Thursday Thoughts: Regrets

You may have heard this song so eloquently sung by Frank Sinatra, one that has been resonating with me these last few weeks.

I’ve lived a life that’s full.
I traveled each and every highway.
And more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

Yes, I did. No doubt about that.

For a little girl growing up in the 1940s and ’50s, I was pretty nervy and daring. I fought the “rules” for little girls, and I dreamed big, although it took me about 25 years to begin to live a life so different than I’d ever even imagined. Early programming was hard to let go of!

I’ve had a few.
But then again, too few to mention.
I did what I had to do,
And fought it through without exemption.

True, at least for my early years. We can’t know what we don’t know, and there was just so much I hadn’t ever known about! So yeah. I goofed sometimes, but as I look back, I can understand most of it. So, I just have a few real regrets.

But I actually do have one now, due to a situation that I probably didn’t manage as smartly as I might have.

I didn’t act purely on emotion, although that surely played a part.

I didn’t act too quickly; I carefully spent a few weeks mulling things over, hoping there’d be a way to keep on going. But for me, the final straw just made moving on necessary.

So what are my regrets?

That I didn’t see any other way out … that I didn’t see what else to do that I hadn’t already tried … that I had felt compelled to act as I did.

Yes, there were times I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew.
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I ate it up and spit it out.
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way.

So, how did that work out for me?

Did I “bite off more than I could chew”? I hadn’t thought so, but there was a learning curve that was a little different from what I had thought it would be. But all in all, I think I did pretty well.

But did “doing it my way” give me the results I hoped for?


Not at all.

Not this time.

Do I wish I could turn back the clock on this? Yes.

The lesson here for me: Yes, age came along with wisdom, thank goodness, but not 100%! I can still make mistakes, I can still lose my way … and I guess I can still find ways to continue on, even on a different path than I’d hoped for.

How about YOU, friends?

How do you see your life in the past and/or now? What lessons have you learned that we could all benefit from knowing? Any regrets?

Hear the full Frank Sinatra song here:


Susan Rooks
Susan Rooks
With nearly 30 years’ experience as an international workshop leader, Susan Rooks is uniquely positioned to help people master the communication skills they need to succeed. In 1995, Susan formed Grammar Goddess Communication, creating and leading workshops in three main areas – American grammar, business writing, and interpersonal skills – to help business pros enhance their communication skills. She also leads one-hour LinkedIn workshops (Master the LinkedIn Profile Basics) via Zoom to help business pros anywhere maximize their LinkedIn experience, offering it to Chambers of Commerce and other civic organizations free of charge. As an editor, Susan has worked on business blogs, award-winning children’s books, best-selling business books, website content, and even corporate annual reports (with clients from half a dozen countries), ensuring that all material is professionally presented. In April 2022, Susan became the Managing Editor of the Florida Specifier, a bi-monthly trade publication covering Florida’s diverse environmental industry. And although the focus is on Florida’s issues, many of these same challenges are found elsewhere around the world, so the readership isn’t limited to just Floridians or those interested in that state. But in all these endeavors, Susan’s only goal is to help everyone look and sound as smart as they are.

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  1. Susan —
    Life is like bowling: sometimes you get a strike; sometimes you pick up a spare; and sometimes you leave pins standing.

    Regrets? Two big ones where I certainly left pins standing. But then, it’s always interesting to look at what happened because I took one road and not another. Spares!

    We’re certainly not alone. Sitting comfortably in the top 5 of most popular episodes of my podcast — 5 years running — is this one: Being Curious to Avoid a Big Regret. That tells us something.

    A fine piece of thought-provoking writing, btw.

  2. Your post calls back another artist, Helen Reddy, and the words
    “Yes, I am wise
    But it is wisdom for the pain.
    Yes, I paid a price,
    But look how much I gained.”

    Regrets often circle around A, the pain and price, without taking into consideration B, the wisdom and gain. Or we are writing “alternative history” in our minds, not knowing how what we did – and not regret – had positive ramifications down the line and out of our sight.

    The Midnight Library is – although totally fiction – a sweet reminder that most doings and omissions don’t just have first order consequences.

    • As a little kid, doing it “my way” wasn’t really allowed; I fought the system in the 1950s and lost most of the time.

      Thank heaven I have been able to grow up and yes — do a lot of things my way, even if it didn’t always work out. But lessons learned have stood me in good stead.

      Thanks so much for your comment, Ken!

  3. Dear Susan Rooks, Thank you – I enjoyed reading your wonderfully presented post.

    Beautiful sentimental music – one of my good old favorites – I guess we belong to the same age group 

    I would love to respond to your closing question: How do you see your life in the past and/or now? What lessons have you learned that we could all benefit from knowing? Any regrets?

    Looking back, I feel I have lived a rather ‘full life”.. at 20 I left home to study abroad, little knowing that it would literally lead me to “millions of opportunities” to share, grow, share more, get motivated, get enthusiastic, get inspired – share more – be given responsibilities I had not even dreamed of – share more, create possibilities and convert them into opportunities and helping others achieve more than what they could ever dream of… yes…I was fortunate, privileged and truly blessed.

    Regrets – yes a few…. I wish I had done more at any given point in time… perhaps procrastination was my biggest sin… BUT I have learned from the mistakes of my past and believe that I am now more effective, positive and proactive, living one day at a time and believing that if I have given today my best shot, then I don’t need to worry about tomorrow.“Tomorrow will take care of itself because my actions from today will have prepared me for tomorrow’s challenges, regardless of what they may be.”

    I recognize that my needs, responsibilities and priorities have changed between past and present, working as Smart as possible rather than as Hard as possible.

    I have learned to be present in all things and thankful for all things. Yes, I have been and still am truly blessed.

    Thank you for allowing me to reflect.

    “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” Eleanor Roosevelt