Last week I started typing one of these messages, and it went completely off track into another message that I was not ready to send, so I didn’t. As I was typing yesterday, I almost spawned off into a completely different message as well toward the end, but decided to erase it and save it for another time. A few hours after I hit send, it was clear to me that the two messages were meant to be passed along today; maybe for somebody that will read it, but without question for me.
I read an article by writer/song writer, Bronnie Ware – Top 5 Regrets of the Dying. The article is based on her time working in palliative care, where she was often with patients for the last 3-12 weeks of their lives. She gives the top 5 regrets, and offers an explanation and a little bit of wisdom or advice with each. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion of whether or not there are better explanations to these 5 regrets, but either way I found them interesting, and not necessarily surprising.
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I didn’t work so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish I had let myself be happier.
Most of these are in some way interrelated, and we each may struggle with some (or all) of them. Either way, we control them in the here and now.
I think my grandfather is a prime example of a man who controlled his life. He controlled his happiness. He controlled what he gave his time and energy to. He spoke his mind, and never minced words. And if he didn’t have anything to say to you, he wasn’t going to waste words on you. He even, as much as he physically could, controlled the way he passed. He joked. He laughed. He did things his way, and in doing so, lived a life that a book could be written about.
I think that’s the lesson. Choose to live a life that cannot be summed up in 3 minutes. Live a life that needs pages and pages of stories and pictures to even come close to telling it. Live a life that, as much as humanly possible, is on your own terms, and enjoy it as much as you can while doing so.
Make it a GREAT day!