If you had your life to do all over again, would you do anything differently? That's the question at the heart of a book called The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying. It was written by a hospice nurse, who interviewed patients at the end of their lives, asking them if they had any regrets. Here's what she heard time and time again:
I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. Every single person who was the breadwinner in their family said they deeply regretted not spending enough time with their kids, partner, or just living it up and enjoying the life they worked so hard for. Their advice to the living was: Simplify your life, and live well below your means – so you don’t have to work so hard.
Not having the courage to express their feelings. A lot of people said they kept quiet and hid their feelings in order to keep the peace. So, maybe they didn’t speak up when a spouse wanted to move to a new city – or they didn’t tell the person they loved how they felt. As a result, they became bitter and resentful. Therapists say we can’t control how others will react if we speak from the heart. But if you say what you feel, you’ll either end up with a better, healthier relationship – or no relationship. Either way, you’ll be better off.
Not staying in touch with their friends. It’s easy to get so caught up in our busy lives that we don’t give our friendships the time and energy they deserve. But at the end of your life, it’s not how many chores you got done – or how many hours you worked that matters. The most important things are relationships and love.
People wished they’d had the courage to live a life true to themselves – whether they wanted to see the Great Wall of China, or meet their birth mother. According to a recent survey, most people end up doing less than half of the things they really wanted to do. Often because they waited too long and weren’t healthy enough to follow their dreams.