WHAT I DIDN’T DO – Marilyn Armstrong

I don’t regret the things I didn’t do, but I do wonder how the world would have turned had I done them.

There was the offer to join a group I think maybe I should have joined. I failed to fight an unfair judgment.

There were battles I didn’t fight and the roads I chose not to walk. The art I wanted and didn’t buy because of money when that money would mean nothing now. The friend who I couldn’t help at that moment. Could she wait a week or two until I got the baby settled? She couldn’t, didn’t, and I’ll never know if I might have made the difference.

Another friend pointed out that I had once said Anna was the kind of person who never seemed fully engaged in life. He was not surprised she jumped. I was surprised. To this day, more than 50-years later, I remain surprised.

The time when a later-to-be-famous spiritual leader invited me to join him and I (7-months pregnant) didn’t see that as a direction in which I could go. Not right then and there. I said no.

I also didn’t change schools and go to Boston but stayed in New York. What about the men to whom I said no, didn’t date, didn’t marry. Or for that matter, the men to whom I said yes to whom I probably should have said no.

That I didn’t go to Israel when I was 18 and instead, waited until I was 30.

Choices. So many. Often jumbled together into a short period of time, usually when I felt unable to make major changes. Was that a sign? Or was I merely over-cautious?

Life is choices, isn’t it?

When you say yes to one thing, you are inherently saying no to another. There’s no single “other” path to follow. We have an infinite number of paths on which we could walk. Each path will take you somewhere different and maybe that would have been a good place to be. Or possibly not.

Who knows whether the choices I made were the correct or only choice? Maybe any choice would have been right? Maybe I’d have ended in the same place regardless of which path I picked.

Do we end up where we need to be? Is this where I am supposed to be?

I know where I am is good and am content to be here. Overall, I think I’ve been remarkably lucky.

23 thoughts on “WHAT I DIDN’T DO – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. I always thought it would be fascinating if you could go back to a crossroads you were once at or a big decision you once made and see what would have happened had you chosen a different path or made a different decision. But maybe, as I think about it, that might not be such a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I absolutely agree that there are no “right” choices in life, and many of our regrets would just end up as different regrets had we altered course. Someone I work with had a life-changingly bad motorcycle accident on Labor Day weekend 35 years ago, and he always regrets that he didn’t go on the float trip he had been invited on that same weekend. I told him he may very well have drowned had he gone…. you never know. Some of our most regretted options not taken may have led to even worse disaster…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We ended up poor. But that was because Garry got laid off short of “full vesting.” Had he gotten laid off 6 months later, the market would have crashed and the 401 K would have been gone (it wasn’t all that big anyway) and we would STILL have been poor. We were destined for scraping along.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I frequently wonder how much of our lives IS destiny and how much our choices make a difference. I “chose” music and social science as my college major, but I still ended up doing what I always wanted to do — write. I would be a writer. I think I could have studied anything and still ended up a writer.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. There are things in life Ishould have done. I might have been better off financially if I had but I have been happy. Nobody gets away without some bad stuff happening to them. You can’t avoid loss of loved ones for example but I feel like I have been very lucky on the whole.


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