I think in every life there comes a moment when one thinks about what would have happened if one acted differently when needing to decide something. I often did. The nice thing is, that I could always change.
But what if you cannot? In every series that deals with death, e.g. my favorite one (Six Feet Under) or the one I’m watching currently (Scrubs) there are those moments where someone dies and regrets not having lived the life he wanted to. The trigger for this blog entry is an article on the German newspaper website Die Welt. The article talks about Bronnie Ware, a woman who after choosing a straight-line career path as banker decided to throw it all away, and do something different. After that she traveled the world, and on of her longest professions was in palliative care, for people who where sure to die.
Ware now processes her experiences in a book titled The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. These five regrets are also revealed at the article as well as on Bronnie Ware’s blog. These are:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I didn’t work so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Those are the top five, so it seems that a lot of people have these regrets. Do you? I for myself can nod to every one of these five points. To some more than to others (so I guess my list would be ordered 4, 3, 5, 2, 1), but in general they also fit to my life.
What to do with this knowledge? Well, when you can picture yourself regretting the same things, why not change something now? Tomorrow’s maybe too late, so take over control now. Or as Bronnie Ware says:
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
I for my part will try to keep this in mind, and try to every day do a bit so I actually live the life I want to live so I don’t regret it, once I have no chance to change it.