“Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention . . .” – line from My Way, a wonderful song recorded famously by both Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley

When a person is asked what they would do differently if they had his or her life to live over, you often hear about regrets. You hear mainly about things they did not do.

My column a month ago addressed that thought from my personal perspective and it provoked some interesting responses, which I would like to share with you today.

For a journalist, it is easy to compile a long list about errors you made, stories you missed, editorial stands you wished you had not taken and stories you wished you should have written.

As a writer who started reporting for newspapers in 1963 (54 years ago!) the following hits home with me.

One of Wyoming’s most respected editors is Jim Hicks of Buffalo and he wrote me the following:

“In the area of my work as a journalist and editor I did have one major issue I’d give a lot to have another chance at.

  • “During the Vietnam war the son of a local family was killed. He had red hair and a big smile. I really liked this kid’s dad a lot! He asked me to go to lunch after that happened.

“His dad was Bill Skiles, an authentic Wyoming cowboy who worked as a brand inspector. He personified everything about western culture and cowboy way of life.

“Bill said bluntly that he wanted the USA out of there ASAP so no other family would lose their son to such a waste.

“At the time I was buying the ‘domino theory’ and still believed the all powerful USA could do no wrong or ever lose any kind of war.

“I sympathized with Bill Skiles, but failed to see the important local story he had brought to my feet. I wrote nothing about the loss he and his wife, Dorothy, were feeling. To this day my failure haunts me.

In Cheyenne, former Legislator Pete Illoway writes: “I would have liked to have been a better student. I coasted a lot and should have put my nose to the grindstone just a little bit more.

“I am not sure after college what might have intrigued me. I look back and maybe being an attorney or looked at engineering. I know that as I look back and know what I know now that would have or should have been where my emphasis should have been but had little guidance since none of my relatives went that way.”

In Sheridan, foundation director Patrick Henderson writes: “If I had my life over: I would tell those that I love how much I loved them every chance that I had. I especially regret that there are close friends and family that are now gone, and that I missed this golden moment.

“I truly regret that I missed this opportunity and wish that I could have this moment back in which to tell them. Part of it was life inexperience as a young person where you just assume that you will see people again. Part of it was that it seemed clunky and overly mushy to express that. I was so wrong. I take every opportunity now.

“Another thing that I would like a ‘do over’ in is forgiveness. I am more forgiving now than I was as a younger man. I have made many mistakes where I was given a mulligan when I didn’t deserve it. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

In Worland, attorney and author John Davis offered these thoughts: “Now, if I had my life to live over, I’d go to East Lansing, Michigan (Michigan State University) in September 1964 to do graduate work in mathematics instead of going to New Hampton, New Hampshire.

“The trip to New Hampton put me on a pathway to living my life as a lawyer. Not that I regret being a lawyer, but I’ve now done that, and I’d like to see how my life would have turned out had I decided to live it as a mathematician.”

Lander’s Judy Legerski shared this thought: “This is probably trite, but knowing what I know now and where I am now, I would have made a much more serious attempt to remain physically stronger – there are still difficult trails I want to follow.”

Bill Sniffin is a longtime Wyoming journalist from Lander who has written six books.

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