February 10, 2012

Top Five Regrets of the Dying

I've found this article yesterday through a friend and it had made me think a lot about it. So, I decided to share it with you :)

A nurse has recorded the most common regrets of the dying, and among the top ones is 'I wish I hadn't worked so hard'. What would your biggest regret be if this was your last day of life?

There was no mention of more sex or bungee jumps. A palliative nurse who has counselled the dying in their last days has revealed the most common regrets we have at the end of our lives.Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. "When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently," she says, "common themes surfaced again and again."

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
"This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. 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."

2. I wish I hadn't worked 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."

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."

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."

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."

So, I've been thinking. What would I regret, if I were to die today?
This is actually a thing no one thinks about a lot - I mean, seriously - no one wants to die. 

Noone wants to think about dying. It makes us vulnerable and we start to think that we are not permanent. That nothing is permanent. Which makes us sad. So, we don't think about it.
I always think about myself as permanent - of course I will live till, well, not forever, but a very very long time. I am 22, I have all my life ahead of me. But with all the books I've been reading in the past months, I started thinking. Released dates. Which you'll think it's really funny, but actually it's not. Example: The last book of The Mortal Instruments series comes out in September 2013. September 2013. Fucking hell. What if something happens to me and I won't be able to read the finish of my favourite series? God, I would be so pissed of.

But let's stay in the theme. What would I regret?
I would wish, I would have spent more time with my friends (which I do, but I guess it's never enough). I would wish, I would tell my parents and my family how much I love them and how I would be completely lost in the world without them. I would wish, I would have done all the crazy ideas that I wanted to do in my head. I would wish, I would have traveled more. I would wish, I would have fallen in love more. I would wish, I would have said all those things I wanted to say, but actually never did.

And now the question, what are my regrets today?
I wish I would have never went to make my erasmus in Messina - yes, I do. I've grown up a lot, but hell, it was so fucking difficult for me. I wish I would have all these books I have now, back then while I was there. I bet my life in Messina would have been so so much different - I would have felt less alone. I wish I would have got rid of my boyfriend before the clock was ticking two years. I wish I would have been able to understand I wasn't happy. I am so angry about myself that it has took me two fucking years to understand that I am not happy and that I am better of without him. I wish I would have told my sister more firmly that she needs to change college. I should have convinced her to leave it and start something new. I wish she would have listened. She would be more happy today. I wish I would have told my parents, that they were hurting my feelings, because I wasn't thin enough for them. That I will be never perfect enough for them. I could go on and on.

And if I look at these two lists now, I can see that they are way different. Lots of things I regret today, I won't be regretting, if I were to die today. Which is interesting, because it makes me see all the things I keep thinking and worrying about, which in the end, won't really matter. The human mind is quite complicated.

So, we should do more things we love to do, express our feelings, take more time to spend we the people we love.. But most of all, it shouldn't be enough to be alive, we need to LIVE.

Now I want to see, what do you think about it. What's your greatest regret so far, and what will you set out to achieve or change before you die?

The article was taken from here.
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