I saw this video on Instagram, but I didn’t pay it any mind, despite how much I agreed with the subject matter. Then, a dear friend of mine, who is a nurse by trade, sent it to me and I rewatched it. She kindly asked me to elaborate on the video and how could I say no?
In the video, a man shares the 5 most famous regrets people have before they die. The list was compiled by a nurse, who spent a significant amount of time with people who were dying from various diseases. They would tell her stories about their lives, and with time, she decided to make the list. So, I sat down, listened to all of them, and I thought I would share them with you while adding my little take on each regret.
5. I wish I had made myself happy
Let’s not even get into the definition of happiness. Simply because happiness is relative, subjective, and highly unstable. Happiness is like everything on this earth; it goes up, then it goes down and the cycle starts again. However, I am sure people who are nearing the end of their lives, wished they could have done more of the things they loved, the things that made them smile and laugh. It could be anything by the way; sitting outside, enjoying the sun, swimming in the ocean, painting something, reading a book, spending more time with the parents, the wife/husband, the kids, friends, watching movies, travelling, etc. I don’t know what makes people happy. I know what makes me happy and you know what makes you happy. So, pursue that. I am positive it doesn’t require a fortune to be happy, people! Come on! Do that thing you always wanted to do. Take that dance class, learn how to sow, write, paint, run that marathon if you want, hop on a plane, and go on that trip you’ve been dreaming of since you were a kid or a teenager. Whatever the fuck it is, do it. If you don’t do it now, when are you going to do it? This life is shorter than we think. Make yourself happy and remember happiness comes and goes. But doing the things that bring a smile on your face or a warmth in your heart, is extremely important and underrated.
4. I wish I would have stayed in touch with my friends
Aren’t we all guilty of this silly and sad behavior? This one just made me think of all the people I should keep in touch with, but I haven’t. You know, the thing is, I could find right now a million reasons why I haven’t kept in touch with them. Nevertheless, in life, we only need one reason to keep in touch with someone. I am guilty of that, as much as anybody. Moreover, we have so many ways of communicating nowadays, with this fabulous technology. A message, a DM, a call will do the trick. Nevertheless, in the end, nothing beats physical contact, I must say. A hug, a kiss, a day spent drinking, eating, joking, laughing, and talking with the people you love, is the best kind of day. As I am writing this, I am reminded I should rekindle some flames that have lost their once illustrious fire. All relationships go through peaks and valleys and unfortunately, some relationships die. But the relationships that do not die despite the distance, time, and life itself, should be praised, protected, cared for, maintained, and appreciated. Ok, I gotta go…There are a few people I gotta text!
3. I wish I had had the courage to express my feelings
I call this “the biggest scam ever created, and well perpetuated”. By scam, I obviously mean the famous motto that stipulates “don’t express your feelings”. As I get older, I can’t accurately say how inhumane and plain stupid that motto is. Don’t express your feelings…Why? What is the worst that could happen? You’ll get hurt? So, what? Are there people out there who do not know that one of the ever-present shadows of life is pain? Yes, pain is part of life. Yes, by expressing your feelings you are exposing yourself. You are being vulnerable. Malicious people can manipulate you, hurt you, take you for a ride, betray you, and basically ruin your life or your whole outlook on life. But…not expressing your feelings? What a waste of time! What a tremendous emptiness! What a life filled with sadness! I say, fuck it! Express your feelings. Especially tell the people you love how you feel about them. Say, “I love you” to your parents, kids, wife/husband, friends. I know it is hard for people who are not used to saying it. I get it. However, once you start saying it, I promise you, people will respond in kind. They will reciprocate and life will be easier. Knowing you love someone, and knowing that same person loves you back, expressing it, gives you an extra strength, a reassurance, and it creates a bond between you and the person you love. Plus, that bond will surely help you in your daily life. Yes, it adds value to your life! I know people who lost their parents and they never told them they loved them while they were alive. Hearing them talk about those missed opportunities, and there were plenty over the years, breaks my heart. Go ahead and express your feelings, even the negative ones. Tell people that you are not happy, tell them you are angry, disappointed, hurt, tired, overwhelmed. The right people will rush to help you. The right people will stick by your side, I promise you. Express your feelings now. Do not wait for tomorrow, because there might not be a tomorrow for you or someone you love!
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
This one is a tough one. As they say, “money shouldn’t be your main priority but the presence or absence of money, determines your life’s priorities”. And right there, we have the central predicament of this modern life. Most of us aren’t millionaires and certainly not billionaires, which means we must work to live. The way society has been set up by those who run it, meaning the corporations, has left us with little time to do much. People are after more money, promotions, and they are dying to distinguish themselves at work, in the hopes of making their lives better. A noble enterprise frankly. More money should equal freedom, but I believe that only works for the top 1% class of the wealthiest people in any society on this planet. So, to make more money, we end up working long hours, for not much pay and we help corporations make more money. If we are lucky, we get some sort of insulting amount for a pension and off we go. Then, we start thinking about all that time we could have spent with our families, friends, enjoying ourselves, being happy and so much more. Working hard is scam, for lack of a better word. Find a way to live a comfortable life, while balancing work, family, and leisure. Easy to say, hard to accomplish. But if you have been working for at least 15 years, in any field, you realize how work enslaves your body, mind and heart. Working hard is a scam because it robs you of precious moments in your life and we forget that living is the real purpose here. Find a compromise to live a sane life. People weren’t created to work hard; society wants us to work hard, a specific class which makes more money while we work hard wants us to work hard. Please, spend more time with your people, dedicate the weekend for fun stuff, go see a game, sit in a park, go for a hike, swim, cook, basically, enjoy life instead of working like a dog and missing out on things.
- I wish I had had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This isn’t number one by accident. This sentence makes sense to an indescribable degree. Society has rules which draw the lines within which we need to operate. Step out of the line, you are weird, a pariah, a rebel or worse, a criminal. I am not talking about hurting others or yourself. I am talking about not subscribing to society’s code. The whole “go to school, get a job, make money, have a family, buy a house, retire, go to an elderly facility and then die”. What kind of life is that? The usual life I would say, and it is sad to a certain extent. Now, should one go to school? Of course. But is school made for everyone? No. It isn’t made for me because I have tried, trust me. I love learning but I hate school. I also hate 9 to 5 jobs. I hate sitting in an office, doing mundane tasks. I did for it 15 years, and my brain almost lost its authenticity and life force in the process. Listen, for some people, the whole school and 9-5 works. I salute you and keep doing what you are doing. As you grow and get older, you start developing your own set of rules and moral code, and sometimes it doesn’t match with society’s. You wanna do something? Go ahead and do it. We live in an era where kids playing video games make millions of dollars a year and a public-school teacher makes $60,000/year, ok? Injustice of that statistic aside, I swear the possibilities today are endless. What is it that you wanna do? Go out there and do it! Personally, I decided to be a writer. It’s been the best thing that’s ever happened to me, production, morally and psychologically wise, and the worst, financially wise but I am trying to make it work, despite the endless frustration and financial instability. I decided to live a life for myself, with all the consequences that come along but at least I am living on my terms. So, if I ever fail, it will be on me, which brings its own array of complications. There is a freedom that comes along with doing something you want instead of something you must. I understand I live in a country where this type of life is possible for me, and I am blessed. However, living somebody else’s life, their dreams, setting your own expectations according to theirs, it will backfire at some point. How many people do we all know who studied what their parents wanted and married the person their parents strongly suggested? Are they happy today? Perhaps or perhaps not. Don’t worry too much about how people see you because people don’t care about you as much as you think. No one is watching you. Wear that outfit, get that tattoo, get that piercing, start that career, get that haircut, do carpentry, learn how to code, color outside the lines every now and then. Trust me, nothing bad will happen. You’ll be doing things for you, not against others. It is your life after all. Imagine being on your deathbed and regretting you didn’t take a trip you could have afforded, or that you didn’t take that class you always wanted because someone who you barely know, will judge you. Please…do not live like that. We live in a world where the possibilities are literally endless. So, do whatever you want, so long as you aren’t hurting people. Make yourself happy. Tomorrow ain’t promised.
Just one man’s opinion.
Now smile and go on with your day!