Be honest. How many times have you said, “Someday, I will…”? How many incomplete projects do you have lying around? How many ideas fill your head but never see the light of day?
What about promises you made to yourself to take better care of yourself? Perhaps to relax more and take time off for good behavior? Or the vow to connect with your friends or family more?
Now ask yourself, “How many regrets will I have at the end of my life? Perhaps there will be the regret of not forgiving someone or yourself for a hurt you’ve experienced or caused. Or the regret of not learning how to hang glide.
Bonnie Ware, an Australian nurse worked in palliative care taking care of patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. According to Ware, many of us leave this world wishing we’d done things differently – not by working harder or making more money.
She is the author of The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. I’ve listed them below.
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Regarding #5 Ware says…
“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 themselves that they were content, when deep within they longed to laugh and have silliness in their life again.”
Thank you Bonnie Ware and to those beautiful souls who have reminded us that life is short, unpredictable and precious. It’s up to us to find the courage to change old patterns, stop people pleasing, honor our friendships and express ourselves honestly.
It’s up to us to find joy in everyday living. So go for it. You are the director of your life. Each day is a new beginning. An opportunity to ensure that you have no regrets at the end.