Yesterday my uncle, who is a travel agent, offered me a free ticket to Hawaii, but I couldn't take it since I'm having an exam this week which makes me stay.

Now I'm staying home and [the verb/verb phrase].

My first thought was envy and regret but envy is a transitive verb and you envy someone but there is no one else involved here. Regret on the other doesn't fit here, I think, since you had no choice and if you could get back in time, you would choose to stay.

So I'm looking for a word which basically means envy hypothetical yourself if you could've done something but you couldn't so now you feel sad.

Edit: I mean something like daydreaming but it does not bear any pleasant feeling since you missed the opportunity that could bring or could have brought the pleasant outcomes. On the other hand, you had no choice so you can't really regret it because regret implies that you did something wrong or you wish you had done something differently, but here in my context I couldn't really do anytging otherwise. Then completely aware of the fact that you couldn't take the chance anyway, you think of what would've happened if you could and feel kind of sad.

  • 1
    I have no idea what you're talking about.
    – Robusto
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 19:32
  • "Wishing I was somewhere else", perhaps? I would forget about envying yourself, hypothetical or not.
    – Mick
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 19:34
  • @Robusto doing something like daydreaming but it doesn't give you a pleasant feeling since it something bad that happened to you. You think of the possible pleasant outcome that could or could have happened to you but missed them because you had no choice.
    – Yuri
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 19:39
  • @Mick I like your idea. It's simple and to the point though I was expecting a probable entry. I added some to the question, please take a look, and if it rings any bells let me know if not then I'll have to go with a type of explanation that you suggested. Thank you.
    – Yuri
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 19:49
  • 2
    You have the meaning of it, although I would never refer to my vain regrets (even though I have plenty). They are just vain regrets. Like Mount Everest, they belong to everyone and no one.
    – Mick
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 20:25

1 Answer 1


The first phrase that comes to mind is "missed opportunity". Also

  • "the one that got away"

  • "the one I let slip away"

  • the "path not taken"

  • "what could have been"

  • "what might have been"

And others. Mick's suggestion of "vain regret" is good, or possibly "soulful remorse", and "hopeless nostalgia".

There are, of course, a vast number of more poetic options:

"Men become cannibals of their own hearts; remorse, regret, and restless impatience usurp the place of more wholesome feeling: every thing seems better than that which is." - Mary Shelley

  • I take that there is possibly no word having the meaning of daydreaming which arouses negative feelings. Can pity myself or feel sorry for myself be used here, too? As in Now I'm staying home and pitying myself.
    – Yuri
    Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 4:09
  • @Yuri , other than "nostalgia" none of my examples implies "daydreaming" -- but I'm not certain that's the word you want since a daydream is usually a nice thing. You might consider "pensive", "self-reflective", "contemplative", "somber", "melancholy", and their various synonyms.
    – Andrew
    Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 4:23

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