by Gregory HarrisJune, 2001
As he approached the age of 40, Joe Kita did what many men his age have done: took stock of his life. Despite his successful career as a writer for Men's Health magazine and a wonderful marriage, Kita realized that he had regrets. So far his story sounds familiar, but then the author took the unusual step of setting out to rectify his life's regrets. He shares the story of that quest in Another Shot.
Inspired by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, who said he would have regretted not starting the company more than if he had tried and failed, Kita reviewed his own life, identified the things he'd most regret in another 40 years and set out to do something about them. The efforts Kita chronicles in his book make inspiring and thought-provoking reading. He hunts down his first car, the one he wished he hadn't sold, attempts to regain his sexual vigor and tries to mend fences with his mother. Although not always fully successful, Kita's yearlong quest to relive his life provides many valuable lessons for people at any stage of their lives. One of the book's most touching vignettes concerns Kita's relationship with his father. Although Kita refers to his father's love, warmth and wisdom throughout Another Shot, he reveals his regret that his father died before he could tell him how much that love meant to him. His quest to ease that regret brought Kita to a clairvoyant who had a reputation for contacting spirits of the departed. The medium helpfully provided Kita with an audiotape of the session. Kita revisited it several times with his family, who agreed that the medium either had some connection to his father or was an incredibly lucky, if not fully accurate, guesser. The emotions Kita conveys from his regret at his father's sudden death to the awe at possibly contacting him are among the book's most powerful. Significantly, Kita is not always able to turn his regrets around, but invariably the effort is rewarding. Indeed, Kita's occasional failures are nearly as inspiring as his successes. Even when he doesn't achieve his goal, he is enriched by the experience. And this lesson functions both as an example and a caution sometimes you can change things about your life, and sometimes an opportunity comes only once. Readers should seize the opportunity to read Another Shot and take its lessons to heart.
Gregory Harris is a writer and editor living in Indianapolis.