“Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention” – Frank Sinatra - My Way
Frank Sinatra (and by extension Paul Anka, the song’s author) was a lucky man. I imagine most of us have, at one time or another in our lives, done something we regretted or done something we would change if we could. Others of us probably have things we didn’t do and wish we had. I probably fall into the second category.
There are any number of things I wish I had done when I was younger or wish I had possessed the internal makeup and strength of personality to at least consider. Sometimes circumstances got in the way, but for the most part, it has been a weakness of character, a problem of me getting in my own way.
I am not, as the psychologists would likely attest, a Type-A personality. I have never been a go-getter or a take the bull by the horns kind of guy. If you use water as a metaphor, Type-A personalities would be akin to a waterfall or even a hydroelectric dam. I, on the other hand, would be more like a meandering stream, rolling along in no hurry to get anywhere.
In some ways, that approach to life has served me well. While I often get bored easily, I almost never get overly stressed about anything. So I don’t suffer from hypertension or ulcers or the like. Instead, I ride along a fairly even keel emotionally.
This does have its drawbacks. While an even emotional keel does keep me from becoming overly depressed (even when thinking about how much has turned out), it also keeps me from truly experiencing emotional highs. The argument could be made that in some ways I have missed out on life. There is a part of me that might agree with that assessment.
Not that I haven’t changed a little. It took a long time, but I am better able to appreciate the beauty of sunrise (when I can get up that early) or sunset. A few years ago, I would have simply seen it as another day. I wish I had developed such an appreciation earlier in life, but I don’t dwell on it.
The one area in which I do have regret has to do with writing. (There are some other regrets, but this is the primary one.) I’ve always enjoyed writing and always believed (erroneously, perhaps) I was good at it. Where I come up short is in the areas of discipline and determination. I don’t have the internal strength to make myself sit down and start writing.
Blog posts like this one and song lyrics, which I’ve written off and on for years, are different because they usually don’t take much time to complete. Even then, they aren’t something I can make myself sit down and do on a daily basis, even though I always have ideas running through my head.
All of this has me wondering how and why it is some people have the drive to attempt and succeed while others don’t. Where does that drive come from? How do parents instill that drive in their children? Can they do so or is there some genetic component we are not yet aware of? Why is it that success in school does not always equate with or lead to success in life? Then there is the more philosophical question of what actually constitutes success? I’m not sure I have an answer for that one.
I have reached a stage in life where my chances for advancement in the workplace (at least as an employee) rest somewhere between slim and none. As I draw ever nearer to retirement age, I shall hope to be more successful in the next stage of life.