I’m sure most of us with birthdays inching up to four score haven’t gotten this far in life without chalking up some regrets.
Did I pursue my early aspirations for an actor’s life? I didn’t – a reget. (See Theatre Dreams)
On our honeymoon we met a lovely couple from New Orleans who invited us to come stay with them for Mardi Gras. We didn’t, and over the years we lost touch – a regret.
And years ago other friends bought a plot of land in the Berkshires and urged us to buy the neighboring plot. We didn’t, another regret.
And when I finished grad school in the late 60s the Peace Corps was recruiting librarians to establish book collections in underdeveloped nations. Why didn’t I go? Big regret. (See Good Girl)
And then there was that fabulous four-story uptown brownstone we were invited to share, and regrettably said No.
And was I at Woodstock? No. (See What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?)
And the silent auction/fundraiser we went to with friends who won an all-expenses-paid trip to France and offered to share it with us, and we said Non. Mon Dieu, what were we thinking!
And back in college a big regret. My American Literature professor, the renown Walt Whitman scholar Gay Wilson Allen, urged me to declare myself an American civilization rather than a lit major. But I didn’t want to take all the history and political science courses required, so I declined, and of course later regretted the missed opportunity. In fact, as I remember, other than one American history class and a Western civ survey, I took no other college history courses and now have big gaps in my worldly knowledge.
Of course I have only myself to blame as since college I’ve taken many courses – some as a matriculated student on several study sabbaticals, and some adult ed courses, and some university courses I audited for fun.
But did I fill my glaring gaps with history or poli sci or world events courses? No. Instead I opted for music surveys and art history; cinema and poetry; the art of the short story; pottery; Shakespeare’s early plays, followed of course by Shakespeare’s later plays; a few writing workshops; feminist lit; French; a memoir writing class; African American lit; proofreading, classical and modern drama; and a few more literature courses. (See My Love Affair with James Joyce)
So it seems it’s my karma to learn about the ancient world from the novels of Robert Graves; and my Russian history from Tolstoy; and English manners and society from Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.
But I guess there are worse teachers.
Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!