Sometimes we’re so busy going through the motions of life, that we forget to actually live.
A palliative nurse who had counselled the dying in their last days revealed the most common regrets we have at the end of our lives (http://www.ariseindiaforum.org/nurse-reveals-the-top-5-regrets-people-make-on-their-deathbed/)
I don’t know about you guys but the first thing I thought when I heard about this was “ How can I avoid these?” How can I live a regret free life?”
Here are the five things people regret most on their deathbed
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
Ummmm…hello? If this doesn’t underscore the need to live a ‘Free To Be’ life, I’m not sure what does. I think the key word to look at here is “courage”. It takes courage to live the life you want. Its so easy to fall into a comfortable mundane life, and its extremely difficult to break free. I feel like there is this life plan that is laid out that we all think we have to fall in line with.
Go to school- Graduate- Get a Job- Get married- Have Kids- Work hard all the days of your life- Die
Well I think that life plan sucks. Don’t get me wrong if that sounds like your cup of tea, then by all means Enjoy! But the reality is so many of us don’t find happiness in a life like that. Or for whatever reason have difficulty following that path and we feel like outcasts.
So what makes you happy? What are you passionate about? What is the one life you want to make sure you do before you die?
I’m not sure I can even fully answer any of those questions. But I know one thing; I’m going to start exploring those questions. In the Art of Non-Conformity By Chris G, he uses a powerful analogy that has stuck with me.
This is what he said:
When you were a kid and wanted to do something your parents or teachers didn’t like, you may have heard the question, “If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you?”
The idea is that it’s not good to do something stupid, even if everyone else does it. The logic is think for yourself instead of following the crowd.
Then, you grow up and suddenly the tables are turned. People start expecting you to behave exactly as they do. If you don’t conform to their expectations, some of them get confused or even irritated.
Pretty funny to think about huh? The same logic used as a child is totally flipped on its head. Ignore those people jumping off the bridge. Make your own decisions. Live your own life.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
At some point, someone decided that life was all about making money. I know we’ve all heard Money doesn’t buy happiness. But why don’t we listen? Yes, working hard and making money is a very necessary part of life. I think issues arise when we make it our sole priority. If we’re always working, we’re most likely always missing out on the simple things in life. I don’t want to be old, retired, lots of money in the bank and devoid of enriching experiences in my life. I’d much rather enjoy my life along the way.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Theres that “courage” word again. In the words of Dr. Seuss. “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
I’m going to add family to this as well, because I think its equally important. In a globalized world that is overflowing with social media, its ironic how little true connections we have with people. Once again its so easy to get caught up in the motions of life, that we forget to maintain these essential relationships. I for one am more than guilty of this. It’s funny because I honestly am my most happy when I’m surrounded by my family or spending time with a good friend. So I’m not sure why don’t I make this more of a priority?
My father grew up in a small town on the small island of Grenada. He spent most of his childhood in a small house with one bedroom, which he shared with many other siblings and cousins. Majority of his friends were just a short walk away. He is still very close with all of them, despite living in different countries. I look at the deep connection my father has with his family and friends and I truly am envious. While they may not have been wealthy, they gained an invaluable assest; human connection.
Spending time with those we care about, checking in to see how our family is doing, Laughs on a Sunday morning with your siblings, or a phone call with a friend far away…thats time we’ll never regret.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
It’s funny to think of this…, ‘letting ourselves be happy. But happiness is a choice. It’s a matter of perspective. We can choose to be grateful for our life and what we have, or we can choose to resent the life we live. The power of your mind is greater than you can imagine. Harness your thoughts and have a positive mindset.