Take a closer look at your life. Are you living it with purpose and no regrets?
Bonnie Ware lives in Australia. Her profession is nursing. She cares for those who are terminally ill, facing the most difficult thing mortal man ever has to face. A job most people would not want, she faithfully carries out her duties to bring whatever relief and comfort she can to the dying. It’s a job she takes very seriously. She considers it her calling. That’s why it’s very important to Bonnie that she does her very best, whatever it takes, to make her patients as comfortable as possible while they await the end.
In addition to the pain and other medications she administers to them, she also spends time just talking with them. Sometimes a smile, a kind word or a touch of the hand brings its own kind of relief and comfort. They talk about many things, just about whatever you can imagine; family, good times, bad times, friends, enemies — and often, they talk about regrets.
When Bonnie would ask her patients about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, she noticed common themes that kept surfacing in their responses, again and again. She made note of them. Perhaps there was a lesson here. I think she may be right. According to Bonnie, the top five most frequent regrets of her dying patients were:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected me of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. I wish I had spent more time with my family.
- 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.
I believe when we all read these five statements of regret we can easily relate to them. We all want to live our best life, to live life to the full. We all want to live such that we have no regrets when we reach the end. The sad thing is, we have the power to heavily influence our outcomes, but we let the “noise” of life deafen our ears, cloud our thinking, jumble our priorities, and compromise our purpose. If you don’t know your purpose, let me encourage you to do whatever it takes to find it. If you know your purpose, live to fulfill it each day.
It may not be possible to live your entire life without having any regrets, but I want to try. I have to try. I need to try. There are no other acceptable options. Let me encourage you to set your goals then pursue them with vigor. Develop and cultivate those close relationships that can help you stay on track and encourage you when you fall.
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