I was recently reading an article about a hospice nurse that wrote down conversations with her dying patients and some of the things they wished they had done or would have chosen to do differently. Here are the top five:
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’ve read another book on life, choices and responsibilities. That we cannot blame others for the choices we make.
Notice how I am not talking about regret, but simply a desire to make a course correction and learn from the past.
One of the more memorable quotes of a very forgettable Star Trek movie:
Damn it, Bones, you’re a doctor. You know that pain and guilt can’t be taken away with a wave of a magic wand. They’re the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves. I don’t want my pain taken away! I need my pain!
There are some choices and decisions that I would change, sure. I wish I didn’t have to experience some of the resulting trials as a result. I wish my family didn’t have to endure them with me.
But it is those situations that help me learn and grow to become a better person.