Revelations: Live your life with no regrets

May 24, 2013 at 12:24 a.m.

We've all heard the phrase, "Live like you were dying."

It's a catchy Hallmark saying, a Tim McGraw song.

But how many of us ever employ this philosophy? I can't think of one person in my friend or family circle who embraces life with abandon the way a dying person might.

And in the past few years, I've spent time with many dying people who even then can't seem to live.

I'd like to think if I was dying, I would toss away all my fears and needs to people-please and live the way I would if no one's opinion mattered.

There are moments I get so overwhelmed with trying to do right by everyone all the time that I'll sit down and really think about what decisions I would make if I didn't care or consider what anyone else thought.

A few days ago, I read an article about the top regrets of the dying.

Australian palliative nurse Bronnie Ware shared her experiences, noting the top five regrets she heard most often when working with terminal patients.

Among them, the list included, "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me; I wish I hadn't worked so hard; I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings; I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends, and I wish that I had let myself be happier."

I sent the article to a few of my friends, and many of them identified strongly with at least one point. Personally, I identified with the first one - to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected.

I challenge myself to do this daily, but I struggle often with balancing my own desires and dreams, with the expectations my family and society places upon me.

Reading the article was a reminder that happiness is a choice, life is a gift, and death is not a time to regret.

And what better way to end a life, than to arrive in God's kingdom and know these words are ever so true: "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

Jennifer Preyss is the faith reporter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535, or on Twitter @jenniferpreyss.



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