I think being in your thirties is a good time to reflect on your life. You are old enough to have gained some wisdom and had various life experiences. You are also old enough to have, at least to some extent, come to understand yourself, what kind of person you want to be and what kind of life you want to live. It can be a good time to reflect on your life so far, see how you have grown and learned from your mistakes and successes. As you look over your life you may discover some regrets, some of which you may need to come to peace with, others you may still be young enough to do something about.
In my case, a regret that comes to mind is not having tried or learned more things when I was younger. During my school years I was never a very active person, and I didn’t enjoy sports. I think this was largely due to the fact that I was not very good at team sports, and I was bullied at school about this. I was often picked last for the sports teams and PE (physical education) classes at school were traumatic and horrible experiences. In fact, bullying was a big problem for me at school. In Australia, unlike Japan, school is divided into two sections: primary school and high school. Primary school goes for 7 years and high school goes for 5, adding up to a total of 12 years of school. I went to an all-girls Catholic high school and the first 4 of the 5 years I spent there were probably the worst 4 years of my life. I think that all-girls schools are not a good idea; popular and nasty girls seem to be even more horrible without any good-looking boys to distract them. I was a very shy and un-cool student, so I was an easy target for the bullies and there were many times that I didn’t have any friends at school. I survived but they were pretty tough years. Things changed for me in my final year of high school when I started attending a local Christian church and made lots of friends there. I was able to come out of my shell, grow in confidence and life took on a whole new level of meaning and joy because of my faith in God. I also made some good friends at school, one of whom I still keep in contact with.
While I am very thankful for my final year of high school, which really was a turning point in my life and I wouldn’t want to change it, if I could return to my 15-year-old-self, or even better, my 12-year-old self (the age I was in my first year of high school), I would want to join some groups outside of high school earlier than I did. Of course I wish I had started going back to church earlier, and I also wish I had started learning something like martial arts outside of school. Doing some sort of extra-curricular activity like martial arts would have gotten me outside of the very negative school environment, enabled me to meet new people and build a new, hopefully more supportive, social network. I believe that learning marital arts would also have helped me to grow in confidence and self-esteem, and also would have been beneficial for my physical and mental health. I am not saying I wished I had learned martial arts so that I could beat up all the bullies (although I may have been tempted to do so!) but rather the self-confidence and physical strength, I believe it would have given me, is something I regret not having now. Is it too late for me I wonder, or could I still learn martial arts even now?
bully (verb) - to frighten or hurt a weaker person; to use your strength or power to make somebody do something
distract (verb) - to take somebody’s attention away from what they are trying to do
come out of one`s shell (idiom) – to become less shy and more confident when talking to other people
turning point (noun) - the time when an important change takes place, usually with the result that a situation improves
martial art (noun) - any of the fighting sports that include judo and karate