“What is this life if full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.” – W. H. Davies
W. H. Davies sums up the philosophy that everyone should follow in two simple sentences. What is this life indeed if all you do is work? Won’t it be filled with regrets for the things you did NOT do when you are on your deathbed? Here are the top 10 most common regrets people have while dying-
10- Being too nice to everyone
Being diplomatic and nice to everyone has its flipside- the fact that you end up regretting not saying a lot of things. So tell your boss when he’s expecting too much out of you, don’t kill yourself doing it. Tell that annoying friend that she’s a drama magnet and that you don’t want to listen to her sob stories anymore. Tell your partner when he is being a jerk. Tell your neighbors not to let their dog shit all over your lawn instead of cleaning it up yourself. Tell people what you really think instead of holding back (but not every time, choose the right situation and don’t get kicked out of your job or end up without any friends.) One of the most common regrets that people have while dying is that they did not say a lot of things they really wanted to.
9- Not saving enough
Money may not be every thing but it sure counts for a lot. The trouble with money, however, is that it is so much fun to spend that most people often forget saving up is very important. A lot of people therefore regret not having a retirement fund set up for later, or having one that is insufficient. Living without a steady income coming in can be a tough thing, especially with the inflation in today’s age. Besides, old age brings with it a plethora of other expenses that may not be covered with the pension alone. Young and reckless living is fine as long as you remember that living your last few years comfortably is just as important, if not more. So make sure that you save a good amount of your income for later on in your life and don’t end up regretting not doing the same.
8- Not having children
A lot of people today decide to not have any children and concentrate on their careers instead. Free will is fine, but if you are making this decision too then make sure that you think it through properly. Having a family that you can trust and love is a great comfort. I am in no way condemning the people who don’t want to have children, just cautioning them to keep in mind that having kids around when you are aged and don’t have your jobs to occupy your whole day can be a great comfort. You will have to retire from your career someday, but a family is a comfort you will never have to give up. Feeling lonely in old age is very common, especially after one’s spouse passes away. At such a time, having children to take care of you and comfort you is a great help. So don’t view children as obstacles on the path of your success, because you might just end up regretting that thought while on your deathbed.
7- Not travelling enough
Our earth is a gorgeous place with many, many places that you must visit before you die. Most people have one place (or even more) that they want to visit before they die. Be it the pyramids of Egypt or the scenic beauty of Switzerland, the diversity and colors of India or the Eiffel Tower and streetside cafes at Paris, the fashion shows at Milan or the beaches at Brazil, everybody has places they want to see. Some just want to travel as much as they possibly can, explore as many countries and cities and cultures as humanly possible within a single lifespan. Truly, there is something exhilarating about meeting new people, trying new cuisines, learning new languages. The fact, however, remains that a very few people are able to fulfill this wish of travelling as much as they want to. Financial or familial constraints prevent people from traveling and holidaying in different cities and countries. That is why, one regret that a lot of people have is that they did not see as much of the world as they would have liked to.
6- Not having confidence enough
Lack of confidence can be a great hindrance in one’s path to happiness and success. People battle with their insecurities and under-confidence their entire lives, not realizing that everyone must die one day and that looking back, lack of confidence will seem very silly. So really, fight that stage fear while you can. Go out and fight for something you believe in. Dance like no one’s watching. Tell that obnoxious know-it-all to lay it off once in a while. Wear what you want to without being insecure about your body. Life is really too short to have no confidence in yourself and your beliefs. You don’t want to look back one day at the age of eight five and think of all the things you could have accomplished if only you had the confidence to go ahead with it.
5- Working too hard and too much
Leisure is a luxury that few can afford these days. With nine to five jobs, working hard for promotions and increments, trying to climb up on the success ladder and making money, one truly does forget to stop and smell the roses. The little pleasures of life get lost in the haze of working too hard. Most people, in the last few years of their life, look back on their years and realize that they worked way too hard and cut themselves too little slack. If you are one such person whose life revolves around their life, remember, a career is great but you can’t cuddle with it on a cold night. Work well and be successful, chase all your career-related dreams, but don’t forget to stop every now and then to take a breath. You need to be aware of the fact that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
4- Not spending enough time with family
This one is a direct offshoot of the previous point. Spending too much time at the workplace and too little at home will distance one from one’s family. Make sure that you make time for the most important people in your life, even if that means missing an occasional meeting to attend a school concert or taking unpaid leave to go on a holiday. Looking back, it is not the hours in the office that you will remember but the days spent frolicking on the beach with your kids. Can filing documents ever match up to taking a long romantic weekend with your partner? I really don’t think so. So take a break and start spending some time with your family.
3- Not saying ‘I love you’ enough
It is clichéd, but true. We are so caught up in our own world that sometimes we simply forget to tell the people in our lives how much they mean to us. Just because you don’t say it out loud doesn’t mean that you don’t care, but sometimes, saying it out loud will make the other person feel so much better. So instead of keeping it all in, just tell your husband that you love him. Tell your parents that they mean the world to you. Kiss your kids goodnight. Love and let people know that you love them, for you never know if you will have the time to say a long and loving goodbye to the people in your life.
2- Not being nice to people
How often have you snapped at people for no good reason? Let someone else take the blame for what you did? Screamed at your kid because your boss took out his frustration on you? Refused to help a person who genuinely needed it? Many people regret the fact that they were not nicer to others when they had the opportunity. Of course, it may partly be the fear of divine retribution in Heaven or afterlife that makes them regret their meanness. So be nicer, make an effort. Control your anger. Smile at the harried co-worker. Thank people when they do something for you. Forgive the ones who hurt you.
1- Not chasing dreams
We all have certain ambitions, dreams of making it big. Fame and power and recognition or simply contentment and a cup of tea. The problem, however, is that too many people choose not to follow their dreams because they seem too reckless, require too much effort, or because they have responsibilities they cannot forfeit. These are the people who, at the time of their death, regret the dreams they did not follow up on. Chase as many dreams as you can, fulfill your wishes as long as they don’t hurt others. Have goals in life and the courage to achieve them, no matter how trivial or how important they are. Life is too short to be living with regrets.