‘We can learn a lot from the dying. This is the basis of my upcoming book, ‘UnKick the Bucket’ (http://www.Kiruba.com/bucket) and am constantly looking for information that will add value to this learning.
‘The Top 5 regrets of the dying’ is a very popular post and has life-changing advice for us. Am surprised that many haven’t read this yet. So, here it is. Take your time to read through this message from a nurse who worked in palliative care.
“For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality.
I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
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 realize 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.
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn’t work 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.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
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.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
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.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
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. When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.”
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
This is a beautiful TEDx talk that emphasize two projects that I’m passionate about.
1) Creating Life Goals: How its important to introspect, be true to yourself and think beyond just creating a list of things to accomplish. Today, an inspired bunch of 12 people leave to our farm to be part of ‘The Bucketlist Bootcamp’. http://Kiruba.com/bucketlist
2) UnKick the Bucket: Life Lessons we can learn from people who have near-death experiences. This is a book project. The video focuses on similar lines on what we can learn from the dying. http://Kiruba.com/bucket
Do yourself a favor and watch the video.
I came across this particular piece of statistics while browsing through the Net last night. It says that an average Indian lives around 70 years. Lets do the math.
If you’re 20 years old, you have approximately 2,500 weekends left to live.
If you’re 30 years old, you have 2,000 weekends left.
If you’re 40, you have 1,500 weekends left.
If you’re 50, you have 1,000 weekends left.
If you’re 60, a mere 500 weekends.
A lot of things come out clear after reading this.
1) I will turn 40 this year and this means I will approximately have 1500 weekends to live. That’s just 3000 days of Saturdays and Sundays. That’s it. That doesn’t sound much at all. Think of how old you are and how many weekends you have?
2) It also shows the stark reality that our parents and grand-parents have much lesser time. We must consciously spend more time with them. Evenings and Weekends are NOT for work.
3) I learned something profound from my friend Chendil Kumar (CK), someone who survived a massive heart attack. He told me that in his second life, he has a choice to life happily and that’s what he has consciously chosen to. A great tip. This single meeting inspired me to start the ‘UnKick the Bucket‘ project to find the true priorities in our lives.
4) I have also leaned to consciously remove any negative-minded people from my life. We have a choice in life and lets exercise it.
5) On the contrary I constantly keep looking for people who have a zest for life and passion for living. They radiate positivity. Those are the people we must bring into our lives.
So, how many weekends do you have? Scarily small, huh?