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When You Die, What Will You Regret?

We recommend a book: The Top Five Regrets of The Dying by Bronnie Ware — a Sydney nurse who has cared for patients in the last weeks of their lives for many years.

Regret #1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

According to Bronnie, “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.”

Regret #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.”

(Most of the patients Bronnie nursed were of a generation in which the breadwinners were predominantly male. However, women who worked outside the home also spoke of this regret.)

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

“Many people suppressed their feelings to keep peace with others. They settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses exacerbated by their bitterness and resentment.”

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

“Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they 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.”

Regret #5. I wish I had let myself be happier.

“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize 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 themselves, that they were content — while deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”

When you die, what will you regret?