Thursday, 23 May 2013

Preventable Regret

I read a good article in The Guardian today. It reminded me of what it means to live fully as a human. We need each other. We only learn to be fully ourselves until we lean on each other and find out that loving friends, family, partners, husbands, wives means sharing our time, love and emotions day after day, night after night, week after week, year after year. It means being there. A thought struck me as I read through this article. It was this: 'These aren't only the regrets of the dying. They are the regrets of the living too'. We have to struggle to escape the trappings of the modern hustle and bustle, the drive to do 'what people expect' and the frustration of being 'too busy'. God help us all.

I copy some of the article below.

A palliative nurse has recorded the top five regrets of the dying. 

There was no mention of more sex or bungee jumps. 

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 realise 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 honoured even a 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 realise, 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."

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."

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

"Often they would not truly realise 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."

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

"This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise 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."

1 comment:

Lu said...

Hello! Catching up on some of your older blog posts today. I agree with you, the points from the regrets of the dying are both powerful and poignant.

Blessings, Lu.