Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Regrets of the Dying

The link to an article showed up on Facebook yesterday; the title intrigued me, and I found it well worth reading:  "Top Five Regrets of the Dying" by Bonnie Ware.  It's such an excellent read, I'm going to copy and paste it here, knowing that many people won't just click on the link and go read it.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way.

From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship.
Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends 
until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier
This is a surprisingly common one.

Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice.
They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

That article is a good one. Something I do truly believe we all choose how we feel and thankfully I'm mostly happy.

Sonya said...

Makes me feel better some if the things I am doing. I feel Luke the odd man out sometimes fighting for my vacation and time at home. A lot of times I do what makes me happy and feel guilty thinking I'm selfish but maybe not so.

Sonya said...

Sorry for mispellings. Im on phone and it changes my words and I can't see good either. LOL


On my ScooterLadyRidesAgain Blog I put up a little sign that says, "It is NEVER too late to be what we MIGHT have been." I feel very strongly about that. Living with regrets shouldn't be an option.

Anonymous said...

Donna, great post. Karen

Amy said...

I'm (hopefully) not at the end of my life, but I recognize 1 and 3 like we were old buddies.

such is life, I guess.

Donna said...

Wow, thank you for sharing. I'll take these 5 to heart!