The cover article in the September issue of the Mensa Bulletin was titled, “The R (regret) Word,” and inside were snippets from stories sent in by members of things they regretted.
One said she regretted not taking Chemistry in school. A man said, “I should have had four children instead of two.” (No comment from his wife.) Another reported his 90-something grandfather regretted he never went bowling.
Here are some others:
* Not learning to play guitar.
* Not learning the bagpipes in junior high band.
* Not going to veterinarian school.
* Not taking the Mensa test sooner.
* Not studying dance.
* My mother not seeing me on Jeopardy.
However, by far the most regrets had to do with family.
* Growing up without a father.
* Not being closer to family.
* Not having more talks with my father.
* Not asking enough questions of parents and grandparents.
Although there are variation of this, I think the earliest came from a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier. “For all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: it might have been.”
Like so many others, I wish I knew more about my family. What was it like for my grandfather to leave England and start a new life in the U.S.? When and where did my mother and father--who came from different cultures--meet? It’s too late to get those answers, but I’m resolved not to have regrets about writing.
Sure, I already regret I didn’t start sooner, although I wrote stories while in grade school. But then I took time off to marry and raise four children. I wouldn’t give up one of them, and fortunately they understand why I spend so many hours at home in front of the computer now, writing books.
What about you, my friends? Will you some day regret you didn’t write more, that perhaps the Great American Novel never got put on paper? Don’t let it happen. Write right now!