It was reported in the Guardian newspaper (UK) recently that a palliative care nurse who counsels the dying asked them what were their greatest regrets at the end of their lives.

Here are the top five regrets of the dying:

  1. I wish I’d the courage to live a life true to myself, not the lives 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 that I had let myself be happier.

As you are reading this, does any of the above strike a chord within you?  If so, what will you set out to achieve or change today?

Many of us are focused on making a living instead of actually living.  We are putting in the hours, working to earn enough so that we (and our loved ones) can have a good life.  Do we stop to enjoy and appreciate what we already have?  Do we live the life that we wanted or did we make compromises along the way due to circumstances?

The most common regret is that they lived the lives that was expected of them and did not fulfill their own dreams.  Every male patient had regretted working too hard and missing out on their children growing up and their partner’s companionship.

Many realized that they had suppressed their feelings to keep peace with others and then settled for a mediocre existence while others regretted losing touch with their old friends as they were too caught up on their own lives.

And what is surprising is that many did not realize that happiness is a choice.  Instead their lives were dictated by their old patterns and habits, staying within their comfort zones and fearful of change.

Each and every one of us can live the lives we want, to live by design.  The choice is yours.