“Regrets don’t leave. They weren’t mosquito bites. They itch for ever.”
― Matt Haig, The Midnight Library
I mean if you’re reading this, you’re still alive. *yay* but you are also currently dying.
I feel “deep” feelings about this truth. This isn’t supposed to drag you down or make you feel “urgently.”
(Although, if you are feeling one of those two things, I would pause and ask why?)
Usually the answer is that you feel something in your life needs to change, be said, be done, or be felt.
That feeling of “wait!”, “not yet,” “I wish…” “If I could go back…” etc. that is all attached to a big word: Regret.
A couple of weeks ago I texted my “inner circle” a 2 part question. From this well known list titled: “Top 5 Regrets of the Dying”
It was essentially: Which one(s) are easiest for you? Which one(s) are hardest for you?
I started with just one friend and her responses were so inspiring and enlightening that I quickly thought: OK! I want to know this about ALL of my people!
I learned so much.
How would “YOU” answer those two questions? What does that teach you about yourself?
👇 “Top 5 Regrets of the Dying.” 👇
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 hadn’t worked 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.
1- This first one is BIG. Maybe the biggest (I’m glad it’s first for a reason) Pop culture seems to be heading in this direction right now. FULL AUTHENTICITY. BE YOURSELF. “You do you boo boo.”
2- So not Modern American idealism… but SO important.
3- YES. How can you express your feelings if you don’t practice and if you don’t have education on what your feelings are called and are.
4- Friends. The secret to a good life. At least overtime I’m starting to really believe all those quotes about it. It’s only taken me 30+ years to see and believe that friends are the “special ingredient” in so many ways.
5- I think this one takes the first 4 to help aid in. Its a deconstructing of old standards, a reinventing of what brings “you” fulfillment and a release of the control that keeps you from letting yourself laugh, taking that moment to “be” or allowing yourself to “let go” and ride the wave.
Are you curious what my easiest and hardest ones are?
I’ll share 🙂
Easiest for me currently: Probably 2 and 3.
Hardest for me currently: Probably 1 and 5.
4 is a stand alone in my life right now. I love my people.
When I answer this for myself, I am shown where my focus can be attuned to for a while in my “emotional/mental/spiritual gym.”
-My muscles are not as strong in these categories.
-I can adjust some of my workouts to strengthen these areas.
One of my favorite metaphors about life I read once in a book for “family success” is that we are pilots of an airplane. The airplane is flying in the sky. It has destinations. Pit stops, layovers, maintenance needs.
While flying though, the plane is RARELY perfectly consistently in it’s most exact line to its the next destination.
The pilot has MANY gauges, coordinates, and compasses they are looking at which seem to persistently move. A few degrees left, a few degrees right.
The job of the pilot is to keep course correcting until the plane eventually arrives to its stop.
We get where we want to go by consistently course correcting.
We are not trains on tracks. We are planes in the sky.
I would LOVE to live a life with SO few regrets.
I feel like this list applies to all of us.
We are currently living. We are also currently dying.
Take this list from those right at the end of their life, and do with it what you will.
I wonder if we could learn (ahead of “our time”) from these whose dying regrets were all around the same 5 things.
What if we were to apply that interesting small front part of our brain that allows us to “think ahead” (and instead of let it wander and worry and daydream…) we can use the end destinations we desire to “go to” to motivate our course corrections now.
I don’t know “your” current state of “alive-ness” or “dead-ness” but you are on the mortal scale with me.
I found a quote that explains how “I” feel right now. I think I’ll end with it for today.
“She was singed, bleeding, bruised, and furiously alive.”
― J.D. Robb
Thank you for taking time out of your life to spend a moment with me sweet thing,
Taking that love in.
Sending that love out.
As long as I live and longer,
2 thoughts on “The dying say…”
1. This one is a life-long pursuit for me. I started out with my direct and goals set by the expectations of others. I believe that it is rarely any other way.
But as I’ve examined my life in an ongoing basis, like that pilot in your analogy, I’ve seen my maturing desires change the course of my travels. Those early influences may have me traveling to the same country, but I’m no longer headed to the mountains. I’m on my way to the beach.
That may not sound like courage. But I’ll simply say that I’m happier and more comfortable in my own skin with the choices I’ve made along the way.
2. This is true only if you count employment. I don’t know how traditional the family you grew up in was, but my son used to condemn me mercilessly for being at work more than he wanted. Then he got married and had kids. Only then did he apologize to me for having to work as much as I did, because he found himself working longer hours than he wanted to support his growing family.
That said, i took as much time away from work as my employer would allow to make as many of my kids’ recitals and dance performances, soccer and football games, and even field trips to let them know how important they absolutely were to me.
3. It took some time, but I think I’m good with this one. Being of the male persuasion I’m not a big talker. But when pushed, I can emote with the better ones.
4. It’s good to get together. And I believe I was more social as a child. But since there are really only a few people in this world one might ever call a true friend (count them on one hand), I’m happy to engage with them as life allows.
5. Nah! I maybe laugh too much and could be considered irreverent or cavalier. Life is funny. People are crazy.