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The 5 things I regret most in my life

April 6th, 2018 by Bob Bly

Subscriber JM writes:

“I would love to know a handful of your biggest regrets
professionally or personally — or things you might have done

“You might not have many since you’ve always done what you
love… but I bet it would make for a gripping topic for your
letter too.”

I’m not sure it’s all that gripping, JM, but since you asked, the
truth is I have many regrets — because, like most people, I make
a lot of mistakes, wrong choices, and bad decisions.

Caveat: You may find some or all of these trivial. To you, they
may be. To me, not.

Here in no particular order are just 5 things I did or didn’t do
that bug me; the list could be much longer:


I got married at a younger age than my friends — 25.

But my wife got cancer a few months after the wedding.

Because of the radiation treatment, we were told to hold off on
kids for a few years.

Then, we went through infertility.

So we had Alex and then Steve later than we’d planned.

We wanted a third child. Maybe a sister for the boys.

But by then, we felt we were too old.

And so we didn’t.

Which I regret, because my kids are everything to me.


I played in my high school band, orchestra, and jazz band —
clarinet and baritone sax.

One day, the orchestra teacher offered to teach me another
instrument, one of my favorites — string bass.

He gave me a couple of lessons, but I already had a lot to do.
And so I let it go. And never learned to play the bass. Which I
wish I could play today.


At the University of Rochester, we chemistry majors were
encouraged to take German.

I took the required two semesters, but not more.

As a result, I can’t speak or read the language.

Which would have been useful to me, as in my career I have
written copy for a number of German companies.


I got hooked on writing as early as high school, writing for the
paper, and then doing the same in college.

I love being a writer, and would choose that if I had to do it
all over again.

Still, it meant not pursuing what was my first love, chemistry.
And that too I regret more than a little; I even put up a
chemistry website to stay involved with it:


Like many writers, writing a novel was on my to-do list.

But I never did it, because I never had a story idea I thought
could sustain novel-length treatment.

All my published fiction is short stories:

But no novel. And time is growing short.

And finally, I do have a couple of ideas I think might work.

So I’ll end this essay and get to work on the novels.


This entry was posted on Friday, April 6th, 2018 at 11:34 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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    Hello, Decisions are very difficult, I also had mine, we all have, I had children, I learned to play guitar and bass, it can be said that it helped me in some points but in others I got in other activities.
    Life is just the same, they are correct and regretful. I think this is life, maybe if we had lived differently, we would think the same way.
    I think in our age we should practice a little meditation and calm the mind, that, leave the body aside and think about the good times.
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    Hi Bob, thanks for sharing, it’s always great to hear that from other people’s perspective on past regrets because we all have them. I’d say my biggest is not following my dreams after college and instead of taking the “safe and comfy” route for too many years of bad jobs.
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