This post contains my personal take-aways from the book, The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying by Bronnie Ware.
1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
When people realise that their life is almost over and look back on the life they have lived, they find many dreams were not honoured or fulfilled. Most of the time the reason is the choices people make or not make. Try to honor at least some of your dreams along the way. Don’t wait until your health fails before living the life you want to live. Once you lose your health, it is too late. The freedom of health is something very few of us realise, until we actually fall ill.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
There is not much point in spending our lives on the treadmill of a work existence. The companionship of your spouse and sharing your children’s youth is much more important. If we can simplify our lifestyle and make conscious choices, we can often live with a lower income. When we create more space and time in our lives by not working so hard, we create opportunities to fill that space and time with the things that we love and that are in tune with our deepest values.
3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
We have to express what we really feel. We often suppress our feelings to keep the peace. But then, this is not real peace and there will be bitterness and resentment in our hearts. It is better to be honest with our feelings with no guilt. Yes, you may not like the reactions from others, but in the long run, it improves the relationships or the relationship gradually fades away like a flower dropping from the plant. Either way, it may be the best thing that happens.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
We become so caught in our own lives that we let golden friendships slip by. We usually will regret it when we die. Because we will realize that in the last weeks all that matters is love and relationships.
5. I wish I had let myself be happier.
Happiness is a choice. We get stuck in old patterns and habits. We spend our lives doing things that do not make us happy because that is what your parents or family or the world wants you to do. Since you fear the reactions they may have, you are content to just plod on and on. When you are going to die, what others think of you is long away from your mind. Life is a choice. It is your choice. Choose consciously, wisely and honestly. Choose happiness.