Interesting. A former nurse who cared for terminally ill people has revealed their five most common regrets in a new book. Bronnie Ware worked in palliative care in Australia, looking after patients in the last few weeks of their lives. And the top five regrets are –
I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
‘Most people had not honoured 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 realise, until they no longer have it.’
I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
‘This came from every male patient that 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. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.’
I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
‘Often they would not truly realise 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.’
I wish that I had let myself be happier
‘Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to themselves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.’
Of course, we’ll all reflect on this for a few minutes. Then we’ll return to the life others expect, working too hard, hiding our feelings, drifting out of touch with old friends and never allowing ourselves to be happy. Hey ho.