As sure as the sun shines in the east and sets in the west each day is the fact that someday, we all must leave this life as we know it. Putting this thought away from our mind is not only foolish but unrealistic as well.
Just a few years back, selling a life insurance plan was frowned upon by many because they said ‘it was jumping the gun on destiny’. If that was the reaction to life insurance way back then, imagine what the reaction to memorial plans was! But times have changed, thanks God! Now, it costs a fortune make sure you have a space to be buried in and memorial plan salesmen are having a heyday!
Well, I may be wandering a bit far off from the subject of this article but my topic is still somewhat related to it. Let us think of the last moment before you avail of the memorial plan you bought. Studies gathered from palliative-care workers in hospitals show that the following wishes top the last-minute
regrets of their patients:
• “I wish I lived the life I really wanted”. If people were allowed to re-live their lives, most would wish they had lived a life they really wished they did. They could have fulfilled most, if not all, of their dreams. Sadder still was the thought that they could have done so if only they had made the right choices that they could have easily opted to. Was this because of their fear to try the unknown? Or was it because of their endless wait for the ‘right time’ until it was too late to act altogether? Or was it because of downright laziness to move? Whatever the reason was, it was too late for them to correct it. I hope this will jolt you to reality and find the courage to live the life you have always wanted, not the one which circumstances or other people dictate on you.
• “I wish I were not too busy”. Another regret that most terminal patients wished they did not do was to ignore their loved ones. Ironically, these were the very people they loved and for whom they spent most of their time making sure they were well provided for. Instead of spending more quality time with them, the patients labored most of their waking hours working for them. Only now did they realize that they missed to set their priorities right. They put more weight on the material things, thinking erroneously that these would make up for the care and affection their loved ones sorely needed.
This was true even with mothers who preferred immaculately clean houses over roughing it up playing with their children. And there were also the busy career women and society matrons who spent their time hopping from one charity event to another while neglecting to give their families that charity they was so busy giving to others.
Alas, all that was left to these busy people were few hours, definitely not enough time to make up for the loving hours they could have spent with their loved ones. If you would not like to have the same regret, re-arrange your life to include your loved ones now!
• “I wish I were much more open”. Some people keep things to themselves. They took this stance in life for several reasons, realizing at the end that none was worth the regret they feel at their deathbeds. Sometimes, this was caused by false pride. They had become too self-
centered and selfish and felt that sharing their thoughts and ideas was a diminution to their self-worth.
Others closeted themselves because of fear. They thought that opening up was a sign weakness and vulnerability. They were frightened people would uncover their façade and make a mockery of them. Late did they realize that most of their fears were all imagined.
Now, while you still have enough time, release those suppressed feelings in you. It could be that those feelings, especially the painful ones, are the hidden causes of your mental or physiological illness that can bring you closer to your deathbed sooner than necessary.
• “I wish I allowed myself to be happy”. This may seem to be an absurd regret but surveys show it is quite common. The reason for this was because many failed to realize that they were responsible for their own happiness. They spent their time waiting for it to come to them from outside of themselves.They always felt sort of victims of circumstances, that things only happened to them and they did not have the choice or control over them.
They were contented to live within their tiny world that was limited by their fear. They spent their lives slaves of their habits and routines within their comfort zones. Because of the self-limiting ideas that they allowed to fill their minds, they never had time to experience real joy and freedom.
Looking over these regrets and deathbed wishes, it is very sad indeed to realize that they could have been avoided early in life. In reality, lives for these terminal case patients have ended even before they reach their last hours because they lead lives bereft of real living.
For you who are lucky enough to still have the time to ponder over these things, don’t you think it is high time you do something now to avoid ever regretting these things?