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The Top Five Regrets of the Dying

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posted on Dec, 15 2011 @ 05:18 AM
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This is probably one of the more frightening thoughts a person can experience. The most frail moment in your life where you’re completely honest with yourself, and realize your own shortcomings, failures and regrets. I guess coming to terms with these regrets is coming to terms with our own mortality. This is the one chance we had to live this life, and we either part from this place content and with peace, or with regret and remorse. But maybe there’s some lessons to be learned from people that has experienced this themselves.

The below text is based on the experience from someone who has worked in palliative care, and the observations she made. I thought it was worth sharing, because despite all the distractions, I think it’s important to contemplate our life while we live it, not when we’re at the end of the road.


Top Five Regrets of the Dying

By Bronnie Ware

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learned never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

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 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 have 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.

2. 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.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.

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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

Source




posted on Dec, 15 2011 @ 05:33 AM
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compelling topic - maybe i am just one of the lucky ones - all those things i used to regret have actually been my steps to personal freedom - once i became grateful for what i have today; all that i once believed i lost actually was the chain that bound me to this earth - i found out what the "secret of the vine" means - what a very painful journey - i could have gone but 2 ways..............tiptoeing thru the tulips or letting go - i look forward to the golden age -



posted on Dec, 15 2011 @ 05:40 AM
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Good post.

Pity that I will most likely cover all five points when i go.



posted on Dec, 15 2011 @ 06:26 AM
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reply to post by Droogie
 



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.


Such a true statement even today.
I see men, like myself, everywhere striving to make ends meet.
All the while, giving up dreams, their family, and their very existance.
Just because money is needed to survive in this world.


Truly pathetic, but shockingly accurate.


We can change this ideal, but the television dictates lives now, so....




posted on Dec, 15 2011 @ 07:38 AM
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Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today. ~James Dean

Why always "not yet"? Do flowers in spring say "not yet"? ~Norman Douglas

And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. ~Abraham Lincoln


Simple quotes which I'm sure we've all heard but they take on new meaning when seen in the light of your post. Thanks for the share OP. S&F

Even if you believe their is something more beyond death, we've all been born on Earth at this time for a reason. And whatever that reason is I'm sure it has nothing to do with working monday to friday 9-5, being 'respectable' or paying off the mortgage....


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posted on Dec, 15 2011 @ 07:44 AM
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All of those things are perverted by living in a society.

You cant live the life you want because society doesnt want you to. Either through taxation, legislation, popular opinion and taboos, society forces the individual to assimilate.

Following your dreams leads to socially imposed roadblocks of its own in shunning, disapproval, scapegoating, and more extremely blacklisting, property confiscation and imprisonment.

You could sum up that list of 5 regrets and boil it down to "I regret having lived among you assholes."



posted on Dec, 15 2011 @ 07:49 AM
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Great post.

I think the key to life is to spend your dying moments NOT regretting anything about your life,
but appreciating the journey it has been.



posted on Dec, 15 2011 @ 08:33 AM
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reply to post by thisguyrighthere
 


In context to this thread, and considering your perspective, I thought this youtube video would be appropriate.



reply to post by 1littlewolf
 



Simple quotes which I'm sure we've all heard but they take on new meaning when seen in the light of your post.


I agree, the quotes you provide seen in the light of the topic certainly complements each other.



Even if you believe their is something more beyond death, we've all been born on Earth at this time for a reason. And whatever that reason is I'm sure it has nothing to do with working monday to friday 9-5, being 'respectable' or paying off the mortgage....


Well said. I think a lot of people shares that viewpoint.

reply to post by havok
 


Sadly, I think that is the reality for many, many people.



posted on Dec, 15 2011 @ 09:40 AM
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Great thread, that's a touchy subject.
And that job is incredible it teaches a lot about life and human nature.



posted on Dec, 15 2011 @ 09:56 AM
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That's quite touching.

Weirdly, even though only 22 years old, i've already realised how much time i've already wasted. I had my first ever anxiety/panic attack a month ago, not realising how living up to others' expectations and suppressing emotions and feelings to keep others happy could take such a toll on your health. When it struck, I was adamant that I was having a heart attack, absoloutely adamant (although puzzled, as I drink nothing but water and only eat tiny healthy meals). I was rushed to hospital, and what made it worse was that i kept having a barrage of panic attacks, and I was in the mindset that the next one would kill me, and I wasn't in the same city as any of my family or friends, and felt truly alone for the first time in my life. The points on the OP were the kind of thoughts that ran through my head, like how I started working when I was 12 as a kitchen porter 6 nights a week, and haven't spent more than a month without a job since then, worked really hard, yet isolated myself into working and trying to climb the corporate ladder than actually LIVE.

As soon as I got out, I decided to quit my job, see my family more (and appreciate them more, they are disappearing at an alarming rate). I now want a job that will allow me to live within my means, without the use of credit cards/loans, which as it turns out is quite easy, it's getting out of debt thats the hard part, not staying out of it.

We all need to take a step back at some point, and analyze what we have and appreciate it. Take a look at yourself and think "Do i really need that friend who hangs out with me because I buy all the rounds?" and "Do I spend enough time with the ones I love? Am I doing enough to help them, and others?"

Meeh, maybe it's just me, I'm known for being a tad too empathetic since leaving the hospital
edit on 15/12/11 by domasio because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 15 2011 @ 09:57 AM
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reply to post by Droogie
 


Great topic, and so important for all of us to think about.

I decided a little over a year ago that I would start living like I would die any day.

Every single one of these points came to mind, and I realized that I had not been living at all. I'd just been existing. Going from day to day with no sparkle, no shine, no enthusiasm. When it came down to it, I had been trying to live a life that was expected of me, not the life that I deep down in my most inner thoughts and heart knew I should be living.

So, I'm changing.

It's difficult.

But, I am seeing many positive results. It hurts in some ways to grow and change, but I think that it is worth it. I am tenfold happier, I have a much more positive outlook on life, and I enjoy living. EVERY DAY. It is truly a wonder.

If I died today, I would have no regrets.



posted on Dec, 15 2011 @ 01:39 PM
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reply to post by Droogie
 


I forgot where I heard this quote from but the purpose of life is a life full of purpose. Reading about this thread really made me think about the direction I want to go in life, especially with my career. Hope all is well.



posted on Dec, 15 2011 @ 01:56 PM
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What about having more time? Or not using the time you had as best as possible? You know, wanting to go back and change parts of your history.

I'm not dying, but I already have regrets of wanting to make more of certain parts of my past.



posted on Dec, 15 2011 @ 02:35 PM
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reply to post by domasio
 


Panic attacks were the ones that revived my life, 9 months of intense suffering but I thank god for it as it was my restart button in life. Panic attacks are basically the alarm clock for the body to recognize the presence of the soul, all fears are illusive and that what is needed to realize and experience.
I can say that i'm living life to my fullest ever since then, taking on challenges and living my dreams (only to find there are all nothing but illusions we need to experience anyway in order to realize it).

Happy awakening.
edit on 15-12-2011 by Shuye because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 15 2011 @ 02:59 PM
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I worked as a CNA in a nursing home for a while, it really makes you want to make the most of your life while you have your health and strength.



posted on Dec, 15 2011 @ 03:05 PM
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"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"

That is SAD this is the most common! Makes me feel fortunate.

Moral of the story: Stay young my friends




Oh no.. Scary "illuminati" Jay-z lol



posted on Dec, 15 2011 @ 03:27 PM
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Work to live

don't

Live to work



posted on Dec, 15 2011 @ 03:27 PM
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reply to post by Droogie
 


Well like the saying goes, "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence". I'm sure we've all seen cows standing in green pastures craning their heads through a fence to get at some grass that apparently they perceive as better than what they're standing on (or maybe you guys haven't seen it, I'm in Texas so I've seen it a lot
) However people live their lives, most will always regret that they didn't do it some other way. My dad lived a free-wheeling life, spending everything he ever made, partying it up, enjoying himself every step of the way. Now he's totally broke, in terrible health and utterly miserable. If on the other hand he had worked hard then I have no doubt he'd be grousing about how he didn't spend enough time enjoying life. Life is what it is and if we had a chance to do it over, 99.9% of us would live it exactly the same. Back in the 60's I read a book on psychiatry that addressed this same subject of how people always gripe that they wish they could do it over again because they'd NEVER make the same mistakes. The book pointed out that sure, we wouldn't make THOSE mistakes, we'd make a whole set of new ones
Sitting at death's door and lamenting how you lived your life is beyond pathetic. I have zero regrets and when my time comes I hope I go with dignity instead of going like a miserable whiner.




edit on 15-12-2011 by SavedOne because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 15 2011 @ 03:42 PM
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Yipes!
According to her I;m ready to die then.

Erm, mb not yet.
I still have a few dreams left unfulfilled.
Good list though and a valuable guide to getting more from life. Even though every adult in my life had told me at some point I was doing something wrong I have no regrets.
Most of us know in our heart what we should or shouldn't be doing.
Be true to yourself and the rest will work itself out.



posted on Dec, 15 2011 @ 04:02 PM
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We all have regrets and sadly they aren't realised until it's too late.
I regret never standing up for myself and living my life according to what others expected of me. I worried too much about what others thought and that is just silly to do. I would say that has been my biggest downfall in life.
I think back on that a lot.

Now that I've lost my good health I have the obvious thoughts of I took that for granted. Good health is so very important because when it goes, it goes and its gone and everything that the good health provided to you is erased along with it and you are hit with a lot of oh wow did I take that for granted or I can never do that again etc. I wish I could have known the last time I went out with friends dancing and having fun I knew it was the last time I would ever dance or walk, but you dont, so its not a bad idea to live each day like its the last day on earth.

If you become seriously ill or disabled you will need your family and friends for support, so you might want to appreciate them more right now. The irony is now I have no choice but to stand up for myself to address my new special needs. Part of my rehab included assertiveness training. Learning to express your needs or opinions, and having the right to do so or just to say no and you do not need to explain why.
I wish I knew that earlier. Perhaps I might have had a different outcome.





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