Top 5 Regrets of the Dying

A viral list raced around social media over the summer, purportedly written by a nurse about the top 5 regrets they’d heard from dying patients over the years. I didn’t read it because I don’t believe many of these stories are real, but the thought stuck with me.

I don’t have my own deathbed regrets yet as I’m only at midlife, but I do know the regrets I want to avoid. Here are the five I couldn’t tolerate having at the end of my life:
1. I mistreated others. Plato is quoted as saying, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” That pretty well sums it up for me.
2. Those who meant a lot to me didn’t know it. Hundreds of people have made my life awesome, enriched, rewarding, bearable, worthwhile. The very least I can do to repay them is to make sure they know what they meant to me.
3. I didn’t say thank you.
4. I didn’t live an authentic life. I have had a long, arduous journey to find the person I was meant to be. I must follow it with the courage to live life as that person.
5. I didn’t make the world a better place. Most of us will be forgotten within a generation of our deaths. But if I made a difference for a handful of others while I was here, then my life was worthwhile.

Wish me luck.

“Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.” –Sydney J. Harris

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About Kelly J. McCleary

Wife and mother of three, author, financial professional View all posts by Kelly J. McCleary

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