Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.
She writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives. And when questioned about any regrets they had, or anything they would do differently, the same themes popped up again and again and again.
Here are the top five regrets of the dying:
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. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. This came from every male patient. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. Many people had developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. Many people had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits, while they longed to laugh lots and just be silly.
What’s your biggest regret so far? And what are going to do to change it?