If it all ended now, what would you regret?
In early 2007 I knew that I had to make a decision, to dive off the cliff into deep water, not knowing what may come of it, or continue on my merry way doing what I had been doing for the last decade.
When I wrote of my motivations to start my podcast Your Story I thought, from the end of my life, of not wanting to have regrets.
In a post from Bonnie Ware she writes of working in palliative care and hearing of the regrets that people have of their lives, now that they are nearing the end. This is what I was attempting in order to step into the fray of podcasting. You can read her full post at Inspiration and Chai about the Regrets of Dying.
What people say is…
1. A wish to have the courage to live a life true to myself and not worry about the expectations of others.
We often say we would like to do something but when push comes to shove, we use all the excuses under the sun to opt out of doing what we want, to live our dream. Most of these compromises are based on the excuses, that we have from the pressures that society, community and family put on us. At the end of your life, how much do you care about these compromises
If you could go back, what would you change and what would you tell a young person if it’s too late for you to do anything for yourself?
2. Not to have worked so hard.
Particularly amongst men of the older generation, a major regret is of not spending more time with family, especially the younger children. So much effort is put into creating the income for the future that the best times of their lives are missed.
Would you say to a younger person to work just as hard as you or to scale back the stuff of life and enjoy their family more?
3. Ability to express my feelings better.
Too often we don’t express what we want for fear of upsetting the apple cart, then live a life compromised, often leading to stress related illnesses. If only we could say how we feel, to express what is important, how different life could have been.
When you see someone in a similar situation what would you suggest to them based on your experiences before it’s too late?
4. Wish to have stayed in touch with long standing friends.
Long term friends, who have known us for decades are rare and to lose contact with your contempories leaves you at the end of your life without friends who know of your times when you were young. People come and go but some of those long term friends are worth the effort of staying connected to. They carry the past, with you into the present when there is no one else who understands.
When someone has a falling out with an old friend, would you suggest they stay in touch?
5. Allowed myself to be happier.
Pretending that the comfortable life is okay and good enough prevents many people from embracing the full joy of life. It’s not until they are near the end, that choosing to be happy, by choosing a different path would be fun, maybe even silly but would fully enrich their lives.
What would you say when you see the exuberance of youth shut down by conservative attitudes?