8 Regrettable Decisions, Catalogued

The winning submission of February’s Writers Club prompt!

Woman Lying on Diving Board

The beach, age 13. In the harsh Australian summer there are two things that burn: pale skin and a surfer’s rejection. You went to that beach every Saturday to impress those boys, covered in uneven self tanner and an uncomfortable bikini. You cooked that beautiful porcelain complexion. I know that this is the only version of “cool” you know right now, but what I wouldn’t give to scrub you raw, shower you off, shield your face with a glorious sun hat and give you a Margaret Atwood book. Just wait, your cool is coming.

Finishing two $4 jugs of tequila sunrise, age 19. Really, well done. What a life choice. Now you can’t drink tequila any more. You have to order the house red in Mexican restaurants like an amateur.

Colin, age 21. Stop pursuing that loser. His dirt bike does not make him sexy. There are so many more amazing boys that exist in this world. French boys, girl. Think of French boys.

Wanting to be an artist, age 16 to 22. Every female in your life is an artist. Mother, sister, cousin, aunty, all of them. It is magical. It is beautiful. That is not a goal you have to set for yourself. You’ll grow up to be a lawyer. It’s basic, I know, and your mother will be horrified. But that’s okay. She’ll eventually fall in love with the irony of it all and only buy you drawing pencils every third or fourth birthday. Take legal notes with Derwents. Make it your thing.

Persisting in learning how to roll a joint, ongoing. Stop. They always look like tampons. It’s embarrassing. This isn’t a talent you’re ever going to master.

Not learning to drive because “pollution is bad” (read “laziness is real”), age 15 to now. When you’re older, the bus to your parents’ house will take four hours. It will be horrific. Just make your father teach you. You aren’t Greenpeace, kid.

Buying that house, age 29. Sydney is the second most expensive place to live in the WORLD after Hong Kong. You are about a million dollars in debt. You married a man who is not handy. You’re lazy as F. The house is old and falling apart. It turns out that gyms, concierges and garbage shoots in apartment buildings are really convenient. Don’t buy into that “investing into your future” bullshit. You’ll probably be dead by the new retirement age of 70 anyway. Thanks Australia!

Waiting for “the right time” to have kids. They can dismiss your work, dismiss your opinion and ignore you for that promotion — fine. Chin up and work harder and be better and you’ll thrive and be a better lawyer for it. But you decide when to fill your womb. You decide when to make it grow with life and create magic. Not them. Please, this will be your biggest regret. So much more than too much tequila or sun-damaged skin.

Photo by Bettman via Getty Images.

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  • Katrina Elizabeth

    Absolutely beautiful.

  • Frizzell

    So powerful. It’s like you were with me for every poignant moment of my life… thank you.

  • Duke


  • It’s nice to read this and see you’ve grown out of these 8 errors, but value them nonetheless.

    Besma | Curiously Conscious

  • Lisa

    loved that. so funny and spot on. the tequila and joint rolling. epic.

  • I’ll be dead by retirement age too and I live in Hong Kong. Le sigh.

    Charmaine Ng
    Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Maggie Lanham

    haha love this piece but the first three really hit home. Oh, the Colins and tequila jugs of the world will forever taunt the youths. Growing up is dope (just not the kind you roll into tampon shape).

  • Tat

    Rings true, being from Sydney to a family of all artists and now working in finance. Only diff is I love tequila

  • LOVE this! Such a fun and yet lovely read

    – Natalie

  • meme

    That last one is hitting me hard.

  • Heather

    oh wow. this is very beautifully written. so poignant.

  • Jessica Eikenberry Paullus

    ❤ this! Especially the part about home ownership – basically a never-ending money pit of huge maintenance and repair bills that we have all been sold on.

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