We are given one life (that we know of) to live to the fullest, yet in spite of that, many of us end up with a long list of regrets in our final moments. To bring attention to this, Bronnie Ware, a blogger, and palliative care worker shared some of the regrets her patients shared in their final moments.
After reading through these, I couldn’t help but think of all of the things I would regret on my deathbed if I were on it now. And, honestly, while it might sound a bit morbid, I highly suggest that you do the same. Most of us have so many goals that we still haven’t pursued, or dreams that we haven’t even made a single stride towards. We really do only get one life and while it may seem like you have all the time in the world, the truth is, none of us know how much time we have left. Here are the top 5 regrets people have on their deathbed, according to Bronnie.
1. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Too often, good things happen to us and instead of allowing ourselves to be happy, we immediately start working for something else. What happens is, that we are always chasing a new destination, never actually living or staying conscious of our current one. Eventually, after all of that chasing, if we never sat back and just enjoyed our lives, what was the purpose of all of the work? Bronnie says, “Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice.”
2. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Life gets busy: we have a career, a family, and many obligations. For some of us, this busy and chaotic lifestyle can get the best of us, leading us to let our friendships and other connections fall to the backburner. However, none of us lay down on our deathbeds saying, “I wish I had worked more,” but many people wish they had stayed in touch with their good friends.
3. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
Ware says that the majority of male patients she had said this. Because they had spent their lives at work, they had missed out on watching their kids grow up and spending time with their spouses. She says that women also said this, but since the majority of her patients were from a past generation, most of the men were the breadwinners.
4. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
When I read this one, my heart hurt a little. I think a lot of times, the older we get, the less authentic to ourselves we become. We become so concerned with fitting in, meeting expectations, and fitting into a mold of what a wife is, what a mother or father is, or what a worker is, that we forget who we are. Take some time to get to know yourself. Not as you wish to be, but who you actually are. And try to align with that person.
5. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
This is another one that I think a lot of people struggle with. Many of us grew up with parents telling us to “stop crying,” or to “stop being such a baby,” anytime we expressed an emotion we became afraid of our own emotions. Now, as adults, any time we feel something, we push it under and pretend like things are fine. In reality, when we feel an emotion or a feeling about something, we owe it to ourselves and those closest to us to let it out and communicate. It would save us so much heartache if we did.