Regrets, “If I’d only...”

I was in my early teen years visiting my grandfather on his farm in Western Kentucky. Sitting in a chair under an old oak tree by the driveway, I listened as he spoke. 

My grandfather was talking to a man who had stopped by. More than once during the conversation I heard my grandfather say, “If only I’d….” I was old enough to realize what he was saying. He had regrets and wished he could have a do over in a few areas of his past. I think all of us have wished the same at times.

As a young teenager, with all wisdom and knowledge, I told my self I was not going to live with regrets. So, here I sit in the latter years of midlife typing my confession of sorts. My two kids are grown, married, and have given my lovely wife and me two wonderful little granddaughters still in diapers. Life is good. Do I have regrets? Do you seriously have to ask that question? Where do you want me to begin? 

I will not tire you with even a short list, but I venture to say that regardless of your age, you have regrets as well. Just the mention of the subject can be painful, but I want to offer a different perspective now that I am a grandfather. Regrets are a part of life! They are like the old farmer who rips open the hardened soil and plants seeds, that sometime later produces a harvest of wisdom.  

Yes, sometimes a bad seed finds its way into the soil, and we can scratch our head bald trying to answer the why questions and never find wisdom that was or was not birthed as a result. We may never know. But, many of life’s regrets have weaved their way into a tapestry of wisdom as we age. If my theory is correct, the older we get the greater the opportunity we have we have to gain wisdom. The Bible says that the grey head is a crown of wisdom. So, I embrace the wisdom I have learned and have little interest in a do over.

Stan Means
Elder Source Senior Ministries

Picture taken from I looked for the picture after writing the blog. Interestingly, I found an article on regrets.