Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbed
Editors Intro: Are you a baby boomer with a bucket list? It’s interesting to contemplate whether your bucket list would match your list of regrets when you were looking back on your life when you knew your time was nearly over. From the experience of a palliative care nurse witnessing the wisdom that often comes with last words, bungee jumping, sky diving, visiting Machu Pichu or having a fling in Paris may not be high on the list of regrets expressed in the last days of life. Or maybe achieving the bucket list requires an important reconsideration of the real values for a life well lived. Their is much food for thought in the following article. Graham Forbes
2. I wish I didn’t work 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.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
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.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
4. 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. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise 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.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
Editors Note: What will you do, as a baby boomer with perhaps 20 – 30 more years of life ahead of you, wait till the end to review, or re-evaluate now? It is possible your bucket list might change, or you might be able to achieve some lifelong dreams because you have realised the false beliefs and attitudes that have affected your choices to date. My choice is to review today and every day, so that I have a good chance of not arriving at my last days with regrets. What will you do? Please feel free to share your thoughts as they may help others in their own thinking of what the future holds. We are all in a transition period without a lot of signposts.