Thursday, June 2, 2011

The top 5 regrets people have on their deathbed

This article got me really thinking. I'm nowhere near my deathbed (as far as I know), so maybe I still have time to avoid these:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
I've always tried to live as authentically as possible. Am I doing what I want to do, or what others want me to do? Am I pursuing my interests or other people's? So far, the things that I regret not having done are things that I myself couldn't fit into my life (like getting a PhD, which I still haven't completely ruled out anyway). I've been lucky to have had the opportunities to do what I want to do, with very few obstacles.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
Well, I would actually say the opposite. Year after year, I usually regret not working hard enough, taking the easy way out whenever I can. I regret not finishing Midnight's Children in one of my grad school seminars. I regret choosing to finish college a year early instead of studying abroad for a semester. I regret not getting really good at bass guitar. I regret not running, every single time I choose to skip a workout. I regret not grading those essays when I had the time to. I regret not trying harder. So I should start trying harder.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
This is a tricky one. At the very least, I try to let the people I love KNOW that I love them, on a fairly regular basis. I feel like that is more important than tracking down and confronting people who I feel have wronged me. (Though, I do try to track down people whom I have wronged, so I can try to apologize.) I try to think of it this way - if it were them dying, rather than me, what would I want their last memory of me to be? I think love and kindness is the key thing here. I may come across as maudlin and gushy, but I want people to know how much I care.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
The article is right -Facebook DOES make it easier to do this, though we should definitely make time to hang out with friends in REAL life too. I try to do this as much as I can, though we are all busy people. If I can't make time to spend with someone, I at least try to let them know that I'm thinking of them. (See above.)

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Am I letting myself be happy now? Honestly, I don't know. There are a lot of things that I am happy about, but there are also some regrets (not on this list) that I think may haunt me - missed opportunities, choices I've made that I don't actually regret, but will always wonder about the path my life would've taken if I'd chosen differently.

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