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Elder Law and Estate Planning Blog - Lancaster, PA

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Top Regrets at the End of Life

As people grow and age, they often look back and wish they had done something in their life differently.  Here are the top 5 regrets from people who have reached the end of their lives.  Special thanks to Bronnie Ware for this article.

1.  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 looking back at your life, it is easy to see how many dreams were left unfulfilled due to choices made.  It's very important to honor some of your dreams along the way, because once you lose your health, it is too late to fulfill them.  According to these patients, health brings a freedom that you don't know you have until it's gone.

2.  I wish I didn't work so hard.
I write this as I am at work, but this was a regret from every male patient.  They often missed out on their children's youth and their spouse's companionship.  As the women of this generation weren't the breadwinners, this regret was spoke of, but not as prevelently.  Simplifying your life will help you see that you do not need as much income as you believe.  This will also create more time for you to do things you want, making you happier and open to more opportunities.

3.  I wish I'd had the courage to express myself.
Many people supress their feelings to keep peace with others, resulting in a mediocre existence and never becoming who they were truly capable of becoming.  Interestingly, many developed illnesses related to carrying the bitterness and resentment that came from suppressing feelings.  Changing the way you are by speaking honestly raises your relationships to a new, healthier level.  Or it releases unhealthy relationships from your life.  You cannot control the reactions of others, but in either situation, you win.

4.  I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
You don't realize the benefits of old friends until much too late.  Many patients had become so caught up in their own lives that they let golden friendships slip away.  It wasn't until their last weeks of life that they realized the benefits of these friends, and by then it wasn't always possible to track them down.  There were many regrets about not giving friends enough time and energy.  In the end, all that remains is love and relationships.

5.  I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Surprisingly, this is rather common.  Many people chose the comfort of familiarity in both their emotions and physical lives.  Fear of change had them pretending that they were content.  These patients did not realize that happiness was a choice, and one that they did not make.  Deep within, lying on their deathbed, these people longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.


Read the original article by Bronnie Ware on the Buried Life here.

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