Last October I wrote about a book I’d recently read called “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying” by Bronnie Ware.
I found it fascinating! The author worked in hospice care for eight years before writing a blog post on the topic that ended up morphing into a book. She had some very interesting personal epiphanies while in the role of carer. The most common themes Ware identified as the source of greatest remorse by those she cared for during their final days include:
- 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 wished I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I’d let myself be happier.
“The Top Five Regrets of the Dying” has been read by millions of people and printed in more than three dozen languages since its launch in 2012. I’ve read a lot of impactful books in my more than half-century, but none have had a direct effect on me quite like this one.
As a result of my reading experience, I formed a plan to leave my job and pursue my passion to help others consciously parent their teens through public speaking and coaching full-time (courtesy of number one on the list).
Because of number one, three, and five, we’ve sold our home with a covered patio and pool to downsize into a townhouse with no yard. My husband and I are both building businesses (we plan get around to number two later), so we decided to take advantage of the strong real estate market and simplify our lives. Is the townhouse cozy? Yes. But it’s also incredibly liberating to be free of much of the space and stuff we didn’t ever use or really need anyway.
The other big shift in my life is directly correlated to number three on this list, the courage to express feelings. In July I am releasing a book about my own life journey entitled “Becoming Me While Raising You – a mother’s journey to her self.” In this 150-page memoir, I uncover and address the once unconscious beliefs I held about myself taken on in childhood which played out in my marriage and parenting for years. The result of that personal work? New, healthier beliefs which better serve the relationship I have with myself and with those I love most. This is now part of the work I guide others through.
Living a life regret-free doesn’t mean there is no anxiety about the future or wishes for different choices made in the past. Practicing a present-moment existence helps me keep the difficulties in perspective and learn to roll with the statement “nothing changes if nothing changes.” When I resist growing along with the ups and downs of everyday life, I risk getting stuck in patterns that aren’t happy or healthy for me. I think this is what the subjects in Ware’s book wanted us to learn and take away from their last days. It seems like a wise idea to heed their advice.