When people ask me if I have any regrets, I have a hard time answering.

The way I see regrets is different from how most people see it. People feel regret whenever they’ve made a past mistake, a mistake that continuously haunts them and holds them back from moving forward in life.

But for me, I don’t like to believe in regretting past moments, because my past moments define who I am. It’s the reason why I’ve been able to grow, to pick myself up from the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, to be who I am today.

If I had to say I had any regrets, the only thing that comes to mind might be attending college.

College didn’t teach me much, or rather I didn’t learn much in college. Most of the time I’d played games and hanged out with friends because most of the classes I’d taken were basic, fundamental stuff (Intro to Psychology, Intro to Abnormal Psychology) and general education classes — an extension of the things I’d learned in high school.

It was only the third (and last) year of college when things became a bit more challenging for me, where I had to take advanced classes of my major. But even so, it wasn’t anything that would’ve prepared me for the real world.

By the time I graduated with a degree in Psychology and left college, I booked a one-way flight to China to be with my ex. College for me was meaningless because the only job I could get in China was to be an English teacher. There wasn’t even really a need for my degree. It wasn’t even worth paying the thousands of dollars I had for that degree.

Perhaps if things had been different and I had gone on to working as a Psychologist or Psychiatrist, then the degree might’ve matter. And then it might’ve been worth paying for the tuition to go to college.

But it didn’t, and with the career I’ve now chosen as a full-time traveler/writer, I sometimes look back and wish I had started writing earlier. I wish I had learned to express my thoughts and feelings and given myself a chance to discover who I really am instead of booking a one-way ticket straight to China right after graduation.

But despite all that, I don’t truly regret anything. The past, including my past relationship with all its pain and tears, has taught me how to appreciate myself. It’s taught me that I’m more capable than who I thought I was and has helped me discover my passion of writing. It’s given me the motivation to turn my life around and to rebuild it based on my own terms, and for that it’s been more of a blessing than it has a regret.

Sometimes, we must understand that regrets aren’t always bad. The worst regrets are often the most memorable; they leave the greatest impact, and because of those impacts, we stop ourselves from making the same mistake again and instead we make better decisions for our future.

So if you have something you regret, don’t take it as a horrible reflection of your past. Use it as a tool to shape who you want to be from now on.