An Invitation and a Challenge

“A man is not old until his regrets take the place of his dreams.” ~ Yiddish Proverb

A few days ago I wrote about the importance in preplanning for end-of-life needs, be they our own or for a loved one. If you glanced over the post and moved on, be advised: I am revisiting the subject, from a different perspective.

For your consideration, here is a link that lists the Top 37 Things Dying People Say They Regret. My simple invitation is for you to take three minutes to scroll through this compilation.

Part I of the challenge is (I know, this may be difficult for some) to choose one of the regrets listed – that you will commit to not having in your life. Or… perhaps you are aware of another regret that you want to ensure does not manifest.

Part II is to share (in comments, if you are comfortable) why you are choosing to brighten your life by eliminating the risk of that regret.

It is my hope that this exercise creates a bit of positive awareness and makes you feel good.

62 thoughts on “An Invitation and a Challenge

  1. 16 is huge and one more people do than I think many out there realize. You cannot be a martyr in this life. It’s not loving to not love yourself enough to live the life you feel led to live. Thanks for sharing this list my friend.

      • Yes. It is my desire to change my unchanging perspective, so probably I will take to the grave ๐Ÿ™‚ I feel betrayed by the people I’m part of, these magnificent creatures, I mean, if itโ€™s true that our species is alone in the universe, then Iโ€™d have to say the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little.

  2. A thought provoking post. I have a few regrets at this point in my life and ‘enjoyed’ a three-year long midlife crisis. I am working to eliminate other regrets. Many of the things listed I have been able to do. I learned a foreign language, though it is long forgotten. I have been able to perform in front of people and wish I could do so again, but it is no longer quite so important. One regret I cannot let go of is being unable to talk to my grandparents. I was able to correct that to some degree by learning from my husband’s grandmothers and digging into genealogy.

    I thank you for posting this. Very important lessons I wish I had learned earlier, but I’m thankful I learned them before I was too old to correct them.

  3. #16, putting my happiness last, over that of others. I aim to change that now. I’m a nice person, sometimes too nice and do exactly this, putting my happiness on the back burner.
    Thanks for this post.

    • Angeline, I like your statement “I aim to change that now,” especially the “now” commitment. I sense your conviction and applaud your chosen action! Revel in the happiness you extend toward and shower yourself with. It’s deserved. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Nice post Eric, Your inner coach is really shining, now you’re giving us homework. What’s next? Weekly commitments! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll play along and pick #1 for more travel with a side order of better decisions so I don’t waste more precious life stuck in indecision. Thanks.

  5. Eric, whatever regrets one might have at the end of life I think for most people the worst one would be not having the opportunity to take care of the business of dying โ€“ tying up loose ends, saying things that need saying and bringing closure to one’s life while surrounded by loved ones. Everything else pails into insignificance. Unfortunately, this is not widely understood either inside or outside the medical profession, so many of us just end up dying alone in intensive care units without having this opportunity. The natural dying movement is gaining ground but change is glacially slow.

  6. Shallow Aussa says the one about the sunscreen. I need to do this.
    More mindful Aussa says the not-worrying and the not-wasting time. Those are two very big ones for me. I’m happy to know that I’ve traveled, gotten out of toxic relationships, and quit hateful jobs in the past though ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Good on you, Aussa, for having clarity about what’s deserving of your focused attention. I used to worry about worrying. Seriously. No mas. Good luck mitigating your two very big (potential) regrets!

  7. I guess I have regrets (indeed I do!) but I can’t change them now. I celebrate my life for what it was. I have moved on from my past (I was a catholic priest for 30 years). People say: “Good on you for moving on.” I feel offended by that. There was surely nothing wrong in what I did. I do not reject the only life I’ve had! So, Eric, no regrets. But lots of things today I might do differently!

    • I like “I celebrate my life for what it was.” What about ‘what it is?’ or is that included in your past? Good that you are comfortable with no regrets, Bruce. I believe many (most?) of us might choose to do some things differently. Lessons and experience – both are amazing, aren’t they? (Stated rhetorically.)

  8. What a beautiful idea. I live each day of my life with the goal to not leave this world with regret. Regret and resentment are bitter pills. If Unconditional Love were to become the motivation for every thought, every action in our lives, there would be no reason for regret. Not always easy, but what in life is? It does, however, heal all wounds. Peace to you Eric.

  9. Great one, Eric! I love the quote, too. I’ll never be old in that case, I aim to avoid all these regrets. Some I have already taken steps to avoid. As for the challenge, I vow to eliminate number 6; being afraid to do things. I have in the past allowed fear to prevent me from taking action I wished for. I’m getting better here, but I want to work on it and ensure I don’t let it become a regret later in life. Thanks for the prompt, good sir! Love your work! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I was surprised to have only one reader place a mirror in front of me. ๐Ÿ™‚ #16 – Supporting the dreams of others over my own. This is a tough one for me as my life has often been about helping others succeed and be happy. I’m working this one slowly yet steadily. It’ll be vanquished by the time my time comes. ๐Ÿ™‚ Appreciate your asking, EJ.

    • Somehow, I sense you’ll never be old. ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe your once invincible bones will creak more as time passes but your heart and spirit will keep you youthful. Good on you for choosing a challenging regret to eliminate. Fear is so prevalent among we humans, quite often for little or no reason. Keep working it, EJ! Thanks for your kind compliment.

  10. # 22 is my risk, but it cannot be eliminated, all my grandparents passed away either before I was old enough to remember or in my teens (early). I had a good relationship with the until then, but not the one you describe. Some things you cannot change.

  11. 26. Failing to finish what you start. Every day is an opportunity that shouldnโ€™t be squandered. I know we should live every day as our last, and leaving less business unfinished is a great reminder…..

  12. I have a few regrets but I’m kinda over regretting that I regret anything. I hope I’m at peace with any mistake I’ve ever made on my death bed. Lordy mercy, I sure don’t wanna think about dying.

  13. No regrets here. I view my life this way; each and every experience is an opening, a honing of a sharp edge. Ah, and then there are choices. We have the gift of choice, to BE, DO or HAVE (in that order) that which brings joy to our moment-to-moment experience. Where regret might seep in, is that space where we do not make the choices because we are afraid of something; which in our humanness is a common thread. Looking at the list of 37, I feel deeply grateful for my life. Byron Katie has a lot to offer us about the experience of life that has facilitated the change of my view of mine…and therefore my experience of it. Thank you for this thoughtful post, Eric!

    • Yours is a goal of many, Carrie; to have no regrets. My gut tells me that even some of the best-intentioned people may find something lingering come end-of-life even after a life of focused being. I, too, am grateful for my life and will endeavor to live it as fully as possible. How comforting it sounds and seems to be regret-free. Many, undoubtedly, will consider and desire a similar outcome. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

  14. If we are living โ€œfull livesโ€ there is little reason to get caught up in regret about people we didnโ€™t meet, books we didnโ€™t read (or write), conversations we didnโ€™t have, foods we didnโ€™t taste, pounds we didnโ€™t lose, movies we didnโ€™t watch, or places we didnโ€™t see . . .

    Happiness is not waiting for us at the end of the road . . . itโ€™s found here and now, by enjoying each step along the way!

    • I hear and agree with you, Nancy. Often. It remains my hope that more people would find and appreciate ways to “…enjoy each step along the way!” Yet I know, too well, that many have yet to find and live such freedom and end up with regrets at their end-of-life. We can speak about and enjoy “full lives” yet regrets still get woven (sometimes buried) in our being. This exercise was just a small way in which to create awareness and thus, leave open the possibility to effect positive change – now. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. A very thoughtful exercise. I could choose many of the regrets I would not want for myself when I drift towards the moment of last breath.
    Overall, I just want to live. Sometimes, I do certain things like going forth to explore the city or finding my way through the maze of unknown streets to feel my own self experiencing it. I am haunted by a part of me but I do not want it to overshadow these few moments that pass by so quickly. Moreover, I am standing on the path to self-sustenance and methods of society which have become quintessential for life. I am still looking forth… all I need is to walk.
    Thanks for this interesting post which definitely made me smile and think… a rare combination.

    • I applaud your desire and focus to “want to live.” It’s noble and realistic. A periodic check-in with ourselves is helpful, if just to reassure that we’re still on our chosen path and ‘undesirable’ elements haven’t somehow found their way into our being and journey. I am warmed that the post found you smiling and thinking. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. One regret I won’t have is #9 (terrible job). When I made the decision on a Wednesday, my last day was that Friday. Looking back, it was one of the smartest decisions of my life. I was miserable there due to the environment (people). Those five years turned out to be my darkest.

    As I walked out, unemployed at that moment, I felt I could breathe again. And my journey for inner peace and happiness finally began.

    As always, great post, Eric.

    • beebee, please pardon this extremely belated reply. I continue to be challenged at keeping up with comments that are shared measurably after a posting. Thank you for your kind acknowledgment of Awakening to Awareness. It’s one of my ‘labors of love.’ ๐Ÿ™‚

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