Why We Shouldn't Wait for Our Deathbed To Deal To Regret
Many of us live our lives as if we have all the time in the world.
We put our dreams on hold until ‘later’, live as if we are invincible, and rarely pause to think what life would be like if we weren’t a part of it anymore. Often we prioritise things that aren't truly important to us, and waste time on things that will later turn out to be irrelevant. And research has shown that often, it is only when people are on their deathbeds that they truly comprehend how precious and fleeting life is.
Those facing death often have regrets about their lives. Regrets about the way they have spent their time, or the things they have put their focus on. And unfortunately, for many, these feelings of regret come when they no longer have the time or energy to make the changes to fix these regrets.
The good news is, that for the rest of us, we have the power to create change in our life at any time. We do not have to wait until our deathbed for some amazing revelation about how we should have lived our life. Instead, we can harness the transformative power of death to figure out our true priorities and focus on what you care about the most.
I like to call this ‘reverse engineering’ our lives. Taking some time to connect mindfully with our moments, and to consider how we might feel if our days were up. It sounds like a negative way to spend our time, but I promise you, it’s a worthy exercise. By focusing on the end, we are able to identify the things we wish we would have done differently, and are able to take action in those areas of life to eliminate the future regret.
Using research and anecdotes collected from people contemplating their own deaths, we can learn about their most common regrets, and use this wisdom to change our lives today.
Why We Shouldn't Wait for Your Deathbed to Create Change in Your Life
According to Bonnie Ware, author of The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, there was one regret in particular that most hospice patients experienced. That regret was not going after their dreams. Many of us put our desires and dreams on hold, thinking we have time, or letting our feelings of fear hold us back. But unfortunately, this often means that we don’t ever get to do the things we have dreamed about our whole lives, which leaves us feeling unfulfilled when our time nears the end.
Losing Touch With Friends
As we age, we realise the true value of friendship and how rare it is to find people we genuinely connect with. Yet too often, life gets busy and we either lose touch with those connections, or we fail to invest the time to develop new friendships. This rings so true for me, and I’m so happy that I started to realise this, and therefore change it. If you can relate too, lets take the time and focus to reignite friendships now.
Working Too Hard
We all have bills to pay, so working is usually a necessity. But it does not have to take over your life. Many people regret working too much and too hard. Usually it means missing out on being around while our children are still young. Unfortunately, we can’t turn back the clock to get that time again! Make the most of it now!
Life is too short to be consumed by negativity. Remove yourself from situations that sap your energy and cause you pain. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a relationship, a job, a location or something else. It’s not worth living in a toxic space. Instead, let’s choose freedom and positive actions to create happiness.
Failing To Show Love
Love is a tricky thing. People don’t always know you are feeling it unless you tell them. Express it too much and it comes across as insincere. But letting people know how we feel is necessary to prevent regret. Kerry Egan, a hospice chaplain and author of On Living: Life’s Greatest Lessons and Last Thoughts from the Dying. She talks about how many people who are dying wish they had told their family members and loved ones how much they were loved.
So whilst death is inevitable, the good news is that our life is here for the taking any time we choose to embrace it! No one has to wait until the end to make a change. We can all take small steps to create a life of fulfilment now. That way, we shouldn’t have any regrets on our deathbed.