15 Things you will regret once you hit 30

There are many things we do or don’t do that later on cause regrets, because every decision, be it bold or conservative, always has a downside. Some people end up regretting reckless behaviour, like getting a tattoo or taking up smoking; some regret not having travelled as much as they'd have liked to before settling down, some feel sorry for putting their own happiness last. Here, we summed up the 15 decisions people end up regretting the most.


Remember when every single girl wanted to get a tattoo on her lower back, those big, elaborate floral designs? Well, we regret that too. Tattooed female bellies won’t be looking quite so nice either after a couple of pregnancies. Men usually choose cartoons or symbols that are currently in fashion but will look ridiculous when the fad fades away. That is why you should bare something in mind before putting yourself under the needle: tattoos are like marriage, it’s meant to be for life, and getting rid of them afterwards is a long and painful process.

Taking up smoking

When you’re young, holding a cigarette in your mouth is almost a mandatory part of your image. Thus, the average starting age for smokers is quite low. However, as the years go by and the habit begins taking its toll, you start coughing frequently, losing energy, your skin starts to sag and wrinkle, and you might even lose some of your sense of smell and taste, but by that time it is too hard to quit. Experts agree that tobacco can be as addictive as cocaine. That is why smoking that second cigarette, after the first one had left a bad taste in your mouth is one of those decisions that you will deeply regret as you grow older.

Dropping out of uni

Working and studying at the same time is certainly tiresome, and, since usually the pressing matters force us to drop important things, college is the first that comes to mind when the need arises. Many people regret it, even though it may be understandable at the moment, since a career not only offers the possibility to get better jobs, but also enables you to get higher degrees for which having a master’s is a must.

Holding on to toxic relationships

Although it may appear as an engaging challenge at first, struggling and devoting all your energy to a person who doesn't reciprocate is something a lot of people regret in the long run. Staying in a relationship regardless of the signs telling you to step aside is something you will regret over time. People in love forget that no one has the right to hurt someone indiscriminately; and choosing to hold on to that pain is a great obstacle for your personal growth.

Not making time for your friends

There are moments in life when you have to prioritise your responsibilities. However, when this decision means putting aside your relationships with others, the cost may prove too high. It is often said that a friend in need is a friend indeed, but, although some may prove unconditional, most friendships require some sort of care to last. A call from time to time can be a good way to prevent loneliness in the future.

Naked pictures or videos

You never know when that home-made sex-tape or those naughty pics may come back to haunt you, and this is even more so nowadays with social networks making it possible to share data and images in real time. Many celebrities regret it, as well as regular people. You never know when those very sensitive images may fall into the wrong hands, the hands of someone who may have the intention to harm you.

Not spoiling yourself

If you are the kind of person who puts others before yourself, at some point you will wonder why you didn't spoil yourself a bit more, like getting a pass for a day spa more often, acquiring that piece of clothing you liked so much or going out to dinner more frequently. Sometimes, devoting your life to saving money, fulfilling responsibilities and the people around you may bring regrets later, especially when you take up a lot of responsibilities during your youth.


College, building their own career, the desire to travel around the world, there are many reasons that make women postpone starting a family. Some of them regret putting off having children until it’s already too late, when the possibility of giving childbirth is already gone. Then again, the regret might very well be the opposite, having realised too late that motherhood comes bundled with at least 18 years of legal responsibility for another human being. Be it as it may, carrying a child is a big decision for most women, whether they decide to go for it or against it.

Not making “that” trip when single

Some choose to get a head start into adult life, quickly finishing college, starting a career or even a business. But all decisions have their downside: those who take on responsibilities at a young age, might regret not having done those youthful and adventurous backpacking trips other people seem to remember so fondly. The memory of low quality hostels, mountains and even bar hopping, is something that most regret having to live without.

Betting everything on a single project

Most unsolicited career counselling, the type we see on TV or the internet, recommends focusing on a single project. However, when things don’t turn out as expected - as they often will - on a new job, a college degree or a partner, many regret having disregarded other options they encountered on the way for not being open to different possibilities.

Not going to concerts

The costs of tickets for big international shows are known for being high and, therefore, discourage many potential concert-goers. However, many who missed them due to lack of money or unwillingness to pay a high price to get in, later regret their choices, when the artists lose their spark, retire or simply pass away.

Not exercising

Taking up physical activities at a young age is a good investment, not only for your appearance but also for your health. It’s easier to learn when you’re young, so experts advise that healthy habits are best acquired during childhood. People often regret delaying exercise until adulthood, when muscular aches, overweight and worrying test results come into the stage.

Not saying things

Leaving things unsaid may cause resentment, misunderstanding and even loss of affection. Pride tends to be prioritised after a burst of anger, but it fades away in time. To present yourself as stoic and strong seems to be the only possibility in certain occasions, but there are times when taking a deep breath and letting it all out ends up being the best way around it. That is why, if you find the right way to do it, it’s better to say what you think or feel rather than regret it later.

Putting the happiness of others first

Happiness does not simply grow on trees, it’s a state that you construct and have to defend. Prioritising others’ happiness instead of one’s own doesn't necessarily make a person altruistic. Moreover, sometimes it may even lead them to frustration and projecting negative thoughts on others. That is why you should remember the need of loving oneself before being able to love others and try to be as merry as possible.

Getting used to being uncomfortable

An unrewarding job, a marriage that is falling apart, the excess of self-inflicted obligations. Many get used to these uncomfortable situations and justify themselves thinking that that is all there is. Even if there is no immediate solution for some things, there is for others, it's only a matter of being able to recognize them and take action. Someone who watches passively as their life becomes the stage for an ungratifying disaster is the perfect candidate for regret.

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About the Author

Celina Abud nació y vive en Buenos Aires. Recibida en 2001, se desempeña desde hace cinco años como periodista experta en Salud. A partir de 2010 produce y edita notas para un suplemento web de un importante diario argentino. Sus artículos recibieron premios y reconocimientos del área médica.