Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Regret

With Doc on the shelf, I guess I’ll pick up the torch today. I have often said I don’t have any regrets from my life thus far. Are there some things I wish had gone differently, definitely. The experiences I’ve had make me who I am today and I have so much to be thankful for that I can’t say I’d want things differently. However, as some of you know, my father passed away late last year. It has caused me to reflect on things that I hadn’t given much thought to over the years. And, it turns out that I do have regret.

For the past few years, I have really second guessed my decision to not join the military. Growing up, I always believed that I’d be a Marine like my father. But as I went through and graduated from college, that became less of an option for me personally. I had become lazy and wanted to take the easy/have fun road instead. When people ask, “Why didn’t you go into the service (like your father)?” I usually respond jokingly with, “I served my 18 years.” In truth, I was selfish and made excuses for not signing up. Excuse number 1: My wife’s father was also a Marine, but her military childhood was not as memorable as mine. I rationalized that if I chose to enter the Corps, she may not stay with me (we were still dating when I graduated). I have come to realize it was not the service, but the man that made it that way. He took off when she was 16, leaving a wife with 4 daughters behind. Excuse number 2: I only wanted to be a pilot and the services were only taking engineering graduates, not business administration grads into aviation training. It was the same when my Dad went in, but he got in and was an incredible pilot…with a sports education degree from Carson-Newman. He did a lot of studying to make up for his lack of engineering/science knowledge the other students had already. He made his childhood dream a reality, never having stepped foot in a plane before his first training flight.

Tied to this regret is the fact that I always told Dad that one day I’d at least get my private pilot’s license so we could fly around together. I always made excuses for not getting this done, as well.

This all came to a head this morning as my mother gave me Dad’s ’03 Tahoe. It still has the Marine Corp license plate (which I have to give to her when I get a regular FL plate) and a few flight wing markings. These are things I must take off because I haven’t earned them.

Regret, it really sucks. My goal from this point on is to never have to look back and have anything else added to this list.

6 comments:

Doc said...

Regrets like these are a personal thing and I understand how you can have them. On the other hand as we have talked about before I can guarantee that your father was (and still would be) extremely proud of the son, husband, father, and friend that you have become in your life.
Love you Brother.

The Mountain Cat said...

AbGat, The fact that you are at least are cognizant of these feelings are good enough for your dad. He'd be proud of you either way. -TMC.

The AbsolutGator said...

He and I talked about it a few years ago at the last Gator game he and I went to. He paid me what I believe to be the highest compliment I've ever received. He said he believed I would have made an excellent officer in the Marine Corps. This coming from a man that I personally heard tell others in the family considering the Marines to think of another branch to go into because they weren't cut out for the Corps.

Doc and MtCat, I appreciate the kind words on a tough day.
Love you guys.

Disaster Chick said...

It is always tough to lose a parent. At least you don't have the regrets of I wish I would have been a better son, I wish I would have spent more time with him, and I wish I would have known him better. Your regrets were lifestyle decisions you made at the time. Different decisions would have put you elsewhere - and you probably are where you are meant to be.

Candice said...

Ditto what Mountain Cat said.

Regret sucks though. I think we all have some, regardless if we want to admit it or not.

rxBambi said...

Ironic that just today I was talking about my dad (who died 5 years ago this month) and the fact that he was a pilot. The man I was talking to asked if any of us ever got the flying bug. I briefly thought about it when I was 19 or 20, but Dad wouldn't pay for it and at that point I certainly didn't want to spend my drinking money on flying lessons! Needless to say, I regret that I never got to fly him around. But honestly, other than not being in the cockpit with him, I don't miss NOT having my license. It's mainly the thought that we would have had something in common that my sisters wouldn't have.
I agree with what the others said tho, I'm sure he'd be proud of the man you've become.