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Wednesday, August 17

(Without) Regrets

"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have." -Frederick Koenig

More often than not, we are caught with being preoccupied in living our lives that we tend to forget more important things. I received an email from a colleague, and the first thing that came to my mind was “what joke is it this time?” To my surprise, it was not a funny joke or a hilarious story. It was something serious. Honestly, I never thought something like this would come from him. So I thought, maybe this affected him and he wants other people to know (to quote his email: “share ko lang…”).

Well, I was affected and moved, so I might share this as well. For those who’ve already read it, it won’t do you any harm to be reminded of it. Read on…

Top Five Regrets in life
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. 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.

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.

Photo from here


Leo said...

I need to remind myself of item #5. :) My take away from this entry is that happiness is a choice and what's fundamental is to appreciate what we have.

Thanks for sharing this Nate!

Wilberchie said...

my regrets are not part of this list! relief!

Nate said...

@leo: you're welcome! :D

@wil: hahaha! :P

Ms. Chuniverse said...

Well, on my part....


...major......major naman.

i know its gasgas na pero ewan ko ba, it always make me smile everytime i remember that.

seriously, my biggest regret is.... i don't have a good relationship with my father. siguro i didn't exert much effort or baka sya din, pero we became so distant, its like i don't have one.


Nate said...

@hrh queen chuni: very titleholder-ish answer, my lady... hahaha! --- "nothing major major"

aww... thanks ok, my queen.. *hugs* i'm sure darating din yun time na magiging ok kayo ni dad mo.. --- "seriously, my biggest regret is.... i don't have a good relationship with my father. siguro i didn't exert much effort or baka sya din, pero we became so distant, its like i don't have one."

ıǝɹɯɐı said...

cheers to happiness!

Nate said...

@rei: cheers!

Ester said...

i love this page. it's like i want to sip from a cup of coffee. :))

Nate said...

@ester: aww.. thank you sweet girl! welcome to my blog!

Anonymous said...

nakarelate ako sa ibang numbers kuya. pero mas nakarelate ako kay Chunilee.

Désolé Boy said...

I try not to have any regrets. Like being in love with some motherf*ckers who broke my heart. If not for those shitheads, I'd probably didn't have the inspiration to write what I wrote, which earned me few bucks, and I'd never be the strong, independent person that I am today (IKR? nagyayabang ako sa parteng 'to). I follow that simple logic.
Just my two cents ;D

Nate said...

@anonymous: thanks for visiting my blog and leaving comment.. :)

@deebee: OMG!! welcome back!! *hugs* and yeah you have pretty strong points on your comment.. maybe i'll try put your "simple logic" into practice.. thanks for the comment! :)

Gregg D'Bully said...

Hay, when is enough enough? But I respect the idea that the divine has made us slow to satisfaction so that we constantly strive. Human nature...

Nate said...

@gregg: hi! thanks for visiting and leaving a comment! :)

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