Man To Man

This is my response to this week’s Flashback Track Friday prompt, where they asked us:

What is your biggest regret?

So, how does the song go? Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention… Well, let’s try mentioning a few.

I think in my early life, I regret not staying on in education. I earned a Bachelor’s degree, was one of the top people in the class, was offered a PhD place, but, quite simply, I wanted to get into work because I was fed up earning a pittance.

In fact, none of the top people stayed. Whatever field of industry we went into, we all chose to get out of academia. It was the middle tier of people, those who could not get good jobs, who opted to stay and complete PhDs.

It’s kinda interesting, because it made me realise about abundantly-qualified people. They’re not there through any greater grasp of knowledge, but because they stayed the course.

But it’s only really later in life that I’ve come to realise that… those three little letters, PhD, once you have them, they are something that nobody can take away. They are one of the few things in life which are “forever”.

Another regret – I worked in Manhattan in my mid-twenties. Financial district, right by Wall Street, the works. And how many people, especially people from another continent, can say that? I miss not spending longer there.

But I can’t really complain. Within 18 months of returning, I met my wife. Within three years I was a father. And frankly, when I look at the US now… I’m happy where I am.

Michele mentioned her mum. But which of us does not think we could have been a better child? I’d go so far as to say that it’s pretty universal. I wasn’t overly close to my mum – she was quite a domineering character, we didn’t get on and I don’t regret one bit that we were distant. And, I’m not going to eulogise her, and pretend anything other now that she’s gone.

But, I regret when she died.

Because she was close to my daughter. Grandparents and grandkids have a special bond, and my daughter was just twelve when she died. After that she went into this seemingly unstoppable downward spiral. Petty crime, finally accusing me of abuse and going into care. And, ultimately, I think my daughter piled it on so much – we’d have the police coming to the house every month or so – she helped cause my stroke. So I am stuck living the rest of my life disabled as a result. Regrets? You might say… And I think they stem from when my mother died.

But my biggest regret? Well, I left home aged eighteen, and never really went back. And as you just heard, I was go-getting in my twenties, changing jobs about every eighteen months, climbing the ladder and including working in New York City.

In the meantime, at home, my dad had developed dementia. Back then, they labelled it pre-senile, but now it is far more common and labelled early onset (far more politically correct). The upshot is that just as I was flying home from the USA, my dad was moving into a nursing home. There he lived for the next fifteen years, gradually becoming more incapacitated and withdrawn. I’ve no idea if it even registered, when he met his granddaughter. At the end, it certainly didn’t register when he met me. I think my biggest regret is just not being able to shoot the breeze with him, man-to-man.

He had the last laugh, by the way. He died on a Christmas Day, so it’s a kind-of in-your-face reminder every year.


  1. You’ve done pretty well and dementia is a slow eating disease out of your control. I do eulogize my mum and she was domineering in many ways but she taught my dad what family meant and now he has taught my siblings and I that

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  2. Regrets? I couldn’t change the path of my health, which led to a lot of problems. I regret I ever got married to an
    only child, who after 20 yrs he proved me right because couldn’t handle the sickness. Not having the guts to get out and do what I wanted to do, due to an over domineering mother, which cripples you when you are little. Having had 2 strokes, one at 43 and one later on that turned to seizures, after I went and passed a Microsoft engineering course.
    It was my bid at independence where you wouldn’t have to depend on anyone, wiped out in a second. Quitting
    singing professionally and not continuing to pursue it. ( although I do it for fun now) One thing good, my last stroke wiped out a lot of my past memories so I don’t feel a lot about the past so fewer regrets, but I do remember if someone mentions something then it will come back. But I learned you learn from the bad as well as the good and I wouldn’t
    trade it. It’s made me me.

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  3. My ice skating abilities are no longer. lol Yeah, It took me a while to get where I can sing again. Like any muscle, if you don’t use it you lose it. I was determined to get it back. hey, I could hardly work a computer let alone sing. lol

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  4. A bit of personal detail I’d not paid attention to before. I am sorry for the difficulties you and yours have dealt with. Says something for your steel that you persist. Good read this morning. Carry on, good sir.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Does airing your regrets help to let them go? I see each day can be a regret or a day lived in a way that brings joy and satisfaction. I wish for you many more the latter , dear friend. That and all these regrets released.

    Liked by 3 people

    • No those regrets are kinda branded in; it’s too late to do anything about them. The only thing I could possibly do something about would be to get a PhD someplace, but I think being a student is a time/place thing. Best to smile ruefully and move on to the next challenge. My doctorate would have been something in the astrophysics field, btw. But I can’t complain how computing turned out.

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