April 27, 2023

Three Things Thursday: What I Would Do Differently

I don't really like to think about what I *should* have done in certain situations because it just makes me feel regretful--and that's not a happy feeling. But there are some more light-hearted things that I would change if I could go back in time. Not regrets, but just making different choices...

1) I would have eloped rather than have a wedding reception.

I never really had dreams of a big fancy wedding, but it was kind of a given that what we were "supposed" to do (back in 2003, anyway) is have a wedding with lots of guests and a reception (dinner/drinks/dancing). I definitely did not do "fancy", but it was relatively large). It was great that people came and celebrated with us and the whole event turned out really nice, but I spent the whole evening making the rounds mingling and thanking people for coming, trying to ensure everybody felt welcome and had a fun time--I didn't even eat my wedding dinner, cake, or have a single drink! 

Planning a wedding takes so much time (and money!) and it's over with in a flash. If I'd had dreams of a big wedding it would have been worth it, but I honestly didn't really care about that.

If I were to do it all over, I would skip the whole big ceremony and reception and just plan a trip somewhere. We could have a quick ceremony at a simple location and then enjoy our vacation. Jerry and I didn't go on a honeymoon because of the expense, so rather than spend all of the money on a reception, it would have been fun to go on a nice trip.

I don't feel regretful, but I would definitely do it differently if I knew then what I know now.

2) I would have stick-built our home.

Jerry and I had plans of a "starter home", so we bought a lot in this neighborhood, hired a contractor to build a foundation, and ordered a manufactured home (a.k.a. trailer) put on the lot. Manufactured homes have a stigma but we really liked it. And we LOVE living across from the marsh. So, we ultimately decided to stay here.

At the time, we had no idea what we were doing--we knew nothing about owning a home--so over time, we discovered little things that were more difficult to replace because they weren't standard--things like the thickness of some walls (a standard door jamb is a little too wide). Nothing terrible, and we've certainly been able to personalize everything to our taste, but it would have been easier to build a house here and make everything standard sizes with upgraded materials. (I have no desire to have a bigger home--ours is the perfect size for our family--but I would change the layout a bit. However, I didn't know what kind of layout I wanted because I had never lived on my own!)

When I did the big renovation a few years ago, I upgraded a LOT of stuff (simple things like the molding and light fixtures and door slabs). The cost of everything (the lot we bought + our home + our renovation) wasn't any cheaper than building a house. We really like where we live and the updated home, so it worked out in the end. However, if I'd have known we were going to stay here, I would have planned things out much more carefully and customized it.

3) I would have traveled a bit before settling down.

My first time in the PNW--and my first hike!

This sounds silly, but it never occurred to me that I could move anywhere I desired when I was ready to live on my own! I don't regret getting married so young (21 years old), or having kids so young (I was 22 when I had Noah and 23 when I had Eli). However, it was just sort of a given that Jerry and I would live close to where our parents live. We never even talked about moving somewhere else.

If we were able to go back in time, I would have liked to see some other places in the country and then choose where we'd like to settle down. I *love* the Pacific Northwest and probably would have chosen to live there. On the other hand, our families live in Michigan and it's nice to be able to see them anytime we want. My kids were able to grow up less than a mile from my parents, so they rode their bikes over there frequently. I also developed a closer relationship with my parents because of it.

I've made sure to tell my kids that they don't have to settle down here just because they grew up here, though. I'd love for them to explore a bit and find a location that they enjoy. It would be great to live near them! But I wouldn't be sad if one of them settled in the Pacific Northwest, either--I would just have to go visit often ;)

So, those are three things I would do differently if I had known then what I know now. Like I said, I don't feel regretful about them; I didn't know any better at the time! I started an "adult life" (a home and marriage and kids) relatively young, so I've learned quite a bit since then. And I can help my kids discover that they have lots of options in "adult life" and they don't have to make quick decisions!


  1. My husband and I got married on a cruise 11 years ago yesterday. We had 40 people with us, mostly my family as his is very small. It was a great stress-free way to do it and considering it was my second marriage, I didn't want to do a church wedding again, and we spent the majority of our budget on the honeymoon. From the cruise to Cancun and then Disneyland, it was two weeks of fun and started us on a journey of traveling the world together.

    1. That sounds amazing! How fun to have so many people join you, too!


I used to publish ALL comments (even the mean ones) but I recently chose not to publish those. I always welcome constructive comments/criticism, but there is no need for unnecessary rudeness/hate. But please--I love reading what you have to say! (This comment form is super finicky, so I apologize if you're unable to comment)