Your life, Respected Reader, will end. (insight of the day!) How and when it ends you will not know. How you choose to live until you die is another matter. I have counseled many people who have been close to death and many have serious regrets as to some of the choices that they have made. This article has been inspired by a number of people, events, and even the following song’s lyrics. You will probably recognize them as sung by Sinatra.
“And now, the end is near; And so I face the final curtain. My friend, I’ll say it clear, I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.
I’ve lived a life that’s full. I’ve travelled each and ev’ry highway; But more, much more than this, I did it my way.
Regrets, I’ve had a few; but then again, too few to mention. I did what I had to do, And saw it through without exemption.
I planned each charted course; Each careful step along the byway, But more, much more than this, I did it my way.
Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew, When I bit off more than I could chew. But through it all, when there was doubt, I ate it up and spit it out. I faced it all and I stood tall; and did it my way.
I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried. I’ve had my fill; my share of losing. And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing.
To think I did all that; And may I say – not in a shy way, ‘No, oh no not me, I did it my way’.
For what is a man, what does he got? If not himself, then he has naught. To say the things he truly feels; And not the words of one who kneels. The record shows I took the blows – and did it my way!”
Food for thought, those words! My focus here is that you, and only you, can choose how you live your life. A heightened awareness of who you are – strengths and weaknesses, dreams, goals, relationships, etc… all play into a life worth living.
I recently read a blog (please read mine at drstathas.com) by Bonnie Ware that spoke of her work in palliative care. Do you know what that is? It is a specialized care focused on the pain, symptoms and stress of serious illness. The role involves improving the quality of life of both the patient and the family. The Blog spoke of the “Regrets of the dying”. She writes about her experience and seeing how “people grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality.” In working with people at this stage of life/dying she found that there were five common regrets that were expressed most often.
- 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.
I am hoping that most of you, Respected Readers, have a significant period of life still remaining. Are you doing it in a “My Way” style and is that working well for you? Is it a life that will have few regrets, including the ones listed above? As you know the purpose of my articles is to be Socratic in asking some basic questions in examining your life and, hopefully, providing some insights and guidance to help you have a life worth living with few regrets. And your answers are?
“The unexamined life is not worth living” Socrates