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Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse, spent several years working in palliative care. Through her daily dealings with people at the end of their lives she began to see recurring themes in their deathbed regrets of what they felt they had left undone. Bronnie recorded their insights into a blog about life’s purpose called Inspiration and Chai. This proved so popular she later collated her observations into a best-selling book called ‘The Top Five Regrets of the Dying’.
Ware observed that when looking back at our lives, regretting the path not taken is one of the most difficult things to curtail. It’s part of being human to ask, “What if?” or wonder, “If only.” Whilst our bucket list of wild and wonderful things to do, see and accomplish during our lives is unique and part of our personal DNA, Ware's book illustrates there are a few common themes that seem to crop up repeatedly at the end of life that hint at life’s true purpose. Far from being remorseful for not making that bungee jump or swimming with great white sharks, these regrets are surprisingly simple and divinely human. This fascinating and informative book also rewards the reader with the wisdom that it’s never too late to live a positive life, with no regrets, as explained by the ‘dearly departing’.
Top regret 1:
I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
Top regret 2:
I wish I hadn't worked so hard
Top regret 3:
I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings
Top regret 4:
I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Top regret 5:
I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Ware has made it her life’s work to spread the good news that we can learn from the above, and it’s never too late to reverse at least one of these regrets, if not more. Sometimes it’s as simples as making a phone call or giving a difficult conversation another chance.
What will you change now that you have the chance?