(Planet Me)
Thursday, April 26, 2012
The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying

The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying

“I wish I'd had more sex”, said the poet.

Or perhaps, as John Lennon had it : “The point of life is to be happy.”

It is easy, with hindsight, to look at what you could make of life. The top five regrets of anyone are small – a post it note of sadness that defines four score years of mundanity.

In this slim, but compelling volume, Bronnie Ware tells us of her experiences working in care with those for whom the clock is running down, for whom the autumn of days has become the sunset. The scene is set with how we got to where we are, and, to be frank, how few of us ever get to consciously plan how our lives end. Life is just a bunch of stuff that happens, and we make it up as we go along. Eventually, we get to the end, and then realise that is our lives. Sometimes we have a plan, but life is the thing that happens wether we like or not.

The key regret, albeit unexpressed so obviously, is that fear stops us from being ourselves. Without wishing to grind the misery pestle into the stone, when inevitably, as all things do, and things – jobs, lovers, health – gone wrong, the biggest hurt is not what you did do, but often what you didn't.

Using the touching, searing examples of the sadness that never goes, Bronnie's style is warm as the summer sun, and sad as a long winter, but clearly aimed at perhaps the only thing most of us should ever do, which is be the best person we can be, make the most of it, and learn the lessons before it is too late to never change the future. For anyone who has ever thought about what it is to be alive.

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