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2 years ago

Almost all of us are busy. Life's happening. Everything often distracts us from getting around to those tasks that we know we should do.

Practicing soccer. Each work. Renovations of houses. Having the next big promotion.

And in recent years, things have only become busier with the rise of always-on smartphones and tablets supplying a fire hose of urgent emails, not to mention Twitter and Facebook (FB).

We know in the back of our minds that we're neglecting certain things we should do. We never get around to it, however.

Anything, then, occurs. A good friend or loved one, maybe close to us in age, suddenly drops dead. We start worrying about what our greatest regrets would be if we were lying on our death bed all of a sudden.

Here's a list of the biggest ones that we're likely to get.

The question is, are you going to change anything in light of this list this afternoon or tomorrow? Or would you go back to your busy life?

1. To work too hard at the cost of friendships and family. How do you reconcile reaching the short-term deadline at work and sitting down with your family for dinner? It's hard. Worries are still there. What are my boss and co-workers going to think? Ok, it's not a big deal for me to stay late this time. "This weekend, I'll make it up with the family." But "making up" never seems to happen. Days transform into months, then into years, then into decades.

2. In school and in practice, standing up to bullies. Believe it or not, many of our greatest regrets in life have to do with stuff that happened to us early in grade 4 or some other generation. For not standing out to the bullies, we never seem to forget or forgive ourselves. We were afraid, too. We wish that we'd been more secure. And, by the way, most of us have encountered a bully in our work life as well. He may have been our supervisor. We recall that we wish we had told him off one time, even though it cost us our jobs. In hearing the that bully later on made some tragic career stumble, we generally take some small consolation.

3. Remained in contact with some good friends from youth and childhood. Usually, there is one childhood or high school friend with whom we were best buddies. One of us, then, moved on. At first, we should have kept in touch, but then we got busy. We thought of picking up the phone occasionally, but we may not have their number or email anymore. We are still curious what it would be like to sit down for a coffee with them again.

4. Left my phone at home, turned my phone off. Many of us can't get rid of our email/phone addiction. Next to us, we lie with it. We constantly bring it with us. It's in the bathroom right next to us, just in case we see a new email icon light up through the steamed glass of the shower. We know that in the evenings and on weekends, continuously updating email and Twitter takes us away from quality time with family and friends. Yet, we're not stopping.

5. Breaking up/getting rejected by them with my real love. For most of us, romance is an environment of great regret. We might have dumped someone we wish we hadn't. They probably dumped us. For the remainder of their lives, most play a never-ending game of "what might have been." If you're always looking back to what you once had, it's impossible to only be content with the love you've found and take away from the special moments you have now, which might not have actually been half as good as we thought it was.

6. Worrying about what so many people think of me. Most of us put way too much emphasis on what we think about other people around us. How are they going to judge us? At the moment, we believe their views are essential to our success and happiness in the future. None of that matters on our deathbeds.

7. Not having faith in myself enough. Linked to the previous argument, for most of us, a major regret is wondering why we had so little self-confidence. Why have we allowed others' doubts to weigh so heavily on us instead of trusting our own convictions? We may not have felt we were worth having what we wanted. Perhaps we were all thinking badly of ourselves. We wish we could have been more self-confident later on.

8. Living the life my parents wanted me to live, rather than the one I wanted to live. A lot of us get sucked into living the life that we think a successful son or daughter should live, linked to the lack of trust. We make important life decisions about where to go to school, what to study, and where to work, whether because we're specifically informed or just because we implicitly accept it, because we think it's what's going to make our parents happy. Our happiness is derived, or so we believe, from their happiness. It's only later that we learn that friends around us are dying and we don't even do what we want to do, 1 or 20 years on. A panic can begin to set in.

9. "I still wanted to apply for that "dream work". We may not have applied for the job we always wanted because of a baby, or because our wife didn't want to move to the cities. For us, it may not have been the dream work, but we still regret not trying it out. Do you believe that Katie Couric regrets giving a shot to the nightly news gig? Hey, no way. Often you swing and miss, but later on, you have no regrets.

10. More have been happier. They didn't take life too seriously. It seems weird to say, but most of us don't know how to have a good time. We're too serious a way. We're not going to find humor in life. We're not messing around. We don't think we're hilarious. So, we're going through a very serious life. That way, we miss out on half (or maybe all) the fun in life. Do something today that's a little dumb. Crack a joke with the driver of the bus, even though he ends up looking funny at you. Do some dance. You're going to smile, probably, on the inside if not the outside. Stop doing it now, day after day.

11. The family/friends went on more holidays. The majority of people remain close to home. They're not going all that much. Yet, the things that memories are made of later in life are big trips with friends and family-to Disney World, to Paris, or even to the pool. We're all thrown together into some new, unknown situation. As a collective, we have to work it out, and it is enjoyable, even when it rains. We recall trips for real.

12. Teaching my kids to do more things. Kids love their parents, but they are much more fond of doing things with their parents. And it doesn't have to be a Four Seasons holiday. It may be to rake leaves, learn how to throw a football, or to clean up a playroom together. We have learned all the little behaviors by mimicking our parents that we take for granted in our own actions. We're robbing them of the ability to imitate us if we don't make the time to do things with our kids.

13. To trust the voice more in the back of my mind. Most of us have had the experience of a little voice in the back of our heads warning us that something was wrong here, whether it was as simple as taking a job that we were not very happy about or as complicated as being the victim of some crime. We circumvent the voice a lot of times. We assume we know best. We do a matrix before taking the job and find out a way to prove to ourselves that, analytically, this makes sense. We hear later, much of the time, the voice was dead right.

14. When I had the opportunity, I did not take care of my health. Not everybody cares about their health before there's a crisis. And at that point, if we get better, we promise ourselves that we're going to do better for our health. It should not take a big calamity to get us to make our health and diet a priority. Each day, small habits make a big difference over time here.

15. Being a better mom or dad. There isn't a legacy greater than our children. Frequently, they turn out fantastic. However, when our kids fail, there's nothing greater than making us feel bad. Yet, as they begin to display signs of issues with education, or friends, or otherwise, there have also been several years that have passed in which we should have spent more time with them and certainly should have. No case, however, is ever lost. There is still time for our relationships with our children to change. But, another day can't wait, particularly if it's a relationship that has been neglected for years.

For most of these regrets, we can all relate. We can't change the past, so to launch a pity party, this list is not meant for you.

The question is what are we going to do for the rest of our lives to ensure that while we're in the hospital waiting to say farewell, we don't feel any of these regrets later on.

If you have any regrets that you would like to express, please leave them below for everyone to read in the comments.

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2 years ago


If there is something that I'm still regretting until now is that I crossed the wrong path to make my parents proud. I really wanted to be a chef someday but things are rough for me, I really can't afford the tuition and my scholarship is not enough for that, I already told them that I wanted to be like that but they just ignore me they think I should find another course to take. Now I'm taking Business Administration and I think can use my knowledge to build my own restaurant someday and me being chef also. I hope so. Being a Working student really make things hard form me, but I think maybe one day, still hoping and claiming to be future chef one day. So for now I will make my parents proud that I can be what I want.

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2 years ago

Good luck. Always focus on your goals. You'll achieve it later in time.

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2 years ago