Chapter 7 We can choose

Have you thought about what it will be like to face death? It is one of life's great unanswered questions: what happens when we die? People talk about seeing a light, being welcomed at the ‘pearly gates', falling into darkness. Those rare individuals who have been at death's door and returned report different versions of the experience. When we arrive at that point and look back on our lives, what achievements will we be most proud of? What will we wish we had done differently?

In her book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware reflects on the insights she gained through her patients' stories about what they looked back on with regret as they neared death. Bronnie shares the five most common regrets of the dying:

  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 hadn't worked 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 I had let myself be happier.

These regrets are beautifully simple yet offer us a poignant reminder that when we look back on our life at the end, it is generally not with a wish for more, but a wish for less. Less comparison with others, less work, less fear, less isolation.

When we feel overwhelmed, overconnected and overstimulated it is easy to lose touch with what really matters to us. We feel we need to do more with our lives. When we are stuck in a web of comparison, life is lived ...

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