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Top 5 regrets of the dying

Saw this article in the Guardian.   There was no mention of more sex or bungee jumps. Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying….
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Saw this article in the Guardian.

 
There was no mention of more sex or bungee jumps. Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.
 
Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware:
 

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 people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”
 

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”
 

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”
 

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

“Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”
 

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”
 

What’s your greatest regret so far, and what will you set out to achieve or change before you die?

Comments (4)

  • Great post, Seth – I would have never seen this article if it weren’t for you – thank you!

    Ecclesiastes 7:2 tells us to ponder death while we are still living:

    “It is better to go to a house of mourning
    Than to go to a house of feasting,
    Because that is the end of every man,
    And the living takes it to heart. ”

    I was thinking there was a verse about a wise man pondering his death but I couldn’t find it.

  • Wow this is so timely…I have time to do something about my life now. Thanks for posting this, I will definitely share this to my friends!

  • Great post! I’m surprised there isn’t any regrets listed about not getting to know God more intimately.
    I think my biggest regret would be that I wasted so many youthful years on myself and not building up a stronger foundation. I wasted a lot of years on myself rather than being a better role model as a wife for my children.
    I wish I would of been a stronger example for them. I was a stay at home mom but I still had a lot of ‘me’. I home-schooled and still do but for the older two, they were still a part of my youthful selfish, vanity. I thank God for age. I thank God for years to grow. I just wish it didn’t take me so long. Theres a huge chunk of wasted life and years that could of been much more fruitful and productive. Huge chunk.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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