18 September 2013

Regrets in my deathbed

One thing I often ask myself is what will I regret most when I am in my my deathbed. More often than not, I have concluded that spending more time with my kids and wife would be number one. Number two would be that I never got a chance to keep up with so many other people who crossed my life and made me in so many imperceptible ways the person I am (remember “intersection points”?).
But I have been curious about what I might be missing. So often, I ask elderly people what are the lessons they have for me. And once I got into real trouble because the daughter of this elderly person thought that my question was focusing on her parents’ mistakes (with the negative connotation).
Nothing could be further from the truth. Regrets, or mistakes of others can often be the best guiding star and narrating our regrets can often be the best guidance we can give others.
Finally, I came across something that satisfies my curiosity.

Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse who spent many years working in palliative care caring for those who were dying had many many conversations with her patients till they died. She eventually summarized her conversations in a book called the “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying”
They were (with my self grades)
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. (I would give myself a B+ maybe even A- on this)
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. (At best C+ for me)
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. (D- πŸ™ )
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. (Maybe I will give a A- on this)
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. (Around B to B-)

Do you see me that way?
How would you grade yourself?
If you change nothing in your life, would you have some other regrets we should learn from?

Posted September 18, 2013 by Rajib Roy in category "Musings


  1. By Antara Choudhuri (Post author) on

    We often hear people who experienced a near death experience has seen flashes of his/her life in front of his eyes. Regrets are less likely to come as those flashes. Ever thought what flashes might come in front of your very eyes If those were to be the last ones? I often think those would be something insignificant, but memorable happy times…. We spend way too much time and energy figuring out what we may regret later, and often miss the simplest things that brings smiles to our faces. Who knows, if one of those moments are in one of our last flashes…Worth a thought….

  2. By Satish Bhat (Post author) on

    Rajib….you are going to be in the dog house tonight if you don’t add the NOT you missed in your second sentence πŸ™‚

  3. By Jyotsna Subramaniam (Post author) on

    where is the “love this” button?:-) and I see that you are still playing the grading game, remember your diary with jokes written meticulously down and all the neighbourhood girls graded on various attributes!

  4. By Kim Verska (Post author) on

    One thing to contemplate if you are in this frame of mind is what amazing things can be accomplished if you just do them for 10 minutes per day, first thing out of the box. Write a book, learn to cook, learn Italian, document your life for posterity – the list is fun and endless! I’m thinking this is the kind of thing I will be pondering if I have a chance to prepare for my own death. Hope to do a bunch of these — right now, it’s building my family tree on ancestry.com…

  5. By Biplab Dey (Post author) on

    One ought to be very daring and bold enough to be true to oneself which most of us aren’t. Perhaps we donot meditate on our life as it seems to be informal. I am delighted, amazed though but proud still that you dared….Keep it up, Rajib Roy, it’s a lot learning from you…..

  6. By Anu Sahai (Post author) on

    We are similar in thought Sara, though we don’t think that far. my husband and I ask whether it matters in 3-5 years, or if anyone will even remember. If not, then don’t waste time fretting over spilt milk!

  7. By Jayaraman Raghuraman (Post author) on

    1. My only real regret is losing my Dad early in his life and ours. He and my family missed him meeting my wife, my kids and taking part in all that happened over last 22 years
    2. As for how I would rate my life , I would rate it as a continuous movement between grade A and Grade D, which reflects my ability on various parameters. Constant growth and learning is what I aspire.

  8. By Catherine Michel (Post author) on

    Thanks for sharing Rajib. I would say… each day we should ask ourselves the question “if today was my last day, how would I make it?”. For me the answer would be” Make sure I resolve all the conflicts in my life”.

  9. By Joyjit Mukherjee (Post author) on

    Hmm……will require an empty weekend alone to think about it…..from the top of my head : “regret to apologize to those that may have been hurt by my actions”[Not many skeletons in my closet, only a few πŸ™‚ ], “regret not getting an opportunity to live like Mother Teresa”, “not focusing enough on anything to get an Olympic Gold, or a Nobel Prize”

  10. By Anindya Mukherjee (Post author) on

    Rajib Roy you are now scaring me. most of these five questions I think, I will score not more than C-. πŸ™‚ Really trying to get some courage for the first point I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.. I think if i can take care of that, rest of the thing will follow automatically.

  11. By Rajib Roy (Post author) on

    Jyotsna, I certainly remember my collection of limericks that I used to write down. Regarding that “girl diary”, I still consistently differ with your grading scale… I think I was right. (But this is not the first time I feel I was right πŸ™‚ )

  12. By Rajib Roy (Post author) on

    Kim, I love your passion for ancestry.com. Unfortunately, in India, such records are either non-existent or impossible to get. I would be very interested in doing a research on that myself. What other list of things do you have? I have a few things on my list myself.

  13. By Rajib Roy (Post author) on

    Angie, Fair point. I should be much more careful with my grammar in my posts. You think that might become my Regret #6? πŸ™‚


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