Happiness and Regret

Happiness and Regret

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To be able to look back upon one’s life in satisfaction, is to live twice.               ~ Kahlil Gibran

A list has been flying around the internet from a nurse who does end of life care.  She listed what she recalled the most common regrets that people had at the end of their lives.  This was the list.

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

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard. (“This came from every male patient that I nursed,” Ware wrote).

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.

Many of these are themes that we have touched on in this blog and I think each are incredibly significant in our life and lead to number 5, letting yourself be happier.

1.  This is hard, to live a life that is true to yourself, you by default must be somewhat selfish.  However if you are going to be happy, it is a necessity that you work to approach this goal.

2.  This is a problem for most Americans, there have been a rash of articles lately relaying that Americans are granted the least amount of vacation time in the Western world and are very worried about taking what time they have.  This is something you must change in your life and yes boss, I’m talking to you as well.

3.  Early in my life this was a problem for me, I was someone who very significantly bottled up his emotions and didn’t express his feelings.  This left me angry, which led me to drugs and alcohol and a very out of control and dangerous portion of my life.  I was one of the lucky ones, I hit rock-bottom quickly and was able to use that crash to put my life back together, a difficult process but one that has paid innumerable benefits in my life and brought me to where I am today.

4.  Our lives get in the way, we lose people and I will never advocate hanging on to people who don’t respond to your calls and e-mails.  However, reach out and try, many times it will be a brief conversation and people will fade away again. But some, some will hang on and reconnect and fill holes in your life, take the time and reach out.  My best advice on this front and I’m half the way done myself and need to finish, is to write the really important friends a letter and tell them how important they are to you.  I’d love to take credit for the idea but Neil Young beat me too it and the lyrics are below:

“One Of These Days”

One of these days,
I’m gonna sit down and write a long letter
To all the good friends I’ve known
And I’m gonna try
And thank them all for the good times together.
Though so apart we’ve grown.

One of these days,
I’m gonna sit down and write a long letter
To all the good friends I’ve known
One of these days,
one of these days,
one of these days,
And it won’t be long, it won’t be long.

And I’m gonna thank,
That old country fiddler
And all those rough boys Who play that rock ‘n’ roll
I never tried to burn any bridges
Though I know I let some good things go.


From down in L.A.
All the way to Nashville,
From New York City
To my Canadian prairie home
My friends are scattered Like leaves from an old maple.
Some are weak, some are strong.

5. LET YOURSELF BE HAPPIER!!!!!!!  The world can be a horrible and dark place, we live and die in the end alone.  The hours between our birth and death are far too short to be miserable.  There is unimaginable beauty in the world, there are things that you can do that no one else has ever done, places you can go that will blow your mind and experiences that will melt your heart. Find and experience all of them, and take a moment, even during your most terrible hours and days and think about these things and smile.  Allow yourself to be happier! ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Happiness & Gratitude for the small things

Friends, Joy, Gratitude & Transition

Quotes about Gratitude, Happiness & Kindness

Happiness & the Benefits of Gratitude

Videos: Inspiration, Kindness & Gratitude

About Michael Kane

Michael Kane is a writer, photographer, educator, speaker, adventurer and a general sampler of life. His books on hiking and poetry are available in soft cover and Kindle on Amazon.
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