a man sitting on a porch looking off into a sunset

Living with No Regrets

I accepted an invitation to interview for a maintenance manager position with the largest trucking company in the nation. The initial meeting was held in Gary, Indiana. The site manager and I walked around the complex and had an informal question and answer session. Satisfied with my responses he told me that he would arrange an interview in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

I was feeling good about the interview

The interview was a 5-part process. One hour with each of the top five department heads. The first three sessions went well. I answered the questions posed and had some inquiries of my own. By lunch, I was feeling pretty good about the possibilities for employment. My feelings took a dramatic turn into the darkness with the fourth manager. His questions were canned. Well, they were rehearsed but taken off of some list of interview questions written by a “professional.”

Asked about my greatest regret

“Tell me your greatest regret.” The question just hung there. Several seconds went by. I took a slow, deliberate sip from the bottle of water he had offered as we sat down. I really wanted this job, and I knew this was his go-to question. A question to elicit a heartfelt response that would give him some glimpse into the person before him. I had to make a split-second decision, and it was a big one. I decided to follow my self-commitment to an ideal. “I don’t have regrets.” It was at the moment that I knew I was not going to be receiving an offer. The man got visibly angry at my response. “EVERYONE has regrets, what is your biggest one?”

I don't have any regrets

He nearly bellowed the question. I sat there, resolute in my decision. “I don’t. I have made choices in my life, some better than others but I do not regret any of them. Combined, the decisions I have made have shaped my life, and I am in a good place.” His face was red. He was mad that I would not engage with the question. I tried to explain my reasoning, but he had stopped listening. I did not get the job and don’t regret my answer.

Choices I made played a role in developing bladder cancer

When I was diagnosed with bladder cancer, my urologist told me that seventy-five percent of bladder cancer is caused by smoking and the other twenty-five percent is caused by exposure to chemicals. I understand that I had a large part in my having cancer. I am not naive or delusional. I made decisions in my youth that have had huge impacts as I have aged. But I refuse to regret those decisions. I cannot change what has passed. I can only make the best of today.

I accept my choices

I was at the doctor last week. I have arthritis in my knees and back from years of standing on concrete. When the weather changes, I get sore and stiff, Doc gives me a prescription for an anti-inflammatory medication, and I wait for warmer weather. I have a multitude of scars and healed injuries from the decisions I made that did not go well. Truth told, I have beaten my body like a rented mule, and there is a price that will have to be paid for the life I have chosen. But it was and is my choice, and to regret any of it would be to shift the responsibility or deny the joy I have gotten living the life I choose. To allow regret would be to accept being a victim, and that is not an option I will choose.

Celebrating my life, joys, and sorrows

I take responsibility for the cost of my decisions because every decision has brought me to the place I am now, and that is a wonderful place. Had I made different decisions, I may well have ended up somewhere else and had a much different life. I will celebrate my life, joys, and sorrows. I will be as positive as I am able and I will not allow regret to rob me of my present joy. I will choose joy and happily pay the price for that choice.

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