Birthdays make you reflect on life. At least that is the case for me. For most of my adult life, I never expected to live until I was 60, let alone 71. Now I have reached that age, I wonder if I will see 80. But I very much doubt that.


Well, I was a smoker for over 40 years. And a hardened smoker. Strong cigarettes, up to two packs a day. I gave up in 2012, but that was almost certainly too late to do much good.

I worked shifts in stressful jobs. Irregular hours, bad diet, difficult jobs that required putting yourself second.

Since I turned 30, I have liked to drink. Mostly red wine, but at one time, a lot of red wine. I might be down to one glass a day now, but the damage has undoubtedly been done, as it was with the cigarettes.

Two divorces, the loss of savings and equity, the emotional carnage that comes with broken marriages. Starting again from scratch. More stress.

So it is March 2023, and a time for reflection.

Would I have changed anything? If I went back in a time machine, would I do it all differently?


I enjoyed every cigarette I ever smoked. I knew they were bad for me, but I didn’t care.

I enjoyed every glass of wine that I ever drank. I knew it wasn’t that good for me, but I didn’t care.

I enjoyed those stressful jobs. They did some good for society, and made me think I was making a difference.

The divorces had to happen. The marriages could not have endured.

Whatever finally does for me, it will have been my decision.

And there will be no blame, no regrets.

69 thoughts on “Regrets?

  1. I like your attitude Pete, I too have done things that weren’t in my best interest, but if I had to do it all over again, there are a few things I would do differently. I try and not harbor resentments or regrets, it is what it is. I’m really happy today, and like all of us, I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes. This was a lovely musing, made me feel like I’m not alone in my misjudgments and mistakes. Hugs, C

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good attitude, Pete. What would be the point in any case. We never know how things would have turned up if we had done something different. I never smoked and I have never been an alcohol drinker. I don’t regret that either, but let’s say they weren’t always popular choices. Regrets can eat you alive. Keep living and I hope it will be for many years to come, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You have lived fully, that’s the truth of it, and sharpened your mind after every experience, and share your wisdom with us now. I wish we could all have been spared emotional carnage, but let’s never regret a glass or two of red wine. Love and best wishes to you, Julie and Ollie xx

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  4. I have always thought regrets were a waste of time unless they have a chance to change the here and now. The ones you mention are in the past where they must remain. In the here and now your life has a loving family, a great dog and a world wide readership. You don’t need to change a thing.

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  5. What a change to hear someone say they enjoyed the smoking and the wine, when we only hear of them as something nasty. I never smoked, but I envied people who after a stressful morning, day etc would light up that first cigarette with an expression of total relaxation and pleasure, while the rest of us had no instant stress cure! I have also realised that fruit flavoured steam wafting around is no replacement for that wonderful scent of a newly lit cigarette, which I now miss, despite being delighted with indoor public places being smoke free!

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    1. When they banned smoking inside pubs, we used to stand outside when having a drink after work. One of my female colleagues had never smoked, but always stood with us. I asked her why and she said, “‘Cause all the cool people are outside smoking”. That made me laugh at the time.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Same as you Pete I have no regrets, decisions made at a specific time reacting to specific situations hind site is nice but we should never regret (unless it’s murder).
    Live long and prosper (where have I heard that before)
    And to Gavin, Happy Birthday

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Like you Pete I’ve worked shift work most of my life, but in a less stressful environment. You get to that time in your life when death, instead of being an abstract concept, becomes something very real. This year three people I know have died, it’s getting closer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have lost 5 friends and relatives in the past 4 years. I am now the oldest remaining male member of my extended family, so the Grim Reaper is looking over my shoulder. 😦
      Best wishes, Pete.


  8. Pete I just reading this now as I have just turned 70 (20th now here in NZ). I flew up to North Island in the weekend & had a birthday lunch with a large group including my boys. I am back in Christchurch now & having another lunch today with my South Island friends & a rellie. I will give the same thank you talk today as i did yesterday.
    “How the heck I have made it to 70 I will never know, most don’t, but its with the help of many genuine friends, as my family ignored me. I got out of situations that were affecting me like the ambulance service & a marriage. Life for me was a rollercoaster & a blast & I have NO REGRETS”.
    We’re all in this together Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Having had little or no regrets in life is all one can ever hope for. I have some small “do over preferences” here and there in looking back.. but in the end we are who we are and our experiences are simply that.. our experiences. Much like a couple respondents here, I have never smoked or drank, but I have tended to lead a sedentary lifestyle hence I’ve acquired Type II along the way and do that dietary balancing act. I had a bought with skin cancer that I can’t blame on some experience in the military, and seems I’ve past that (for now). So here’s some better news, old buddy…. we are all members of the genetic crap shoot. My dad died at the age of 56, having been an avid smoker all his life, he was always thin in stature, yet had high cholesterol, which ended up giving him an infarction. Fortunately I was adopted and not part of his gene pool. Mother died at 70 of lung cancer given she loved smoking unfiltered Camels.
    My SO’s parents both smoked and they died in their 80’s.
    So.. I’d not count yourself out of the game just yet based on your “unhealthy” preferences. Your gene pool you are swimming in seems to be working. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. There you go – you’ve said it all, Pete. You’ve lived your life your way, as we all have to do. I’ve never smoked at all or drank much alcohol, but I still ended up with cancer. Okay, it’s gone, but hey, we all die of something when our time is up.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. My parents were both heavy smokers. Mum was 87 when she died not from smoke-related illness. Dad was 93 when he died of esophageal cancer. Neither of them paid much attention to diet, o exercise. Mum worked hard all her life and I think she had a lot of stress. Anyway, the point is nothing is for certain. I hope that you stay healthy for many more years. Regrets are pointless, aren’t they/

    Liked by 1 person

  12. If you stopped smoking when you said you did, then science tells us that by now your lungs should be back in almost as good shape as if you had never smoked at all — so I guess I will see you for the next 49 years at least. I hope so, anyway because you are one cool dude … to say the least.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. If you haven’t really done something bad, then you don’t have to regret it either. Everything was right in its time.
    And yes, that’s the way it is, as you get older you think about your own end.
    You can only try to enjoy every day.
    I wish you many more happy years.

    Liked by 1 person

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