The vast majority of us – even we estate planning attorneys, who spend our working lives helping people plan and prepare for death – live like we’re invincible. We get distracted by all the little details of life, and it’s hard to stay focused on the things that really matter.
That’s why, every once in a while, it’s good to have a reminder of what’s really important. This week, my reminder came when a friend e-mailed me a link to an article entitled Top Five Regrets of the Dying. The article profiles a book written by Bronnie Ware, a former palliative care nurse.
In her book, Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing, Ware talks about the observations she made as she worked with people in the final weeks of their lives. She says that when her patients talked about their regrets, a number of common themes surfaced again and again:
- 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.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
The entire article is well worth reading for the additional insights it gives into each of these common regrets.
If you were on your deathbed right now, what would your regrets be? What changes can you make today to ensure that when the time comes, you’re not left wishing for a second chance to do all the truly important things you neglected?
President and Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555