My first thought on this topic was that it was quite overwhelming. Thinking at first blush that there were many things I would like to do over. But after a closer and certainly cursory look back on my life I was taken with how many things I would not want to do over. I think back very fondly on most of my childhood growing up on a small family farm and feeling most of the time quite safe with great parents.
Oh I suppose some of the Catholicism that truly permeated so many facets of our lives was in hindsight very toxic. Though others may disagree I do think I escaped the whole Catholic-trip largely unscathed. This was especially true in my high school years in no small part due to the influence of two teachers. One showed me the truth of questioning authority especially around matters of politics and how it shaded in biased fashion very important matters of war and peace. The other mentor gently taught me that fucking around with other boys was really all that it was cracked up to be.
My many years in several different colleges were also on the whole good experiences. For the most part I was quite a lazy student but did eventually land myself in nursing school. That resulted in over four decades of various types of nursing that proved to be very satisfying and hopefully helpful to all the patients I ran into and cared for, many of who were great teachers for me.
One area I might certainly benefit from would be to have learned a second or maybe even a third language. As I careen into my dotage I find it more and more difficult to communicate well in English my native and only tongue. So if you are doubting that my communications skills are waning just go back and re-read the first couple paragraphs of this piece. At this stage being bilingual would probably just mean I am forgetting words in two languages.
I certainly would stick with the LGBT activism I have been involved with especially since the mid-1970”s. If not for that I would probably not be sitting in this room with you all right now.
The two areas I do feel I could have done more in are animal rights beyond just cats and dogs and around climate change. Going forward though I see these concerns as becoming more urgent by the day. Still dealing with remnants of Catholic brainwashing I do feel guilt around the terrible mess we are leaving younger generations when it comes to the health of the planet.
I do feel a strong need to confront the bullshit around the cause of climate destruction being an issue with two sides to the debate. It is human activity end of story and not some cyclical warming and cooling over the ages or solar flares that is the root of it.
The absurd reality of the climate debates was brought home to me very clearly with the following bit from a Facebook page called “Dark Matters- Science and Skepticism”:
“Next up we will discuss the topic with someone whose job it is to be a well researched and respected expert in the area. And in the interest of balance we will also talk to an idiot”.