Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse who worked many years in palliative care has a blog and a book on the topic of what dying people regret.What do you think they said? What would be your top regrets if you were going to die tomorrow?
Here are the top two and Ware's explanation of each.
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 had not honored even half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it."
2. I wish I hadn't worked 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."
On a recent TV show a woman who had become financially successful working for a huge company was trying to get up the courage to quit her job and follow her dream of selling real estate. What do you think she should do?
People in my generation who grew up in a struggling household saw their parents work hard, long hours, and take pride in their jobs or professions. It was the accepted way of life. I saw my older brother spend his entire life working and accomplishing wealth, and when he finally could retire, he was quickly struck down by cancer.
How many dreams have been lost because our parents and society expected us to be practical, to work for financial success instead of working at something we love that might not pay as well. I know two examples - one that wanted to be an artist but was told that was not practical - she could teach. She didn't like teaching.
Another loved music and was a good musician and singer, but his mother sent him to college to become a high school band director. He learned everything about music, but never directed a high school band. His work throughout his life never included entertaining audiences with his singing or playing, but that had been his dream.
I urge anyone of any age to follow their dreams. If a job is needed to keep the wolf away from the door, do it. But find a way to follow your passion. Life is fleeting and before we know it we are the ones on our death beds and those unfulfilled dreams turn into regrets.