OK. I must confess that I am a list junkie. I am addicted to those top-whatever lists on whatever the subject of the day is. You have seen them on Yahoo, Facebook, countless blogs, and web sites. I know they are social networking tools to draw the casual reader into the site. They also happen to offer the reader a bang for the buck in terms of return on the investment of time and attention.
I am a casual reader. I love reading science fiction, mystery and suspense novels, but I struggle to find time to fit reading into my life. I’ve been whittling away at Stephen Kings’ latest novel, 11/22/63, for the past three months at a very slow pace. That is why these lists which are often short snippets of a bigger book attract me. I can spend 10-15 minutes reading them and come away with a lot of value.
A tweet earlier today let me to the Addicted 2 Success motivational web site. Bonnie Ware, a care provider who works with people at the end of their lives, was the guest blogger of the day. Her list of “The Top 5 Regrets in Life by Those About to Die” is a view into her book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. It was a real eye opener and something worth sharing.
The Top 5 Regrets
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.The most common wish is pretty telling. So often we live our lives to please others only to find out too late we did not please ourselves. Four years ago when began my weight loss surgery journey I made a commitment to put myself first and live life for myself. The messages I had received through my life was to put others first. I was overloaded with volunteer activities and responsibilities. I stepped away from many.I found out was that as my life changed I could integrate volunteer and social activities back into my life in a manner that added to my life and the lives of others. It turns out my initial assessment that I was selfish was false. Refocusing my energies in a new way led me to a much happier life and feeling of accomplishment.
- I wish I didn’t work so hard. Bonnie said that this was reiterated by almost every dying male. She is correct in her analysis that we tend to over complicate our lives. There comes times when you need to take note of this and slow down and smell the roses. My change started with my weight loss and became more obvious when I created a wellness vision. It was in that process that I learned what was important to me. I learned to achieve the proper work-life balance and use my energies in a positive focused manner.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. Guilty and still actually pretty guilt here! I really have a problem in exposing the real Tom. Bonnie hit this on the head when she said most people repress their feelings to keep peace with others. I work on this as much as I can. I try to show who I am in my blog, my interactions with others, and my participation in my social networks. I have learned that you cannot live life by trying to make everyone happy. I now know that once you make yourself happy then that happiness will be shared and am evident to those around you.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.This is one that I am not sure will be on my list. Bonnies speaks of the value of lifelong friendships that nurture a person through life by supporting one another. I can say that I do not have such a relationship beyond my husband Brett. It seems like something desirable to have, but I don’t regret not having lifelong friendships.There is value in nurturing friendships that is true. Friendship is a two way street and sometimes circumstances turn it into a one-way street. It becomes hard at times to sustain friendships, but we need to make all efforts to mend that friendship. At the same time, friendships are new and evolving. I have found myself becoming good friends with many people I have met in my weight loss journey. The bottom line is that no one wants to die alone and without friends. It is about love and relationships in the end.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.In Bonnie’s words, “Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice.” I find this to be very true. If you follow my weight loss journey and wellness vision, you have seen that I discovered that happiness became a theme for my life. The tag line of this blog, “One man’s journey where diet, exercise, health and wellness equals happiness” says it all.I set out to discover what my wellness vision was. I thought it would be about being a fit person who eats a healthy diet and loves to bicycle. Once I assembled the facts and put them together I found a common theme that linked them to one central point, happiness. After reading these five items, I also find that they are all linked to happiness. I am very much an advocate of finding happiness in your life and that happiness will transform your life in ways you never expected.
Many wedding vows contain variations of the words “till death do we depart”. We cannot avoid that moment in time when we die. We can however make changes today that reduce or eliminate the regrets that we hold onto on that day. I know I would rather depart with no regrets than with regrets.