Monday, 13 June 2011

the 5 big regrets

A nurse wrote this article that outlined the most common regrets that she had heard from her dying patients.

For the shortened version, here are the 5 top regrets/wishes:

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn't work 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.

Do I have regrets? Of course. 

There were times when I've held back, when I haven't taken the plunge. I've waded around in the shallow end, just watching. waiting. wishing. scared.

But there have been other times - when I've dared to do something new, risen to a challenge, or bitten off more than what I thought I could chew, or risked, pushed myself in some way, like diving into the deep end. And it's been rewarding.

jumping into the deep end
As I'm writing this, I can hear a woodpecker drilling away at a tree - persistently working at its task. It makes me think about the times when I could drill deeper down, but don't, for whatever reason. 

Drumming is also something that comes to mind - joining in a drum circle, becoming part of something that's larger than me, adding my own rhythms to the music of life.

And dancing. Dancing instead of sitting on the sidelines or blending into the background like a wallflower. To engage instead of just consume. 

5 of my wishes: To dare. To dive. To drill deep down. To drum. To dance.


  1. #1 really speaks to me. This idea of living an authentic life is so real for me. Especially as I grow older and become more sure of who I really am. And as a parent I find this is a message I really want to instill in my three children. What a challenge with so many pressures to fit in! My hope is that they will watch me struggling for the courage to show who I really am.
    Great to see you yesterday too!

  2. Authentic living... me too. I think you ARE showing who you really are - freezing those beautiful moments through photography. You have such a good eye! It makes me want to be engaged/married/pregnant/newborn all over again! Great to see you too, Catherine.

  3. This post must have been perculating (sp?) in the back of my mind yesterday. Last night, the thought came to me, not for the first time, that I spend too much of my life "waiting" and as such, may miss out on "real life". Waiting until I graduate university to explore other interests/hobbies/travel, waiting to be married before I can live the life I always dreamed of, waiting to be pregnant/a parent before we can....I don't know what. And for these last two, God has had a different timeline in mind and so I wait. I wonder what I would have done differently if I didn't have to wait or didn't feel like I was waiting. Or have I lived life fully in the midst of the waiting?

  4. Waiting... that would be a good topic for a post too. Teena, I can relate. I've often thought that I'll live my best life when... happens. But it's so important to do right now. But gently - so that I'm not stressed out about "how can I live my best, oh no, maybe I'm not really doing my best" kind of thoughts. May God grant you surprises in the waiting times.

  5. The list that you posted is so true. I can relate to all of them but most of all to the first one. On one hand, it's not that I have a lot of regrets, not on the big things like who I married or having my children, but I do wish I had been stronger within myself particularly when I was in my early 20s, first married and trying to prove that I could do it all and had it all. I felt I had to be what people expected and do what my friends were doing as they started off on their adult lives. If I knew then what I know now, I would do some of those things very differently...


  6. Your comments, Suzanne, remind me of a writing exercise I've done - write a letter to your 16 year old self from yourself today. Then write a letter from your 80 year old self to yourself today. Is the advice/wisdom they share the same? Different? For me, it can help to clarify the way I want to live right now when I think in these kinds of perspectives.