Monday, May 07, 2012

On the top 5 regrets of the dying

When doing my media round-up this morning, I came across this piece in the Toronto Star discussing things to know before you die. It sounds morbid, but it's not. Instead, I found it to be inspiring. With thoughts from big names in various industries, it makes for a quick, easy read. 

But it was the first paragraph that captured my attention. Australian palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware collected the thoughts of her dying patients and shared their wisdom and life lessons in a blog called Inspiration and Chai and then in a book entitled The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying.

Here's an excerpt, from the article, with Ware's comments:

“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. 
“I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.” 
-This came from every male patient I nursed. 
“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. 
“I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.” 
-Many had been so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. 
“I wish that I had let myself be happier.” 
-Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice.
Bonnie goes into more detail for each of these top five regrets on her blog's Regrets of the Dying page. It's worth reading, and a good reminder that the goal of life doesn't have to be to make tons of money and live in a huge mansion full of stuff. Indeed, life's goal might just be happiness and success that comes from within.

I look forward to picking up Bonnie's book and being inspired by the wisdom of those who have led long lives and discovered the things that matter the most.