Top five regrets of the Dying

24 Jan 2014

Palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware’s blog post (and book) The 5 Regrets of the Dying has been read by millions. It is regret number one that has stuck with me the most:

“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." Here are the next four …and no mention of sex or bungee jumping.

• 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.

It begs the daily (and hourly!) question: How do I live a life that is true to me in this moment? Perhaps this is the question of a well-lived life. But it is not an easy question to live, not in my experience. It is a question though that might deserve attention now, rather than regret at death.