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?

  • 6 months after my mom died, my sisters and I discovered my dad had been having a 30 yr affair with a woman 5 years older than me (gross)– the woman who caused my parents to split up for a year in the mid-80s.

    They were sleeping together within days of my mom’s funeral.

    I wish the one day that I met her (Mother’s Day) I hadn’t been so stunned, and had told her how much she and my dad have hurt our family through the years with their selfish behavior.

    For now, I take some pleasure in knowing she has genital herpes, and I hope it burns.

  • This is like PostSecret without the arts and crafts.

    No significant regrets yet. The bigger fear is actually having them later.

  • I wish I could appreciated more my parents in my early years…

  • I wore to my eighth-grade dance white shoes, white pants and a white shirt with a black-and-red silk tie, and a white fedora with a red band around it. I weighed about 85 pounds, most of which was comprised of my large head, upon which the large, white hat was perched. I have photos. They are monuments to regret.

    I was a slow learner; I wore the same outfit, minus the hat (thank god) to my first day of high school. A girl named Jodi placed a dollop of ketchup on her finger and pressed it into the middle of my back. I can’t say I blame her.

  • I wish I hadn’t fucked up the interview for the Moorehead Scholarship at UNC Chapel Hill. All I had to do was “express an opinion” and in my family, that was considered rude. I should have said whatever I thought whether it was “right” or “wrong.”

  • #1. I wouldn’t have slept with that one guy.
    #2. I would have worn more sunscreen in my days of living in Africa, the Caribbean and Mexico. Boy was I stupid not to.

  • If it wouldn’t change the lovely people in my life – my husband and daughter specifically – I would change the fact that I didn’t go to art school or med school, but instead just studied languages in college and got in & out as fast as I could. That was easy for me, and I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. Now I’m a really good tour guide in Europe.

    But a real regret? I regret at our wedding that we didn’t stay in town that night and go to the big-ass party all our friends threw. Instead, we had to catch a flight to Dallas and spend the night in a generic hotel, so that we could catch the red-eye to Colorado for our honeymoon. We were so poor, we couldn’t afford to take a normal flight the next day, and missed out on a terrific party. Oh, and we would have served alcohol. That always makes for a better wedding party. 🙂

  • PhillyOne

    I can relate to you because I am probably gonna lose my job over a blog I wrote recently. It sucks to be in this situation. I don’t know whether to regret what I wrote or to be relieved. I guess I won’t know how to feel for a long time. Love to read your page. You’re very clever.

  • dunderfunk

    I regret not staying in touch with a good friend of mine in Beaufort, SC: E. Ford.

    Now I can’t get in touch with him and I fear he may be dead.

    I also regret not leaving my previous job sooner, before it became a race to see if I would have a heart attack from anger and stress.

  • sue.g

    Congrats on the anniversay and from the sound of it HB as well.

    At 51 I am trying to live more in the moment instead of the past and fretting about the future. I’m just trying to be ‘present’.

    I regret not recognizing my marriage was bad and getting out sooner. I know that 51 is not old, but it seems an odd place to be dating, or in my case not dating. It just kills me,,,,,50 year old men do not date 50 year old women, they date 30 & 40 year old women. 70 year old men want to date me,,,,geez.

  • I had the chance to go to London for six months in my junior year and I didn’t do it because my boyfriend at the time didn’t want me to. He then decided sleeping with other people was what was in his best interest, so I spent that semester sad in Tempe instead of getting over him surrounded by sexy British accents. I still haven’t made it over there.

  • rose

    if i could do it over i would have let God choose the ‘timing’ of my having children, instead of hubby and me; they would have been born closer together and would have tighter bonds with each other.

  • Just a trumpet player

    I wish I would have gotten a day job many years ago.

    I’ve been a strugling musician for 13 years and didn’t want to sell out and be one of “those” musicians. But you know what ? Having a day job made me realized that I really despise hands-me-down brown furniture, ratty clothes dropped by the neighbourgs and living in a house with 12 creepy roommates. Yes, I’ve become one of those industrial musicians. But I wouldn’t trade my custom-made jeans, my laundry room and my Starbucks prefered custumer card for anything in the world.

    Happy birthday Dooce !!

  • kidsmom

    I should have been more willing to buck the system and risk “getting in trouble”.

  • Scottysmum

    I wish I had had kids a bit younger when fertility was not an issue. I’m so blessed to have my 5 yr old, but I have been ttc for 4 yrs with two m/c at 12 weeks, one just last week. I am so sad, in my mission to have a second child. At 41, things just do not work the way they did.

  • kmum

    Happy Birthday Dooce!
    My regret is half regret/half not. In a way I wish I had have started to have babies with my husband earlier than we did and then I might have had a chance to convince him to have two instead of one. On the other hand, I would not trade the baby I did have for the world. Then I regret having those thoughts because it makes me feel guilty and disloyal to my wonderful son.

  • Happy Birthday Dooce!

    I wish I had traveled abroad for six months after college.

    And worn more sunscreen. I tend to grow basil skin cancer too.

  • Tolovemoon

    Oh yeah, I would change quite a few things.
    To name a few, I would have believed in myself more and stop listening to what my mother’s opinion was when all along it was my life decisions not hers to what I wanted to do as far as a career or education.
    I really wish I would have realized how much of a pathological liar she was or that I couldn’t trust her because she would tell everyone I knew bad things about me and my family as well as tell everyone my dad died when he is very much alive.
    This may become boring or long so I will leave only after I add this, even though I may have trusted my mother at one time, I obeyed her every command, I did almost everything she asked of me up until I was about 25 years old, she can’t bring me down or mentally and physically abuse me ever again. She will never control my thinking or make me become something I don’t ever want to be.
    I feel better now..
    OK..Now can I end with this?
    Happy 6th Birthday to Dooce’s website! Thank you Heather for all the laughter and for sharing you true self to the world.
    I have learned a lot of new things from reading things you have wrote and I hope you will carry on even when you are a old granny sitting in a rocker waving a cane in the air to scare everyone away, scratching your butt, picking your nose, waiting for poop or farts, dressing up your dog making him do tricks for us, taking pictures with the most coolest technology, you will even be cracking wise jokes about the stupid comments I leave as well as wishing I could study enough English so I would finally write better without so may long run on sentences…. 🙂 Cool site, keep it up, and give Chuck a extra pat on his head for all the cool poses hes done every now and then…
    Peace!

  • bird

    I would have not talked back to my mom as much as I did. Some of it was normal adolescent mother/daughter stuff, and some of it I just plain regret. My mom died four years ago, the day before my 31st birthday, and now with young children of my own, my loss is that much deeper.

  • I wish I had practiced safe sex in college.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Ani

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

  • 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.

  • 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 (www.melbournedreaming.blogspot.com), 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!

  • 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. . .

  • oh and “happy birthday dooce.com” 🙂

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

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • Annon

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

  • Annon

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • annab

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.