Do you know the most common regret of the dying? “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
Bronnie Ware spent years working in palliative care, caring for patients at the end of their lives. She wrote an incredibly moving article – which has now become a best-selling memoir – entitled ‘Regrets of The Dying.’ And her experiences and findings are moving, thought provoking, powerful.
If you haven’t already read this article, you need to. And even if you haven’t yet, I’m sure it’s not the first time you’ve read or heard or thought about the shift in perspective that takes place when people are facing the end of their lives. (And if you really want to be moved, check out The Last Lecture with Randy Pausch, it’s also pretty darn powerful…)
Not to go all morbid on you or anything, but one day you and I will be in this exact situation, looking back on our life and reflecting on how we chose to spend it.
And I really hope neither one of us will have any of the following most common regrets that came up:
- I wish I had lived a life true to myself, instead of one others expected of me.
- I wish I had worked less.
- I wish I had allowed myself to be fully self-expressed.
- I wish I had stayed better in touch with my friends.
- I wish I had allowed myself to be happier.
Sharing vulnerably here, one of my own biggest challenges is living my life true to me. Not only because of others’ expectations, or others’ expectations I have chosen to take on, but also because of the expectations I have placed on myself.
Yup, I thought I would be in a very different place in my life right now.
I thought I’d be married. Have a couple of kids. A dog. Maybe even a house with a white picket fence. (Actually, I’ve never really wanted a white picket fence, but I did want a front porch with a swing… still do!)
And yet, I have very few regrets with how I have chosen to live my life up to now.
And I hope it remains that way for the rest of my life.
But in order for that to happen, I have to live my life my way. I have to be me, and attempt to be even more me every single day.
I had a conversation with my female entrepreneurial mastermind recently, and one of the wise women shared with us her daily goal that sits on a sticky note on her bedside table:
To be authentically me in a world that is constantly wanting me to be something else.
It may sound simple, but it’s definitely not easy.
And yet, to me, that is what being brave is all about.
Brave enough to be YOU.
To show up in the fullest expression of YOU.
Boldly, bravely, unapologetically YOU.
Not trying to be anything other than you, for anyone. No pleasing. No pretending. No pretence.
What would that look like?
What would you be doing that you’re not doing now?
What would you not be doing that you’re doing right now?
How would you be feeling?
How would you be spending your time?
Who would you be spending your time with?
What fears would you be facing?
What dreams would you be dreaming?
What dreams would you be fulfilling?
What one action would you be taking today to move the dial forward in the direction of your dreams?
And if you can identify that one piece of action – why are you not doing it now? Will you do it?
The harsh truth is, tomorrow is not guaranteed.
And tomorrow never comes, anyhow.
All we have is today.
And today is the first day of the rest of your life.
How will you choose to be even more you, to live your life even truer to you, today? How will you be even braver today?
Big questions. Big life.
Have a FAB week!