Regrets From My 30’s

Here at Stylebook, we don’t usually write about negative things, so please trust that this post will end on a positive. If you follow me on Instagram (@drmeganbrown), you know I was in Bermuda this summer for several weeks. On our last day, I sat on the beach and watched my boys play in the waves. Instead of wallowing in sadness on my last morning, I was inspired to write this post and even dictated into my phone as I sat under the beach umbrella…

I’ve been thinking about age a lot lately, mainly because I just can’t believe how much I love my 40’s…the 40’s have been the happiest of my life.

But that morning on the beach, I reflected on my 30’s. For some reason I focused on my regrets. I chose to, and was lucky to be able to have kids, so that decade was basically devoted to having babies and caring for small children (lol, no…I don’t regret them). But regardless of whether you have kids or not, there is something about that decade that doesn’t sit well with some people. Maybe you are in them now…slightly lost. So I’m sharing my top 5 regrets…but with a positive at the end, to let you know you’re not alone.


  1. I wish I hadn’t worried so much. I worried about things that, looking back now, didn’t matter. I’ll never forget picking up my husband’s 95-year-old grandmother one evening. She asked me about my week. “It was good Lucille, but I was so stressed out the whole time.” Her response has haunted me for a decade. With her sweet calm voice, she said, “Oh well, hang in there, it will all be over soon enough.” 😳
  2. I wish I hadn’t judged so much. Judging people couldn’t be more ironic. Just think, to judge, means you are all knowing, you have all the facts and can make a sound determination about someone else based on those facts. The older I get, the more I realize I don’t know anything.
  3. I wish I hadn’t tried to constantly define myself. We can’t blame ourselves too much for this, our entire childhood we were asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It wasn’t until my 40’s that I truly knew who I was…now the hard part is figuring out what I want to be when I grow up!
  4. I regret wishing away the hard stuff. When my kids were little, I’d say to myself, “I can’t wait until they’re in school and I can get a break.” Now I look at the pictures of them when they were little, and I can barely remember what they were like at that age.
  5. I wish I hadn’t doubted myself so much. But even though I did, I rolled through my 30’s like I had something to prove. I realize now that I was making up for my own insecurities, my own utterly palpable self doubt. Oh it still surfaces sometimes, but now I’m better at recognizing it.


In summary, I’ve learned to care more for myself on the inside by finding inner strength and peace. In my 30’s, I was desperate to control the outside. That strategy is not sustainable, nor reliable when trying to find happiness and balance. In the end, what we can ultimately count on is ourselves, but sometimes that takes work.


Now for the good lessons…what I’m grateful for from my 30’s:

  1. We started financial planning early. I was 32 when we started working with David Greene, our financial advisor. Preparing for the future financially has relieved stress and allowed us to have more confidence in our spending. Read more about Dave here. I highly recommend crafting and following a financial plan if you haven’t already.
  2. I’m so glad I took risks. I started Mind the Mat with Sara when we were both 34. Thirty-four! And no, it was not easy, and yes, I was scared to death. I look back at that time and feel so relieved we took that risk. I can’t imagine missing out on this meaningful community that has truly enriched my life. So go for it! Take the risk. How often do you hear that people regret the big risks?
  3. Thank God I wore sunscreen.
  4. Pilates! I’m grateful for finding Pilates in my 30’s. I am in the best physical shape of my life, now at 45, because of this therapeutic and ingenious method that focuses on biomechanics, strength and mobility.


This post first appeared in Alexandria Stylebook September 2019.


  • The latest from Megan
Megan Brown, physical therapist, Pilates instructor, mother and co-founder of Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga in Alexandria, VA, likes to goof around. Yet her commitment to her students and her skill set in the field is no joke. After graduating from University of Virginia with a degree in Sports Medicine, Megan went on to receive her Masters in Physical Therapy and eventually her Doctorate in the profession. Although Pilates was never part of the plan, the method changed the way she treated patients, positively re-directed her career path and enhanced her own active lifestyle. Customized Pilates instruction is her specialty–she designs classes based on clients needs: athletes, new moms, rehabilitation or just for fun (why be serious all the time?). Pilates + Yoga is the best of both worlds, hence the creation of Mind the Mat studios providing classes for all—in every walk of life.

Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga was founded in 2008 by Megan Brown, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Polestar Certified Practitioner of Pilates for Rehabilitation and Sara VanderGoot, Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher (e-RYT 200, RYT 500). In their private practices as physical therapist and massage therapist respectively Megan and Sara observed that many of their clients were coming in with similar needs: relief for neck and shoulder tension and low back pain as well as a desire for more flexibility in hips and legs, stability in joints, and core strength.

Together Megan and Sara carefully crafted a curriculum of Pilates and yoga classes to address needs for clients who are pregnant, postpartum, have injuries or limitations, who are new to Pilates and yoga, and for those who are advanced students and are looking for an extra challenge.     

3300 Fairfax Dr.
Arlington, VA 22201


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