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.

An Alphabet Of My Life: R


When you reach the milestone of 70, you must surely have a few regrets? I know I do.

I would have liked to have been better prepared for my first marriage, that’s for sure.

It would have been nice if my second marriage had worked out better too. But it didn’t, so hey-ho.

As much as I enjoyed my long service as an EMT, I wish that I had gone into that job years earlier, when I was 21. I seem to have wasted a lot of time on pointless, unrewarding jobs before deciding to do something useful. But I did earn a great deal of money during that time, so perhaps any regrets are tempered by that fact.

There is no point regretting not visiting America, or many of the other countries I never got to see. I could have gone to those but chose different places instead, when I had the time and money to do that. So, no regrets where that is concerned.

For all of my life, I have tried to be kind, and to do the right thing. But I do regret times when I could have tried harder to do that, in certain situations.

There are many things I do not regret.

Not having any children
Marrying for the third time.
Moving from London to Beetley.
Getting Ollie.
Leaving my EMT job for a role in the police.
Never contacting my dad after he left the family home, and refusing to go to see him when he was dying.
Starting a blog.

On balance, I think the non-regrets outweigh the real regrets. So I am ticking that box as a win!

There are times…

Are there times when you wish that you had done something different? Or times when you regret doing something that has affected you ever since? I know that both apply to me. I wonder if this will provoke thoughts or feelings in some readers? If so, please add your own examples in the comments.

There are times…when I wish that I had gone to university. I have no way of knowing if that would have made my life turn out any differently to what it is now. But I could have gone, and at the time it would have been free of charge too. I should have gone, and perhaps studied one of my passions.

There are times…when I wonder what it might have been like to have had children. Not that it is something I have ever regretted, I assure you. But I have wondered.

There are times...when I regret not going to live abroad, when I had the chance. If only for a while, as it might have been something good to look back on now, and would have undoubtedly broadened my horizons at a fertile time for my mind.

There are times…when I wish I had waited to get married, (the first time) as who knows how my life might have been different had I not spent eight years with someone who almost certainly regretted her decision.

There are times…when I miss London. After spending sixty years there, that’s understandable. But fortunately, it soon passes.

There are times…when I feel I should make more effort to keep in touch with my oldest friends. We are all getting on now, and none of us know how long we will be around.

There are times…when I wish I had developed more practical skills. I have grown up not equipped to do so many basic things, and now have to pay others to do them for me. It’s all very well being able to read Jean-Paul Sartre in French, but that wont help you fix a problem with the plumbing.

There are times...when I wish I was more organised. Surrounded by piles of paperwork, never knowing where anything is, and constantly looking for things I have lost can all become very tiring, believe me.

So there are just a few of my ‘times’. Over to you.