Have you heard of this? An Australian nurse, Bronnie Ware, recorded the top five regrets people had during the last 12 weeks of their life.
She actually recorded their final wishes and found that some of the same thoughts kept coming up over and over again. When I read this study, it really made an impact on me. So much of an impact that I’d like to share it with you. After each wish, I’ve shared some of my thoughts:
- I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. It’s natural to want the people we love to be proud of us, but sometimes we lose ourselves in the process. Take a minute and ask yourself what makes you happy. What brings a smile to your face? Then go after it with a vengeance. Make sure you are one of the people you are trying to make happy.
- I wish I didn’t work so hard. How many times have you heard the phrase: no one writes on their tombstone that they wish they spent more time at the office? Try every day to balance your personal and professional life. Some days it will work, and on those days when it doesn’t, get up the next morning and try again.
- I wish I had the courage to express my feelings. Sometimes we learn to keep anger and sadness to ourselves. We bury any thoughts that are difficult or scary. Although it may be hard to do, try to be honest with others and especially yourself.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. In this day of Facebook and instant everything, it’s easier than ever to reconnect and stay in touch with friends. Then life gets in the way – responsibilities at work, with our family, and overall stress creeps into our pours. So how do we find the time to stay in touch with friends? One call at a time, one email at a time, one text at a time. Just to let them know you are thinking of them.
- I wish I had let myself be happier. This last one breaks my heart. How sad it must be to get in the way of your own happiness. Being happy is a choice, and you have the power to make that choice each and every day. We all encounter challenges during our life. When that happens, be “curious” and see it as an opportunity to move forward to your next adventure.
Reading this list has helped me become more aware of my own life, and it also helped me better understand the older people that surround me. I now smile a little more and complain a little less. I hope that by sharing this, it will do the same for you.
If you’d like to learn more about Bronnie Ware and her study of the 5 Regrets, check out her blog at: http://www.bronnieware.com/blog/regrets-of-the-dying.