I read an article written by a nurse who cares for a lot of dying people and, consequentially, gets to hear a lot about their regrets. According to her, most are very common and can, in fact, be easily avoided. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado:
Summary of the five most common regrets.
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
If these are any indication, it’s actually not that hard to construct a life without regrets. Of course, your list might be slightly different (mine is) but it still makes a pretty good guideline. If I were to compile my own list, as it stands now, it would probably go something like this:
1. I wish I had my sh*t together earlier in life. Like, in my teens. It took me so long to figure out what I wanted to do, if only I had known I wouldn’t have spent all my 20s chasing after something that wasn’t going to pan out!
2. I wish I worked harder at things that mattered and didn’t bother with those that didn’t. Sometimes we get stubborn and pursue things for the sake of pursuit while being totally miserable, when we could be focusing on what will actually make us happy.
3. I wish I had better control of my emotions. It’s true, I’ve got a temper and light up like a match! I’ve gotten a lot better at controlling it over the years, but in the end of the day I’m still the same hypo-sensitive person inside.
4. I wish I had known my biological father. He died when I was young and I never got to meet him. All I have to go by is a couple old photographs and whatever anecdotes my mother tells about him.
5. I wish I knew how to relax! Take a vacation or something. (No work! No cheating! No exceptions!)