Last night I had the opportunity to turn off the Social Network, cell phones (Yes, that was plural. I operate multiple cell phones – 3 to be exact… shameful, I know.) & email to spend a bit of quality time with one of my very closest friends. Late into the evening our conversation over brews & bbq turned from traditional dude-based dialog (ie. football, dating, carburetors, 12-cylinder diesel engines, challenges associated with being consistently awesome, & the list could continue…), to more in-depth, meaningful discussion.
But, before getting to the meat of this post, in all seriousness, to credit of my personal influence group… all are educated, strong in character, thoughtful & speak intelligently on politics & social issues, family, faith, financial markets, health & wellness, etc. (And… in the rare moments where understanding of a specific topic may be sub-par, there are no better bull-shitters I’ve ever met). Although not always seeing eye-to-eye, the well-articulated banter, no matter the subject & positioning (or understanding of the material), is surely insightful, engaging & thought-provoking. Interestingly enough, dudes do have chats that scratch a level beyond the superficial.
Note: My friends who are reading this – Although I am speaking truth, you each owe me a Beer for all this overly-kind & supporting text regarding your degree of character, notable intangibles, etc. See you all tonight downtown.
With that said, conversation turned to death & regrets – a conversation that had stuck with me through the evening & into this afternoon. My friend mentioned an article he read this past week about a palliative nurse who recorded the most common regrets of the dying, then documenting her findings into a book called “The Top Five Regrets of The Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing,” by Bronnie Ware.
Although, none of the noted regrets were incredibly surprising, having people in my life at the moment who are experiencing very serious & negative prospects to the remaining longevity of their time here on Earth, this conversation took a slightly new meaning, hitting home in a way it had not previously.
As a thought for leading your weekend & maybe your weeks ahead, as it is for mine, I’d like to share her findings below, while encouraging you to lead a life true to yourself, a life in which you pause amongst the hustle & bustle to enjoy the fruits of your labor, to speak from your heart no matter the prospect of risk or consequence, to go the extra mile in ensuring you keep close with those you love the most, & above all, in your never-ending pursuit of happiness… find the time to just be happy.
-Much Love, David
Top Five Regrets of The Dying:
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. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”
2. I wish I hadn’t worked 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.”
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.”
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.”
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
”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 their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
Credit for Contributing Material: Joe Martino, Huffington Post. Collective Evolution.