Bronnie Ware wrote a book called The Five Regrets of the Dying that I found inspiring. Having worked for many years in the palliative care field, her book reveals what she learned about people’s regrets as they neared their life’s end. While no one wants to dwell on dying, the question is, by contrast, how do we live our lives today in order to feel personally fulfilled when the sands of time run through the hourglass for the last time?
1. "I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
This was the most common regret—that of involving unfulfilled dreams. When we’re tempted to measure ourselves against the desires of others, we aren’t being our true, authentic selves.
2. “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
Despite how too many of us pay lip service to this one, we still fall into the trap of putting work first, ahead of everything else that’s precious, valuable, and central to our peace of mind and happiness.
3. “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
Failing to express our feelings has never allowed us to fully live or develop into the rich, multi-layered individuals God intended us to be.
4. “I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends.”
I’ve always deeply admired those who were faithful about doing this and marveled at the richness of their relationships. Yes, it takes some work, but the rewards are immeasurable.
5. “I wish I had let myself be happier.”
I think it was Abraham Lincoln who wrote, “Happiness is a choice.” That’s something to ponder on a daily basis. And I’ve heard it said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Do we surround ourselves with happy, kind, compassionate people?