As Recorded By a Nurse
Top Five Regrets of the Dying
A nurse has recorded the most common regrets of the dying. What would your biggest regret be if this was your last day of life? Bigger picture, what can we do to avoid being put in such quandaries? This 2012 article is from the BBC, Feb 1.
A palliative nurse has recorded the top five regrets of the dying.
There was no mention of more sex or bungee jumps. A palliative nurse who has counseled the dying in their last days has revealed the most common regrets we have at the end of our lives. And among the top, from men in particular, is 'I wish I hadn't worked so hard'.
Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.
Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. "When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently," she says, "common themes surfaced again and again."
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 realize 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 honored 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 realize, 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 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 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?
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JJS: To live a happy life, that does depend on one’s individual choices, but it also depends on one’s social context. It’s much easier to be happy if one lives in a just society. If one had to work only to provide comfort for oneself and one’s loved ones, instead of also generate a surplus that the elite gobble up, then one could work much less without having to sacrifice a comfortable standard of living.
So it does behoove us all to contribute some of our time to understanding what a just society looks like, how to bring about economic justice, and then put such knowledge to good use.
Meanwhile, it’d be better to be a beneficiary of the system than a victim.
"Till death do we work," or ...
As headlined in The Metro, after the UK Chancellor George Osborne delivered the 2012 budget.
Phil Anderson: Now, we’re being forced to work until our 70s before retirement, those born this year may not get a state pension before aged 80, graduates may end up chained to their desks for 55 years after starting work...
With so much downbeat news coming out in 2012, what’s a UK citizen to do these days?
The fact is, we’ve seen it all before. Come along to the May 2 presentation and I will take you through just how cyclical history is, and how easy it is to have a very good idea of what is coming next for the UK economy.
Do I have any idea what will happen tomorrow? Nope. But over the larger time frame, year to year, the UK economy exhibits fabulous repeat behavior and it is possible to forecast this.
After running through the economic outlook, I will then outline positive steps each person can take to retire over the course of the next real estate cycle.
It’s your chance to make up your own mind on how to see future economic activity, before it happens, and then make sure you will not end up chained to your desk for the rest of your life as the Chancellor would have it.
Booking is essential prior to the event. Last year, the talk was full. Book early not to miss out.
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JJS: If you’re not in London, you might consider inviting Phil to where you are. The knowledge he offers is vital to building the world we all want.
Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .
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