I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This is the most common regret she heard from palliative care patients, says Ms Ware.
She says when people are facing death, most people claimed they had not honoured even half their dreams, on account of choices they’d made or not made.
She says as soon as a person’s health fails, so too does your freedom, so get cracking on what you want to achieve before it is too late.
All work and no play
I wish I didn’t work so hard.
With most of her patients hailed from a generation in which men were typically the breadwinners. Ware says she heard this regret from every single man she nursed.
She says they felt like they’d missed out on watching their kids grow up and on the companionship of their partners.
This prompted Ware’s decision to simplify her lifestyle to not need as much money as before, and to create more space in her life.
Remember your friends
I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Perhaps the most famous ‘friends’ the world has known.
According to Ms Ware, many of her patients only realised the importance of their old friends in their final weeks.
She says they’d become so caught up in their own lives they stopped keeping track of the lives of their old friends, and in those final moments often had difficulty tracking them down. She says not giving friendships enough time and effort was one of the deepest regrets people would carry with them to the grave.
She says that in the final weeks, love and friendship is all that matters.
Why so serious?
All we really want is to smile more.
I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Ware says she found this one surprising. She says people felt they’d allowed themselves to stick with familiar patterns, fearing change and pretending to themselves and others that they were happy as is.
She says deep down they wanted to laugh properly and have silliness in their lives, and that on their deathbeds, that is exactly what they would do – she recommends doing so long before that time comes.
Speak your mind
I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Ware says a large number of her patients suppressed their feelings to keep others happy, and ended up feeling bitter and resentful towards those people they were trying to please.
She says she learned it is important to be honest to others, which will either raise the relationship to a new level or erase an unhealthy relationship from one’s life.
From article in "The new daily" website, written by Bronnie Ware.