Bronnie Ware worked in palliative for many years, taking care of patients in the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
She made a list of five regrets of the dying collected from conversations she’d have with her patients.
- 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.
What strikes me as I read this in the new year is their regrets had to do with things they didn’t do. None of their regrets have to do with anything outside their control. They don’t regret the cards they’ve been dealt, it’s about how they played their hand.
The first one hits me in the gut because, whether I admit it or not, I am such a people pleaser. Not doing what’s expected presumes that people will be disappointed in me.
It hasn’t been until very recently, I’d say in the last few months, I made peace with that fact. Peace meaning, I didn’t feel guilt knowing I let down some people.
Another year continues, and I think I’ve done the best I could with the last one. This is a good reminder over all for me to make sure I am making choices for what really matters.