I recently heard about a palliative care nurse who had written about the top five regrets that people identify when they are dying. Her name is Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse who worked with patients in the last twelve weeks of life. During that time, she started a blog Inspiration and Chai and started to identify some common themes. These top five regrets are:
1- I wish I had lived a life more true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
In particular, the one about staying in touch with friends seems to be the one that I have been focusing on more lately. It is often so easy to isolate ourselves from those we build relationships with. Right after I read about those five, I sent out emails to a lot of my friends who have moved away. It was great to hear from those I care about and love. I’ve decided to be more intentional about staying in touch.
Sometimes, when I think about how short our time here on earth is, I start to feel a sense of urgency welling up to the surface. This sense of urgency is where my fears and regrets lie. I don’t have a lot of regrets because I try to live as true to myself as I can, but as I get older and life gets more complex, I see the potential for regret show itself on the horizon of my precarious future.
Ironically, I didn’t see anything in those top five that indicated that I should do more for others, but I think that it is inferred in there somewhere. I think it’s inferred because I believe that helping others and living a more otherly life is one of the key ingredients in the recipe for having a fulfilled and happy life. This is a truth that many wealthy people have learned. They often learn that they become addicted to charitable endeavors after they amass their large fortunes which could never be spent in their lifetimes.
What is otherly living? I think it has to do first with being aware of those who are in our circle and on the peripheral of our circle. However, I also think that being aware of others means that we first have to be true to ourselves as well. If we are striving to keep up with the standards that someone else expects of us, or if we are not true to who we are, it becomes impossible to truly be otherly. We have to know ourselves enough to be able to reach out more to others.
When I think of Jesus, I think of someone who was 100% aware of who He was and what His role was in the world and it was because of that that He was so aware of others. By knowing Himself, He was able to free Himself up for others and thankfully that is exactly what He did.
When I look over those five regrets, I realize that they aren’t really about me and my hangups, but rather about me trying to get over myself. They are about avoiding falling into the pit of self-hatred so that we can love others and be important in one anothers’ lives. It’s about the people, never about the money, the job, or house. It’s the people we meet and love who make us happy and whom we make happy. Live a life with and for others and you will have no regrets.
June 24th, 2013 · No Comments
Categories: DE Thoughts