The 5 things I regret most in my life

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.


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