Regrets in life? Everyone has it. How about you? What’s on the top of your own list? What if we get the chance to time travel and redo the things we did in the past? Wouldn’t it be so wonderful? And then one by one, we can scrap whatever items we have in our list of regrets in life?
When it comes to regrets in life, I always get reprimanded of Erica – the main character in a Canadian series Being Erica which focus a story of a very unhappy individual being able to time travel and redo the things she could have done differently in her past. Not to change the present but to ponder on things she needs to learn so her present becomes her reality and a better future could surface. But we’re not Erica, we can’t time travel but we still can do something to live a quality life. And this wishlist of regrets in life could maybe help you realize that.
When questioned about any regrets in life, these common themes surfaced again and again. When we express our regrets in life, we normally start it by saying I wish… This is why I titled the blog as a wish list. Here are the most common five top regrets of living:
“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 realize 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 honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.
“I wish I didn’t work 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.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
“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.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
“I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.“
Often they would not truly realize 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.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
“I wish that I had let myself be happier.”
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize 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.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying. People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. Do not underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes can be phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, and choose honestly. Choose happiness. If there’s person whom you should be totally honest – it should be yourself. Whether it is something that makes you happy or not, your heart will know. Your heart will always know.
Spend life in such a way that if there comes a time when life flashes before your eyes, you’ll not find yourself pondering in this long list of regrets in life. Whether what it is that you want and truly desire, let your heart be the driving force of your life.