happened’ then walked in on them together… and i am probably going to regret forgiving her.

  • ZebraDarling

    I regret my parents finding me with that guy. If I could take that back I absolutely would. And then I would have been able to take that trip to Spain I was supposed to go on. But everything else in my life, I’m ok with, even the bad. I learned a lot. And I’m happy in the place I am today.

  • Oh – I have another regret (sorry for 2 posts in one night).

    In third grade, our teacher was auditioning her class for some roles in a class play. She said that we had could audition for only three roles. Well, I didn’t want use up all my auditioning, so I kept waiting for role I think I could play… and I waited, and waited. Finally all the roles were taken and I didn’t even audition. She probably thought I had no interest in being in the play, but I dearly wanted to be involved.

    Still remember it to this day. It is always the things I do not do that I most regret.

    cheers Dooce!

  • snoozie

    wow – congrats on your 6yr b-day!

    I started reading your site because i read some online article about people being fired for their websites. When I first visited, you were already living in SLC and baby Leta had just been born. I read a few posts and was taken in by your writing style. I am particular. I have been know to toss an new book if I thought it was written poorly like Larry McMurtry’s sequel (or was it the prequel) to the awesome Lonesome Dove. Your writing is clear. Your write pictures in my mind. I admire that ’cause I’ve tried to write… and I am not good.

    I read your LA posts. Loved them. When I was in high school I used to watch Three’s Company. I always wanted to move to LA (Santa Monica) and live among the palm trees. Never got around to it. Still live in the Chicago area to this day.

    There is what I call — the old me. The things I was interested in high school and college – things I just never pursued. I didn’t pursue them because at the time I had no one to go to those places with me. I didn’t want to go alone.

    The old me wanted to:

    *Move to Los Angeles (Santa Monica) and be a beach girl.

    *Travel every nook and cranny of the world. I wanted to go to never traveled places in Asia, Russia and any places American’s had a hard time pronouncing.

    *Live like a hippie/artist instead of a mortgage owning worrying about the bills sort of person I am now.

    Sigh.

    Just to let u know. I have you bookmarked in my newspapers section, because I visit our site nearly every day.

    🙂 Cheers

  • Amanda

    In 7th grade (18 years ago), I should not have told somebody about my father molesting me. I spent the next two years enduring much worse abuse in foster care, recanting my story on the stand during two trials, and watched my family fall apart before I finally returned home. With my father still in my family.

    I wanted the random occurrences to stop. I didn’t want to lose my family.

    I often wonder what our family would be like today if I hadn’t told and if I’d be close to my parents and siblings. I’m now the outcast. I lost my family and any sense of belonging in this world that I have spent my adult life unsuccessfully chasing.

  • I always say that I wish I hadn’t spent a year out of school, but much in the same way of you not being fired, I wouldn’t be the person I was if I didn’t go through an entire year’s worth of boredom and bullshit.

    At my friend’s birthday party, though, I tried to hook up with this guy I’d just met because I was using him as a rebound for this postal courier guy I had a fling with. It wasn’t because I thought it was a bad idea, but because the next morning, the guy thought that I was “clingy” and my best friend actually told him that I was. And I think I was so mad about it was because I don’t think I’m “clingy” at all.

    I don’t regret much in life. But I do regret that.

  • I regret not quitting my first job when I first realized it wasn’t the right place/occupation for me. Instead, I got “dooced” when my boss found damning emails I had sent. I feel bad about that, too, but worse about not trusting my gut and quitting with dignity.

  • Ranger

    “… but another, better and heavier trafficked site …” now, that’s sweet, really. (cut and pasted for accuracy)

  • Bodnoirbabe

    I’m a subscriber to not regretting what you’ve done in your life. Hell, if I’d never dated my abusive boyfriend, I’d never have eventually met the love of my life. As crappy as some points in life can be, they are simply what we make of them.

    If I could go back, I would learn sign language, instead of dropping out of the class.

  • anonymous

    While I do not regret my college choice exactly, I wish I had taken some time off to regain my sense of self after first semester knocked me on my kiester. Instead I pushed myself even harder “to make up for it.” I regret spending the rest of college missing out because I was too overwhelmed or too depressed or too stressed to have adventures as the things I liked about myself slipped away. I regret that so often I knew what needed to be done to help myself and didn’t get the help to do it.

  • I wish I hadn’t taken the education part of college so seriously. I think, while I did have a lot of fun, I had far too much stress with it.

    I want to be cool like some other people and say I regret not having sex sooner (or, ya know, at all yet), but I don’t, really. I kind of regret the lack of the type of relationship that I’m comfortable with such things. But, that is life, and it’ll work out eventually, right? 🙂

  • cardshoppegirl

    I wish flossing were a habit for me.

    I wish I had danced with Tony at our 10-year HS reunion.

    I wish I had told my parents the truth about 1981. From that regret, I have learned that you can draw the line today and start recovery, or you can draw the line tomorrow and prolong the pain.

  • captmatrix

    I wish that I had called my brother more.

    In 25 more days, it will be exactly 3 years since he died.

    His number is still programmed into my phone.

  • There are so many things I could change about my past. The thing is that all of those mistakes I made make up who I am today. So, if I changed everything, I might still be stuck in a “good” job in Maryland (that bored me to death) and I’d still be hanging with the same worthless crew and doing the same mind-dulling activities that i used to do.

    Now I get a second chance to re-create myself and hopefully I’ve learned from those mistakes and maybe I’ll do things right this time 🙂

    I love it when you turn on the comments.

  • starburstscotch

    I too am about to graduate college and I’m afraid that I will make a decision I will regret. Do I apply to med school and use my “full potential”? Or do I go to Europe and teach English for awhile until I “know” what I really want to do?! Does anyone ever really know? (I was also a valedictorian and have gotton good grades in college so everyone thinks I naturally should become a doctor or something prestigious)…but what if I just want to have fun now. Sometimes I wish I would have slacked off so there wouldn’t be so much pressure on me now. But who knows, in ten years I might be slapping myself for taking the easy road…

    The decisions I make in the next few years of my life are so defining and could put me on the road to either happiness or regret! I never knew my 20s would be so stressful…

    ON a lighter note..I love this site and I tell everyone I know about it! Happy BDAY!

  • I’m about to graduate from college with a worthless major. My plan for the moment is to go live with relatives in Buenos Aires for a year, and call it a “learning experience” on my resume.

    I am pretty sure I will regret this. I sortof already do.

  • I always regretted not saying “yes” to the boy who asked me out in 10th grade.

    It’s six years later, and now he is my boyfriend.

    Sometimes we do get second chances.

  • I wish I hadn’t been so obsessed about guys from about age 12 onwards. If I had channeled even half of the energy I spent into getting laid, attempting to get laid, obsessing about not getting laid, wondering if the guy who laid me was ever going to call back, etc., into something a little more productive, I think I would have won the Nobel Prize by now (in something, I don’t know what).

    On the other hand (and this seems to be the common theme in these posts), being obsessed about guys from an early age got it out of my system so I could marry a decent one at age 30 and finally begin to focus on other things. And, thank the Lord, I never got pregnant or a horrible disease (even though I probably deserved one for being such a WHORE).

  • danioz

    Reading this, I have realised how much my life does revolve around regret for things in the past. I have tried ignoring (doesnt work), rectifying (partially) and I am now going for recognising (thanks) and accepting.
    But here is my list (chronological order):
    1) At 16 – not telling my best friend that I loved him when I had the chance – who was to know he was going to end up (for the next 20 years) with the next girl he kissed.
    2) At 18 – not speaking to my father the night before my Yr12 Geography exam, he wanted to chat. He died the next morning.
    3) At 20 – not losing my virginity to Footy boy who had made me feel so special.
    4) At 20 – losig my virginity to Basketball coach.
    5) At 23 – not finishing my degree.
    6) At 26 – not being honest with Golf boy and letting him go without knowing how I felt.

    Writing it down is certainly cathartic and I know that there is a much longer list of all the things that I have done that I don’t regret.

  • I regret not having my ex-boyfriend arrested and pressing charges when he tried to kill me. But I did drive him into bankruptcy, so that’s something, at least.

    ps — Happy birthday, Dooce.

  • I used to think I wouldn’t want to do anything over because I always tried to like how I lived my life and be happy with my choices no matter what they were.

    That all changed in 2004. If I had to do it all over again I wouldn’t have married my now ex-husband. Instead I would have broken up with him while still in the dating phase instead of spending seven years with him.

    The only reason for this is because I never learned to live on my own until I was 28 and I would have rather learned I’m capable of doing so much on my own when I was younger.

  • dmkaz

    Like many others, I wish I had stood up for myself more and taken less crap. I put up with a lot because I was trying to be the ‘nicest person’. After a long time, I learned that they don’t give out “Nice person” awards – when people realize that you take crap, all you get is more crap.
    I left my bad marriage after 20 years, and now at 44 I am finally learning to tell people what I want and standing up for myself. I am proud of myself, but I wish I had done it a little earlier in my life – like when my kids were little and learning from my example, and before my marriage was ruined. But I’m still young – I’m sure I have a lot more to learn.

  • Happy Birthday

  • First of all, love your Web site. I’m a regular reader.

    Even though some people say regrets are pointless, I still have my fair share of them….though I’m really pretty happy with where I ended up in life. But here are a few of mine.

    Like so many of the others who posted before me, I regret taking myself so seriously when I was younger. I should have had more fun in high school and college and not worried about school so much. My good grades were pretty much meaningless in the long run, and I’d trade my high HS/college GPAs for more memories of crazy, wild times. I’m now 26–will be 27 this summer–and I’ve spent the last five or so years trying to make up for lost time.

    I would have given some of the guys who wanted to date me, but whom I blew off, more of a chance. I was kind of a bitch back in the day.

    I would NOT have been friends with this heinous girl who claimed to be my “best friend” for eight years, but was really trashing me behind my back and making passive-aggressive digs any chance she could get.

    I wouldn’t have wasted so much money buying stupid shit I wouldn’t want in three years!

    I would have picked a different college. The whole Big 10 thing wasn’t for me.

    I would have reconsidered going into my field. I decided to major in journalism in college at age 15 and by the time I got to college, was having some serious doubts about it, but was afraid to change my mind. I actually like the field better than I thought I would, but there’s a lot about it that just sucks, and I go back and forth every day on whether I should leave.

    Well, that was cathartic!

  • I regret not studying abroad in college. I know I can always take a trip to europe or china or wherever, but getting the opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture by spending even just several months in another country is an invaluable experience, IMO. Now that I am in the real world, I feel a bit trapped and obligated to a job where I only receive 2 weeks of vacation. ugh. I know that when I have kids, I will support their ventures to other places.

    However, I suppose if this is my biggest regret, I’ve come through my first 25 years in pretty good shape, so I’m pretty lucky.

  • leigh

    I regret letting so many who didn’t love me in. I regret living in a fog for so many years. I regret not having four kids (I love the one, but more like him would be heaven.)

    I regret closing down to the point that I can’t find the key to open back up.

  • luckymom22

    I regret every second of the 6 years of my precious life that I spent with my ex-husband. I have many smaller regrets, but that’s my huge one. He had always known he didn’t want kids and the subject was non-negotiable. I was still in party mode when we married and thought I was o.k. with no kids until, until…my nephew was born a year after we were married and I loved him so much, and realized that this was something I wanted too. But it was too late! I’d married and agreed to no kids. Thus began years of private heartache as I lived miserably with my choice of this marriage over motherhood. His alcoholism didn’t help either. Did I mention I regret those 6 years? Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. ages 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36…Trapped. Trapped. Trapped.

    I don’t regret our inevitable divorce, I don’t regret that I’ve never married again and I for sure don’t regret taking the MANY steps that led to my dream of parenthood coming true three weeks before my 40th birthday when a little baby was placed in my arms in a hotel lobby in China. My beautiful daughters are now ages 10 and 8. To think it could have passed me by! I just turned 50, and have had no regrets since age 36. There were plenty before then (including the big one I’ve already mentioned), and it would take pages to list ’em. Ditto with the sunscreen. Happy Birthday, Dooce!

  • I wish I wouldn’t have let my boyfriend buy a Jeep instead of an engagement ring and a new kitchen table. Now, I have to break up with him, and I’m still using TV trays.

  • Ranger

    I love your style of expressing your thoughts and your courage when you do it. The humor you aim at the world originates in your heart and hits me in mine.

    I am a Christian and I regret that you and your family don’t share that joy. Voicing that sentiment will probably get me removed from the comments … but that comes from the heart, too.

  • flutterbymind

    I don’t think so. To change my past would change my character. I am who I am today because of it all. I don’t think I would have been able to appreciate life the way I do at such a young age. I think I’ve become an awesome person because of the past. Maybe dating that drug dealer wasn’t the best decision, but we all learn from our mistakes, right?

    By the way, I am totally in love with your site. You are an awesome writer … and I enjoy the humor you find in everyday life =)

  • Heather, happy anniversary!

    I have no regrets to write about, I did stupid stuff, I’ve apologized for the most part, my mother loves me. I just want to say thank you.

    Thank you for all of those beautiful newsletters to Leta. Like you watching the Iraq and Back special and crying, your newsletters frequently make me cry because the love for your family just flows off the page.

    Thank you for the inspiration – I got off my ass and write on my blog every day (much to my husband’s consternation – alas, he has no blog in which he could respond – and I usually just delete his comments!)

    Thank you for being you – with your unique perspective, and the Chuck, Chuck, Chuck of it all, and the jihad on Jon’s Crocs (and your love and appreciation for him, when not being annoyed by him) and the Avon World Sales Leader, and life in a post-Mormon mode, and everything else that you bring as Dooce.

    You are amazing.

    All the best from Boston,
    -Lori Magno

  • causaleffect

    Hmmm, I would have insisted that I get my four degree so my wife wouldn’t have as much power to make some of the decisions because she makes more than I do.

    Other than that, life’s been pretty good.

    Organ Donation Awareness Project
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/oneaday2007 http://causaleffect.blogspot.com

    Are you an organ donor?
    Have to talked to your family about it?

  • Is your big toe really that big?

  • Hmmm, I would have insisted that I get my four degree so my wife wouldn’t have as much power to make some of the decisions because she makes more than I do.

    Other than that, life’s been pretty good.

    Organ Donation Awareness Project
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/oneaday2007
    http://causaleffect.blogspot.com

    Are you an organ donor?
    Have to talked to your family about it?

  • sassy architecturegeek

    i wish i hadn’t said yes to marrying andy and then said no two months later. i wish i would have said no to start with. i often think i should have ended things with him sooner, but if i had done that, i might have never met the love of my life.

    congratulations dooce.com on being able to pay the mortgage!

  • NordanticElaine

    Happy Anniversary! I love reading your site so much, Heather. It gives me that tiny bit of fun in an otherwise stressful and busy day.

    If I had to go back? I would have been more out going in school. I would have made more friends, joined more clubs, and had more fun. I was too afraid of how people would perceive me. And now I realize that you can’t let your fears live your life for you.

  • My regrets?

    I wish I taken the chance and moved to Japan already instead of being stuck at this job I like less and less.

    I wish I dated more and been in a couple relationships when I was younger. I don’t know how to start now.

    I wish I had done some of things I’ve wanted to do for so long. I’m just getting started now and I feel like I’ve missed out on so much.

  • bigmcmommy

    I wish I hadn’t slept with so many losers.

  • If I could turn back time… If I could find my way…

    haha. That is so gay. Starting a comment with a Cher song. Even Liberace would gag if he read that.

    For real though I would have eaten better when I was younger and taken better care of myself. I’m 31 now and I look back at all the Dr. Pepper and sugar I’ve consumed and it is a wonder I have any kidneys at all. So now I am making up for it by taking vitamins and eating right and drinking shots of wheatgrass and bloody mary’s because, you know, if you are going to drink then you might as well drink with some tomato juice.

  • sosweeto

    Happy 6th, Blurbodoocery, I am totally on the bandwagon and read your site(s) faithfully and with much anticipation every morning!

    In reading through the regrets, I couldn’t decide if I’d post or not, and here I am, so you know my choice.

    Do I regret not telling anyone what he was doing to me when I was between the ages of 4-9? No. What I regret is that I didn’t know I could. I regret that I believed him when he told me that if I’d had a daddy, “this” is how he’d love me. I sincerely regret that he died before I could confront him.

    I regret taking myself so seriously, I’m getting better about that but it’s a slow process to unfurl the knots.

    I regret that so far, I’ve loved more than I’ve been loved, and at 35, I’m scared that’s not going to change.

    I regret not taking risks in my life. I regret not living a life less ordinary.

    All in all, the person I am is shaped by the missteps I’ve taken in life, and she’s a pretty great girl, but sometimes, oh, sometimes I wish I could go back and make different choices armed with the knowledge I’ve gained living my life. If we could only be so lucky!

    Thanks, dooce, for the forum!

  • I wish I started reading your blog much earlier, yes.

    And wow, doesn’t it take like… HOURS to read all these comments? Respect!

  • I would be less of a pussy when it comes to taking pictures while wandering the streets of NYC. I have regretted hundreds of not gotten shots because I’m too afraid of being beat up.

    There are probably other things, too. But if I let that door open, I’ll undo years worth of self medicating.