So today was feeling sorry for myself, and was browsing and I came upon the following article about regrets of people dying. A worthwhile read for all, and I can safely say I have checked all the boxes for this one. This thought cheered me up and I began thinking about them and about other things I live by and I have see happening to others both past and present friends. In many cases I see love being the biggest regret, and for the biggest heart ache in many lives, and indeed when I see the two together the result can often be resolved and happier lives lived when you consider the following statements.
- Follow your heart no matter where it takes you!
- Work out whether you are in love, or whether you love a person.
So what do they really mean…?
Well first following your heart doesn’t mean do stupid stuff, like trying to break up a marriage for your own means, it means if you love someone and other parts of life get in the way.. Find a way, or move those obstacles out of the way. For example, if you are gay/lesbian, don’t let society get in the way of your life, be with who you want to be, and if the society where you are persecutes people for that, move elsewhere in the world where people who matter care. It also means move to the other side of the world if you need to. Quite your job and/or transfer, its not hard, and if you are really good at what you do, you can always go back to it if things don’t work out. If it means quitting something you like (e.g. eating fish, because the other person is mortally allergic to fish) give it up! It also means quitting work and going back to school to learn a new profession… You heart is not just about love of someone else, it’s about love of things you do as well… though in sincerity, I am referring more to matters of love between two people.
Second and the tricky one.. are you in love or do you love someone? This is a question you should ask yourself if you ever feel like you are trapped in a relationship, this is the question you should ask if someone is telling you you can’t be with someone, this is the question you should ask if you are ever unsure about the person you are with, wanting to be with, wants you to be with them… particularly if you and them are thinking about re-starting a relationship that previously failed…
What does it mean..? Well I’m not sure I can explain in words, but I will attempt. When you love someone, it can be like your mum, dad, brother, sister, your child, a very close friend etc.. someone that should they be ‘not around’ any more, you’d miss them, you’d be upset to see them go.. more than you would just as a friend, but not necessarily as much as someone you’d jump in bed with to have sex (though not excluding that either.) Someone you want to be with and share life with, someone who just ‘fits’ in with you. When you are ‘in love’ with someone you have all those things that you would as you love them, but there is something more. You think about them during your free thought moment, your mind wanders and they are there with you not matter where in the world they are. You worry about them when you can’t contact them, you think about them when you go to bed at night, and when you wake in the morning. You worship the ground beneath them (this can be in your mind, not in the real world, though a little bit of both goes a long way.) You often cannot bare to be apart from them for more than a few hours (though again, not a rule as you can be in love with someone on the other side of the world.) … I guess that’s the first things I can think of that describe the easiest things to explain about how I feel about the differences between loving someone and being in love with someone. It also should tell you that if you are getting back with an ex, considering splitting up with a current partner, have a look at what you have. If you love that person it doesn’t mean you should be with them, but it also means that you don’t necessarily have to be with them either… You could love them like a friend, a mother, a father etc.. you could also love them and they not love you back (always the path to misery that one.) One thing I have found though, no matter what, if you are ‘in love’ with someone, and they with you.. move heaven and earth to be with them, because therein lies true happiness.
Anyhow, enough of my posturing on love, the article as promised about the regrets of dying… and you will notice that some of the regrets are directly related to people not doing what I have said above (3 and 5!)
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
“Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
”This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”