How to Make Sure You Don’t EVER Have The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying

This is not a morbid discussion. Au contraire, mon amie – this is about LIVING fully, living with so much juice that you go to bed thinking, with a smile on your face, “If I died right now, I would have no regrets.” And you sleep wickedly well so you could have another awesome day tomorrow. This topic is far from being about death. It is about living life Full On.

I had a big wake-up call when I was diagnosed with cancer – twice. It made me rethink my priorities, assess my life, and dive into my soul to do some deep work. The clarity I received around having death approach me a little too close for comfort was exquisite. However, no matter how scary cancer might have been – and still is in many ways – it is nothing compared to actually dying, especially knowing you are dying. It also means that the clarity received while knowing you are dying is that much more vivid. And we should pay attention to that.

It’s not uncommon in Tibetan Buddhism to hear that we are all dying, actually – the process starts immediately after we are born. None of us know when we will die – we just know for sure that we will, no matter how much green juice we drink, or how mach safety gear we wear when we are out playing our extreme sports, or how many risky things we avoid. Still, it is often easy to forget about this (or ignore it).

As a society, we often avoid thinking about death so that we can pretend it won’t happen to us. We may think that by thinking about it, it will happen sooner. Or that if we don’t think about it, it won’t happen. Or that if we think about it, we’ll get all sad and depressed.

The goal of reflecting on death is NOT to get all nihilistic and say, “So what’s the point?” But in case you DO head down that path, the POINT, my dear badass, is to remember that this life is precious life, so we must live it balls-out, full on, with wild abandon, and honoring your heart and soul, celebrating this preciousness with others.

The goal of reflecting on the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying is to realize that THESE are the issues that become most important to you when you review your life, your accomplishments, your challenges. Take it from the people who have gone there – to death and beyond – and don’t wait to start addressing these things now.

In one of my last posts, I spoke about how change is a Universal Law. That totally applies here. Change – and its counterpart, impermanence – is the only constant. The only thing we know is that things change and don’t last, including us! So we need to use this realization NOT to bog us down, but to motivate us to get off our ass and head outside to gaze at the moon, and hell, howl at it while you’re at it!

The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying were recorded by Bronnie Ware, a palliative care nurse in Australia. She cared for people in the last 3 months of their lives, and suffice it to say, making more money, climbing Mount Everest, or having a threesome were NOT on the list. Look over these regrets and know that you want to do things differently right NOW, so you don’t have to worry about these.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

:: Freedom Junkie Antidote: Cultivate your Ziji (= radiant inner confidence!). Follow your dreams, GO FOR IT! Take care of your body so you are healthy enough to fulfill your dreams. It’s not about health – it’s about what health allows you to DO. Get clear about what is important to you and exactly how you want your life to be. If you don’t know where to start, download my free eBook, “The Freedom Junkie’s Ultimate Guide to Getting Clear” (you can find the form on the sidebar). When you are clear about what you want, it is much easier to cultivate the courage to do what it takes to get it;)

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

:: Freedom Junkie Antidote: This is most common with the breadwinners of a household. Make the time so you don’t miss your kid’s birthdays, milestones, and the precious smaller moments. Instead of saving up your vacation time for “one day, ” or worse yet, hoarding your vacation time for when you “might” get sick someday, take time to enjoy life! I love Tim Ferriss’ idea of taking mini-retirements and not waiting until you are 65+ to have any fun. Re-think about how you can simplify your life so you have more TIME instead of more STUFF. And when you have that time, use it to develop quality memories and experiences!

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

:: Freedom Junkie Antidote: Don’t suck it up just so you don’t rock the boat. If you don’t honor your needs, you will end up bitter and resentful and tolerating things instead of actively creating your life. While it isn’t useful to complain or bring people down, it is powerful to ask for what you want, make requests, and express yourself in a healthy way. Only then can others know what may be going on for you, and those who truly care about you will step up. Those who don’t? Move on.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

:: Freedom Junkie Antidote: We are social beings, and people with a strong sense of community are happier AND live longer. We all know how wonderful it feels to be acknowledged for who we are, and it can sometimes be easy to forget how good it feels to honor OTHERS in our lives that have given us so much. We can often think about how important it is to forgive people and to not hold grudges. However, it is just as – if not more – important that we let others know how much they mean to us. Stay in touch with your tribe, and let them know {frequently} what they mean to you. Make the time to be with them and love on them.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

:: Freedom Junkie Antidote: I am going to say something rather controversial (so what’s new, right?). Check this out: Happiness is a Choice. If you’re in a  funk, you can choose to be happy like THAT ** dramatic SNAP**  I’m not saying you “should” do that. I am a huge fan of letting crappy feelings wash over me so I can move through them sooner. What I am referring to here is making a choice to be happy when sitting in the funk no longer serves you. Don’t be attached to old patterns and habits that lead to your suffering. Don’t be afraid of change – look towards it fiercely! Lean into your joy and your dreams. If you are a pessimist, learn how to be optimistic (you can actually do this!). Don’t worry about looking cool or that being too easy to please is the sign of a dork or simpleton. Be THRILLED at things that are new and good. Clap. Dance! Howl. Twirl! Skip. Yeehaw! Feel your happiness fully. It’s the coolest – and sexiest – thing ever.

I know that because you are a part of the Freedom Junkie tribe, you will look over these 5 things and take some action around them. But what your own personal regrets?

What is one of your biggest regrets right now?

What’s one thing you can do to help release it?

If you want some help with this, schedule a free strategy session with me ASAP and let’s get you unstuck. Pronto.