Five regrets of the dying - Part 1: I wish I'd let myself be happier
November 13, 2014
So I've chosen a lighthearted topic for my first blog post. I make no apologies. This blog isn't all about blue skies and bunny rabbits (although when Easter comes around, I might just indulge in some of that). No, this blog will be raw and express what I think and feel. That's not to say I'm going all morose and negative on your ass! I just think there's some powerful learning to be had from difficult situations, such as death.
This all started yesterday when I went to visit my wife's Grandmother. She's in hospital and is the ripe old age of 95. Fortunately, she isn't terminally ill but she is old and frail.
Whilst my wife was talking with her, it got me thinking about an article I'd read a couple of years back. Entitled "The top five regrets of the dying", it gives the perspective of an experienced palliative care nurse, Bronnie Ware, who'd written a book on the subject. I'll post the link to the article at the foot of this blog.
She basically says that is was the same 5 regrets expressed by the dying she heard over and over again, year after year. I'm going to blog about them all one by one, but for today, here's number 5:
At number 5 was "I wish I'd let myself be happier". God that resonates right now! I'm grateful for many things in my life, but like the rest of us, I often sink into yearning for what I don't have, thus feeling miserable, stuck and frustrated. BIG. RED. FLAG. A bit like this...
The problem for me is when I start thinking like this is it becomes a slippery slope.
Currently I am stuck in a day job I am crushingly bored with and have nowhere to go in. There, I said it! And if my employer is reading this, then I'm ready to say it to you too!
You see, that's the first step out of not being happy. Happiness is really a choice. Not a simple one sometimes, but a choice all the same.
It's also not my employers fault. They've actually been great and delivered on most things they've promised. No, my own happiness is down to me and me only.
At this point, for the reasons of credibility and self-esteem, I'd like to clarify this; the job I am crushingly-bored-with-and-have-nowhere-to-go-in ISN'T my relationship coaching practice. THAT is AMAZING! That is work I currently do part-time and would LOVE to do full-time. I will some day, I know I will. Just right now, I'm in transition. I suppose we all are to some degree.
No, the job I am crushingly bored to death doing each day is my "day job" (I won't delve any deeper here for ethical and contractual reasons. I'd also like to stay emotionally sane right now!)
So what do I do? Well, visiting my wife's Grandmother and hearing her talk, along with the studies and thoughts of Bronnie Ware, got me thinking. I'm NOT going to my grave wishing I'd let myself be happier! NO WAY! In fact, just making that conscious decision, saying it out loud, and writing this small piece, I feel better already. I've made the first step!
How do you choose to be happy? Well for me it begins with being grateful, appreciative and proud of who I am, what I am capable of how far I've come. Really, when I think about it, I've done a LOT with my life! I won't begin listing everything here for several reasons, not least because I'd like to retain some humility and grace (this isn't Facebook you know!)
Second, it's making a conscious decision that I CAN change my situation. I WILL change my situation and I DESERVE to change my situation. As proof of that, here are two "selfies" I've taken today. This one is before I made that decision...
And this is the one I took right after I made that decision...
See, don't we both just feel better right now!?
Third, I just need to figure out how I go about changing my situation. I have all the talent, brains, qualifications, skill and tenacity I need. I just need to put it together and make it work, you know, in a kind of practical way. This is our next lesson; there is always a way out of any situation. ALWAYS!
My first step toward change is always to ACCEPT HELP. Yes, we can all be stubborn bastards sometimes! I'm no different. BUT it pays to lean on people who care about us. In this case, my number one fan is my wife (at least she'll continue to be if I quit complaining so much!)
Accepting help is not a sign of weakness or defeat. It's actually a sign of great strength, courage and desire. And you know what, people actually want to help you! Yes, that's another piece of learning right there folks!
So from this very second I am choosing to be happy! I am grateful for all my great qualities; my sense of humour, my intelligence, my experience, my qualifications, my wonderful skills and my triumphs. Even listing some of these makes things so much lighter!
If I were to die right now, I wouldn't have the regret of wishing I'd let myself be happier, because right now, in this very moment, I AM HAPPY!
And that leads me to my final nugget of personal experience/wisdom/showing off (delete where applicable). The best form of therapy is sometimes to SIMPLY BE PRESENT. Enjoy the moment. Take a deep breath and appreciate what's GREAT right now!
With that said and done, I'm going out on a high (don't worry, not like Kurt Cobain).
Peace, love, light and laughter.
P.S. I apologise for any spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, over use of CAPITAL LETTERS or any human flaws of any kind. In fact, I make no apology AT ALL for these! I am what I am, I am my own special creation. So come take a look, give me the hook, or the ovation...(goes off into the sunset singing).