I read a recent article about a palliative Nurse who has written a book with the top 5 regrets of those that are dying. It made for sad reading. The things that people most regretted were not things that might be on a ‘bucket list’ (Oh how I hate that term) that might cost lots of money or good health to do, but simple things like keeping in touch with friends, saying I love you or conversely saying I don’t love you, not working too hard, being happy and being true to yourself. Do we really live our lives trying to please others so much that we forget to live the life we want?
When I was in hospital recently a lady in the same ward had only weeks to live and she went through her address book each day making the difficult call to her friends to tell them of her imminent fate. I so admired her, she wasn’t going to let her friends find out by accident or to meet a family member sometime in the future and have to hear it that way, she took control and bravely told those friends that she was dying and gave them the opportunity to see her one last time. She did not want to pass away with a regret of not saying goodbye but I also think it was a way of protecting her family and unburdening them of the painful task after she had gone.
It is so easy to forget to tell a loved one how much they mean to you yet it is so easy and quick to do. I never leave the house without telling my husband that I love him and in his half-awake state he reciprocates. Would it matter if we forgot to do that occasionally? Probably not that much as we don’t need to say it to know it but I always feel better for saying those 3 words. I do the same with my children, it is important to me to remind them how much I care.
As for keeping in touch with friends I am awful at it, I really am. I have lost count of the number of friends that I just forget to call back or send a Christmas Card to. Do I regret it? Not overly. I do not collect friends for the sake of having lots. The friends I really care about and want to keep in touch with are the ones where we BOTH make the effort. Except it isn’t an effort. It will be something that I think I must tell X about, or I have just seen something that will make Y laugh, and we will pick up where we left off.
I have blogged before about working to live not living for work, so my thoughts on that are crystal clear both here but also in the office. I know that my family, my life and I am far more important than work. I work hard when I am there but I do not compromise the important things in life for the office.
I am not planning on leaving this world for many a year but it is good to remind yourself that you are living the life you want and that you have no regrets. And as for a ‘bucket list’, if you live the life you want the material things that often appear in these lists will be far less important in my opinion.
So go on, live a life you want to live with those you want to share it with, be happy and you won’t have regrets.