People often say they “have no regrets” but the truth of the matter is that most of us do have regrets. In fact, according to a nurse who cared for the dying we tend to share common regrets. In her book “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying” she shared the top five most common themes she gleaned from her dying patients regarding regrets they had. According to the Australian nurse, the five most commonly heard regrets were:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
If you are still young enough to make changes in your life – and the truth is that changes can be made until our last dying breath – then it might be wise to pay attention to the list offered by someone who spent years listening to dying patients. Dying without a single regret may be an unrealistic goal; however, making small changes in your lifestyle right now could result in you dying with less regret that you would without the changes. Take some time to study the list and ask yourself which regrets apply to you now. Then ask yourself what you can do to make sure that they no longer apply when it is your time to take your last breaths.