T. Z. :
Does anyone know the origin of this quote (or equiv)?

"When you look back on your life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did."
It must be much older than H. Jackson Brown, Jr.'s book "Life's Little Instruction Book" 1991.
Is it a variant of Tennyson?
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all. - from In Memoriam

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Martin Ambuhl:
[nq:1]Does anyone know the origin of this quote (or equiv)? "When you look back on your life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did."[/nq]
That is so pedestrian and unremarkable that it is hardly worth remembering. It certainly isn't worth keeping in a quotation file. It's the sort of tripe that should appear over Jack Handley's name.
[nq:1]It must be much older than H. Jackson Brown, Jr.'s book "Life's Little Instruction Book" 1991.[/nq]
Just the sort of tedious pseudo-philosophical tract I would expect such "deep thoughts" in.
If you ever reach total enlightenment while you're drinking a beer, I bet it makes beer shoot out your nose. Jack Handley
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Raymond S. Wise:
It's Jack Handey,* whose work is always interesting. If I were given the choice between reading something called *Life's Little Instruction Book* and a collection of *Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey, I'd pick the latter without hesitation.
For the spelling of his name, which is often misspelled on the Internet, see the following cover of a book of postcards based upon his work:

Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
E-mail: mplsray @ yahoo . com
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Dan Clore:
[nq:1]Does anyone know the origin of this quote (or equiv)? "When you look back on your life, you'll regret the ... of Tennyson? 'Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all. - from In Memoriam[/nq]
I don't know. But there's also:
"Father, what does regret mean?"
"Well, son, a funny thing about regret is, that it's always better to regret something you have done, than to regret something you haven't done. And by the way, if you see your mom this weekend, be sure and tell her 'Satan! Satan! Satan!'"

Butthole Surfers, "Sweat Loaf"

Dan Clore
My collected fiction, The Unspeakable and Others : Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
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Strange pleasures are known to him who flaunts the immarcescible purple of poetry before the color-blind. Clark Ashton Smith, "Epigrams and Apothegms"
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Ben Zimmer:
[nq:1]Does anyone know the origin of this quote (or equiv)? "When you look back on your life, you'll regret the ... the ones you did." It must be much older than H. Jackson Brown, Jr.'s book "Life's Little Instruction Book" 1991.[/nq]
Various websites attribute the following quote to the syndicated columnist Sydney J. Harris (1917-1986):
"Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable."
A search on the Newspaperarchive.com database finds that this quote did indeed appear in Harris' column on Jan. 8, 1951 (syndicated in the Daily Courier of Waterloo, Iowa).
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Martin Ambuhl:
[nq:1]Various websites attribute the following quote to the syndicated columnist Sydney J. Harris (1917-1986): "Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable."[/nq]
But did he ever write anything worth remembering? At least that's better than the "When you look back on your life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did" that the original poster asked about. As another Harris (1) said to A. J. Balfour, "All the faults of the age come from Christianity and journalism."
(1)known as Frank Harris, but really James Thomas Harris.
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Jess Askin:
[nq:2]Various websites attribute the following quote to the syndicated columnist ... for the things we did not do that is inconsolable."[/nq]
[nq:1]But did he ever write anything worth remembering? At least that's better than the "When you look back on your ... "All the faults of the age come from Christianity and journalism." (1)known as Frank Harris, but really James Thomas Harris.[/nq]
Or says he said. He was an infamous résumé padder.
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David Loftus:
[nq:2]But did he ever write anything worth remembering? At least ... journalism." (1)known as Frank Harris, but really James Thomas Harris.[/nq]
[nq:1]Or says he said. He was an infamous r=E9sum=E9 padder.[/nq]
Sydney J. Harris wrote a lot of lovely things. I especially liked his column about his "religion" something about being a Reformed Druid.
But about the original question on this thread, I also recall a rambling Ogden Nash poem about sins of omission and commission which addressed much the same notions. Probably would date from the 1950s or early 1960s.
David Loftus
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R H Draney:
Dan Clore filted:
[nq:2]Does anyone know the origin of this quote (or equiv)? ... never to have loved at all. - from In Memoriam[/nq]
[nq:1]I don't know. But there's also: "Father, what does regret mean?" "Well, son, a funny thing about regret is, that ... if you see your mom this weekend, be sure and tell her 'Satan! Satan! Satan!'" Butthole Surfers, "Sweat Loaf"[/nq]
"I'd rather be sorry for something I've done
Than for something that I didn't do."
Ray Price, "I'd Rather Be Sorry", also covered by Kris Kristofferson

One personal web page attributes this, literatum, to Dorothy Parker..r
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