This pops up on my Facebook feed now and then. I have no idea if it is a real nurse that has written it, if they are real comments, or if there is some other agenda going on. But whenever I see it, it always strikes me as a pretty good way to live your life. On this special day of the year, when perhaps we may be reflecting on things generally, might be worth thinking about the principles expressed.
Nurse reveals top 5 regrets people have on their death bed. When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
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 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.
Many of us, women can be especially prone, have a tendency to put the needs of others before our own. It can easily become a habit. I’m not saying we all need to run off and live a life free of care in Goa. What I am suggesting is that our own needs are on a par with everybody else’s. No need to be selfish, no need to be a martyr
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.
I have certainly been well and truly on the corporate treadmill in my time. It took a long time for me to realise, as Sue says on her blog, the most important stuff in life isn’t stuff.
We commute to work on an expensive ticket or in a car, wearing clothes we bought to go to work in, to a job we in all likelihood don’t like in order to pay for the clothes we bought and the cost of commuting. If you can simplify your life, you may well find your desires are simplified too and you may not need to earn as much. First world worries I know.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.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.
To express want we want in an adult manner is one of the most difficult things a grown up is required to do, and many never manage it. If you can get yourself to that point, you won’t always get what you want, but you’ll get a whole lot more than you would have got otherwise. And be happier for it. And strangely, because you are more authentic, so will the people be around you. When I can manage to do this, even if I don’t end up with what I was after, I usually feel better than if I had tried another, more game playing type way
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.
I so agree with this. The older I get, the more love and relationships come into focus and ‘stuff’ recedes.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise 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.
This is one I have definitely struggled with. Tough times leave their mark and I spent a long time being overly serious, driven and responsible. I have made some lovely friends since moving to Heathfield. I meet up often with various groups of them and we laugh and giggle, which is my very favourite occupation. Second only to people watching. Friends are truly truly life enhancing. Friends are people who like you for yourself, not because you are family, and they have to. You have chosen these people because you like them. Cherish these people and treat them well.
I find these 5 ‘regrets’, real or not, thought provoking. Would you have these as your top ones, if not, which ones would be on your list? If you were at the end of your life, what regrets do you think you may have? If you can identify a few, what power you now have, the time and opportunity to change some or all of them.
Let’s talk some more come the New Year, and time to make Resolutions.
In the meantime, Happy Christmas to you and yours. I am having a complete ball, I hope you are too. I’m seeing many members of my family, eating, talking and laughing with them. And I would like to send this special message to them. I love you, I cherish you, you are special to me. You know who you are xxx