Here’s a little multiple choice quiz:
When we come to the end of life, what is it that we are most likely to regret? Is it:
a) ”I wish that I had spent more time answering my email”
b). ”I wish I had spent more time texting.”
c) ”I wish I had spent more time cleaning out my sock drawer.”
d) None of the above.
If you answered d, then you’re on the right track. It turns out that a nurse who works with the dying has written an article where she lists the top 5 things that people regret on their deathbed. Here they are:
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.
There is much in this list to, at least momentarily, help us break through the clouds of illusion and delusion in our lives; much to make us think, and perhaps think deeply, about how to live a life. There’s nothing that I, or anyone else really, can add to this. Only a suggestion that maybe, if we’re very lucky, pondering on this list will serve to break us out of our daily grind, cause us to begin valuing what is truly important in living, and set us on the path to making things right while we’re still healthy. I suggest posting the list where you can see it everyday. A kind of preemptive memento mori.
For more about death and dying and its place in the context of human development, see my book The Human Odyssey: Navigating the Twelve Stages of Life.
This article was brought to you by Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D. and www.institute4learning.com.
Follow me on Twitter: @Dr_Armstrong