Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Regrettable Life or Unforgettable Living

   Recently I came across a post that linked to a webpage that outlined the five top things people regret when on their deathbed, as revealed by a hospice nurse. I found it to be an interesting read that struck profound thought within myself…particularly about the way I’m currently living my life.

   Of the five regrets listed, three of them stuck with me more than the rest, probably because they have the most relevance to the situations life brings my way. 

   Now, there may be some people reading this that have never once wished they made an alternate decision ever in their life. Kudos to the perfect among us that get it right all of the time. I’m certainly not one of those people, try as I might. However, I certainly don’t want to be one of the people having such profound regret about certain aspects of my life just when it’s on the verge of ending.

   So…I’ve decided to examine closely these regrets had by others so that I can learn from their experiences instead of repeating them.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

   Said to be the most common regret (and thus #1) due to dreams going unfulfilled. I take it a step further to mean actually determining your actions, both minor and major, based on the opinion others may have as a reaction. Living life in fear of the opinion of others not responsible for your happiness (since you are) is just no way to live for me. 

   I have also taken a measure of how close my reality has thus far come to my dreams and find myself in need of more concentration and commitment to those things I wish to accomplish. Not an easy task (considering my dreams), but I have zero chance if I give zero effort, and that just won’t do for me.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

   Said to have primarily happened to keep peace with others (and #3 on the list), this one is particularly a tough one for me, being a Capricorn, suppression of emotional expression is par for the course. The irony is that Capricorns are among the most emotional. I’m often called a Vulcan, which is not an insult since it is such an apt description. Many associate Vulcans with having no emotions, but the truth is their emotions run even deeper than Humans and thus, the suppression a greater and more tasking undertaking.

   The bottom line is living in suppression probably brings more problems than it solves, and I could do with less problems. Thus the voicing of how I feel will be taking a more prominent role in my personal interactions. Dare I say many people will be surprised at getting a real look at someone they think they know, but I’d rather that than having this as one of my deathbed regrets.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. 

   Happiness is a choice that everyone should make long before they are at the end of their life (although # 5 on the list). The comfort zone and familiarity of patterns and habits, while having a stability effect, doesn’t always bring true joy and the free expression thereof. Sacrificing being content because of a fear of change is a price that will surely seem too high when the grim reaper comes calling.

   Again, I have many desires, but wishing I had let myself be happier when the opportunity to do so is no longer available is not one of them. There are many things that can make me angry, sad, and depressed…but I can always choose to smile in the face of those situations, accepting that I have a full range of emotions and the negative ones need not be sustained.

   I have had many lifestyle changes…most recently the cessation of eating meat, all animal protein really (not really feeling fish anymore…the last bastion of my guilty desires) and feel much better. After digesting my thoughts about those things most regretted by others at the end of their lives, I see another lifestyle change for me looming on the horizon.

   Switchfoot said it best…”This is your life, are you who you want to be?”

   Hopefully this post has inspired some “kreative” thoughts for those that read it, and positive effects thereafter.

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