“You want to be a pilot? Well, are you training to be a pilot? Are you studying to be one? Are you doing anything that is helping you to accomplish that dream? No? Well, then you’re just living a fantasy.”
Those were the words spoken at a high school graduation I attended on Friday night. I call myself a writer, but I was just asked by a friend over the weekend how my writing was going. We don’t see each other that often, since she lives out of town, but we both share a love of writing and a love of books. Apparently, she is, or I should say was, a reader of my blogs and she noticed I hadn’t written in a while, a month to be exact. “Well, you do have two boys. You’re hands are full,” she said eager to make me feel not guilty for not writing. She’s right, but being a mom is no excuse for not still finding some time for me.
Thursday I listened to a news report on Morley Safer. The veteran reporter, an original of CBS’ 60 Minutes had passed away. Being the dork that I am, and always have been, I love news programs and 60 Minutes is one of my favorites. I had recorded the special from the previous Sunday, which was a story on basically the life of Morley Safer. I listened to his news reports from Vietnam, how he had once occupied the same desk as Edward R. Murrow (whose reporting from WWII I would love to hear), and got a glimpse of his office at 60 Minutes. He still used an old typewriter and wrote stories in a manner of Hemingway. His words were melodic and could put you right into the scene. You could smell the surroundings just from the words he used.
Years and years ago, my dream was to be a journalist. I didn’t want to be on television. No offense to any of my former colleagues, but television reporting is too froo froo. The story seems to be lost in all of the graphics and commercialization of television. No, I wanted to be a newspaper reporter. My idols were Woodward and Bernstein. I wanted to be a writer, but for various reasons in my life (mostly immaturity and a lack of discipline)I never followed through with that dream, and now it is a regret.
Over the weekend, my husband and I also attended a memorial service for a former friend and teammate. We were told stories of our friend and how he followed his dreams, at times perhaps with the occasional regret, but he was doing what he loved. All of this has weighed heavily upon me and while I try to not have regrets, I worry about whether my boys may encounter this.
I go out of my way, sacrificing of myself, to make sure my boys experience everything. I want them to be able to do everything they want to do, so that one day they don’t wake up and say, “I regret not taking the time.”
For me, I regret not writing for my college newspaper. I regret not being more involved with the political parties at my school. I regret not taking the opportunity of a research assistant for a book (which has been published and without me) more seriously. I regret taking all of these opportunities for granted and thinking to myself, “no worries, Amy, another opportunity will come along.”
My boys are 4 & 2. Perhaps they are too young for me to worry about taking things for granted. Perhaps they won’t be like me and just assume that everything will be there tomorrow. I don’t regret being their mother. My life may not have been the way I had originally imagined it to be, but it is an exceptional life and not a fantasy.
I may have missed my chance to be the next great journalist or writer. I may have forfeited an opportunity to write briefs for the State Department, but I have new opportunities presenting themselves daily.
We all have regrets. Morley Safer said he felt guilty for being gone months on end on assignment while his daughter grew up. He stopped short of saying he regretted what he had done. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to be at home with my children as they grow. I now just need to find a way to still carve out time for me and not beating myself up for what I perceive to be my shortcomings and failures. They’re all superficial and callous, but they are what make me who I am and there is still a strong sense of determination to at least make my children not experience their regrets to the level I still do