If your life were to end tomorrow have you absolutely made the most of the opportunities you’ve had?
In 2009 a palliative care nurse called Bronnie Ware wrote an interesting on-line article in which she shared the most common regrets of the dying people she had cared for. They were as follows:
I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
I wish that I had let myself be happier.
We all know that we’re going to die one day but we keep ourselves busy and do our best to distract ourselves from facing this inevitable truth. Yet death is probably our greatest teacher and the wishes of the dying can offer us the most important insights into living the best possible life we can.
1. Are you mindfully making important life choices which mean that you’re living a life true to yourself or are you habitually settling for the easiest options?
2. If you had the courage to live more purposefully and meaningfully what would you do differently?
3. Do you work too hard?
4. Do you make the time to do things that make you happy?
5. Who is the most important person in your life right now?
6. What is the most important project in your life right now?
7. How much energy do you put into enjoying and appreciating the people, places and things that are most important to you? For most people sharing quality time with family and friends or pursuing hobbies/sport is most important and we work to maintain a lifestyle intended to make that happen. However, if we lose sight of why we work the time spent with our loved ones ends up being the over-tired, angry, resentful sort.
The stories we tell ourselves often scare us into accepting mediocrity. For example, If my work isn’t perfect, I’ll probably lose my job and then I’ll lose my home. For most people It’s easier to do unsatisfying work or be overworked than to summon the courage to explore new opportunities that could lead to a more purposeful and fulfilling life.
8. Are there people you’d like to spend more time with but you’re not making them a priority and if not, why?
9. If you didn’t see the people you care about most again, would you be confident that they knew how you really felt about them?
10. If you could go out to the end of your long, courageous, happy, meaningful life and imagine sitting in your rocking chair, what would advice would you give to yourself now?
Contact me if you’d like to explore how to live your life more wholeheartedly x