“The Top Five Regrets of the Dying” – Regret Number Five

For some reason, I’ve kept seeing again the list of “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying” popping up recently all the time. It’s a list created by Bronnie Ware, based on her best- selling book that was hugely popularized by media, especially „The Guardian”.

These five regrets of people facing death are: 

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

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard

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

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

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier

I keep thinking about that list and wondering where I should make changes in my life. I want to break these points down in separate posts – each point will get a separate one. I start with number five, because it’s the easiest for me. The first one is definitely the most difficult. Let me rephrase that: it’s f***ing difficult.

I can just talk about them from my point of view and my perspective. There are as many points of views as there are people in this world. Something that’s important for me might not be that important for you. My values are not necessary your values. The only thing we all have in common is that we want to have a good life and to be loved (I believe we can all agree on these ones).

Let’s start with number five. I don’t believe in constant happiness. I think that saying “I just want to be happy” it’s like asking for eating ice cream all the time and not putting on any weight in the process. In other words – it’s not very realistic. You can’t be constantly happy; it’s impossible. But what’s possible and always doable is finding moments of happiness, in every single day. You don’t have to be rich to be happy about something every day. You just have to pay attention to what’s around you. There is always something to smile about (let’s put the obvious fact that you’re alive on the side): a cup of coffee, a ray of sun on your face, a good conversation (even with a stranger), the fact you can listen to your favorite song or the fact that you have an apartment you can come back to. But for some reason, most of us are focused on the things we don’t have. I hear “I wish I had/be…” a lot. I have my wishes, too, but meanwhile, I’m simply grateful for what I got so far. And I got a lot. Let yourself be happier. Find time for yourself more often. I know it’s a cliche, but – do what you like. Two years ago I suddenly got unhappy with my situation (I believe I wrote about it already), so I sat down and wrote down things that make me happy and asked myself – what can I do to have more of them in my life? And I made a new plan. I’m lucky because I don’t need much to be happy. It’s not that “I was born this way”, I just learned to pay attention to life. Like right now – I’m sitting at the desk my friend gave to me that I like so much (I write more since I got it!, thanks, Raj…!); I drink my favorite chai tea with almond milk, I look at flowers I got from my friend who was visiting recently and I’m sitting in my peaceful and quiet apartment. In less than 30 seconds, I found five things to be happy about. Make your list of your favorite things and activities and just do them more often. Don’t look for things that are wrong or didn’t work out for you, because you’d always find something. Plus – they’re not that important overall. And remember – you get what you focus on. If you focus on happy moments, you’d suddenly notice that they’re just everywhere. But you have to be willing to notice them in the first place.