Bonnie Ware, a nurse who has served those who were in the last stages of life, learned a lot from her patients.
In her blog, Inspiration and Chai, she blogs, Regrets of the Dying. She found there were five common regrets.
1. There were regrets of not living their life authentically. They had lived their life according to the expectations of others. Do you know your purpose? Are you living your purpose or are you living someone else's purpose?
2. There were regrets of working so much that they missed things that really mattered like their children's sports events, school activities and accomplishments of their significant others. Most of us say what is important in our lives... God, our significant others, our children, our friends, but are we being there for them? Are you living your priorities?
3. There were regrets for not sharing feelings and speaking up. When was the last time you had a conversation with someone about love? When was the time you said, "I love you?"
When was the last time you had a conversation about your fear? When was the last time you shared your vulnerability, your hurt, your pain... your shame?
4. When people were dying they were visited by friends. There were regrets that they had not spent more time connecting with friends and nurturing relationships. We all complain there is never enough time. The greater challenge is accounting where we spend our time and focusing on what is really meaningful. Who do you need to reconnect with? Where do you need to build a bridge? With whom do you need to deepen a relationship?
5. There were regrets of not choosing to be happier. They were regrets of not laughing more and of taking life too seriously. The happiest people I know are those who are full of gratitude, those who are serving and helping others and those, those who are living a life of abundance rather than a life of scarcity.
There is a scene in the movie Shawshank Redemption where Andy and Red are sitting in the prison courtyard. Andy realizes he is not going get justice and leave prison. Red asks Andy what he is going to do. Andy tells Red it boils down to, "You either get busy living or get busy dying."
What do you choose?
See Bonnie Ware's blog at http://www.inspirationandchai.com/Regrets-of-the-Dying.html