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Regrets of the Dying


I don't know what it is about the inevitability of death that fascinates me so much. After all, fascination isn't really what most people associate with the guaranteed mortality that we all face at some unknown point in our lives. But being that dying is the only thing that is certain for all of us, I keep wondering why more people don't somehow, over the course of their lifetime, learn to accept the fact and come to peace with this while they are alive?

This brings to me to a situation that occurred at work this week. I received the news that one of my colleagues had passed away over the weekend. He was young and it was due to a recreational sporting accident. Sadly, this isn't the first time I’ve received news of this type during the past few years. If I rewind back to my first year living in New York the memory of another office mate unexpectedly dying haunts me. The part of the cycle of life never comes easily—no matter how young or how old. 

Another affair that is sticking with me, and quite frankly inspired me to write this blog, was the resignation of a colleague last week. When asked what she was going to do with the next chapter of her life she responded, "I'm not sure." She said she intended to take some time off from working. Maybe start a family. Volunteer more. Travel some. When hearing this, most people responded, "oh" or "wow, how interesting" or "won't you get bored?" but not me. I was silently thinking "you go girl, go live YOUR life."

The point is that life is short for some of us, longer for others, but in the end it would be my only hope that we can all look and feel that we've lived our best life. Regardless of what you believe happens after death, live while you're living! Take a look at this interesting article by Bronnie Ware who is a writer and songwriter from Australia, also known for her inspirational book and articles. Ware worked in palliative care for many years where her patients were those who had gone home to die. She was with them during the last weeks of their lives.

I think living a full life is as basic as "learning from other people's mistakes.” Ware found that out of the people who had the 'opportunity' to know when they were going to die (some of us will never have this 'privilege') no one wished they would have worked harder. Something my colleague that resigned had quietly said to me in private.

Well, she's right. We still have an opportunity to grow even down the last few breaths we take but while we're still alive and healthy why not consider these common themes and let them inspire us to stay in touch with our friends, spend more time with our families, work less, express our feelings, be true to ourselves and most importantly be happy!

I'll leave you with this (thanks Ware for sharing): Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

Signing Off Living Life to the Fullest,

Bronnie Ware is a writer and songwriter from Australia who spent several years caring for dying people in their homes. She has recently released a full-length book titled The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. It is a memoir of her own life and how it was transformed through the regrets of the dying people she cared for. For more information, please visit or


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