Is it the quality of the life lived, even if short, but full of experience? Is it the length of a life lived, even if it was short on experiences outside our comfort zone? Is it based on who had a bigger impact? Or it is just based on the opportunity to live and find happiness? With no regrets?
"Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness" Bronnie Ware.
Click on the link below, to see what your heart truly desires for your life.
My Dad Did This When He Was 30 Years of Age.
I share the full story here. In short, when I was born my mum had a book that asked a series of questions. All of them in the Self Assessment below.
When I was in the depth of Burnout. I remembered my dad, a 27-year-old man who had met my 44-year-old mother. An amazing painter with his whole life ahead of him, who not long after my birth succumbed to mental health challenges that led him to seek mind-altering substances as a way of numbing the pain created in his mind.
I remember walking through the streets of my hometown in Fremantle with my two best friends and seeing a homeless guy rolled up in the corner of a shopfront with a bottle of beer next to him. We started laughing and joking about the situation until I realized that it was my dad.
Years later, I found the book with the answers he had written. He wanted a simple life, in nature, near the river where he could fish. Beautiful backdrops that he could paint each day. A loving, caring and supportive family. Enough money to live, without needing anymore. To be able to live off his art and give his passion to the world. Back in 1990, he wrote that he only needed $10,000 a year!
Over the last 30 years, he lost his way. But, today. He lives by the river and paints every day. Is close to family and nature. Even though he wasn't very present in my life, he has a son that loves and adores him.
The point is that he eventually found his way back to his heart and home. Even with all the noise, addictions and distractions that were thrown his way.
So when you fill out this assessment. Write from the heart. Before you were told WHO and HOW to be.
5 Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware
For many years she worked in palliative care. Her patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. She was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality.
Each person experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. What's important to note is that every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again.
Here are the most common five:
I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise until they no longer have it.
I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
This came from every male patient that she nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship.
Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners.
All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly.
In the end, it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away.
I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
WHAT DOES LIVING MEAN TO YOU?
If you are healthy in that you appear to be unrestricted in your physical, mental and emotional body, that’s great and ideal, but more importantly...
5 Measures that truly matter
- Are you happy?
- Are you connected to yourself and living your ultimate truth?
- Are you connected to your family and the people you care about most? Are you connected to the natural world around you and stars above?
- Are you living your ideal day every day? Or are you limiting your potential?
- Are you doing what you love? living a life with no regrets?
Overall, Is it length or the quality of life that matters? You decide.
Is it being like the oldest female on record, French born, Jeanne Louise Calment who lived to 122 years and 164 days. Or the oldest person living female Kane Tanaka (Japan, b. 2 January 1903) aged 117 years and 41 days, from Fukuoka, Japan, (as verified on 12 February 2020).38 Or the oldest living male, Robert Weighton (UK, b. 29 March 1908), who is 112 years and 1 day old, (as verified in Alton, Hampshire, UK, on 30 March 2020.)39
Or is it Martin Luther King Jnr who lived to 39 years, or Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain or even Jim Morrison who didn’t make it much beyond their 27th birthdays?
WHAT MEASURING STICK MATTERS?
Is it the quality of the life lived, even if short, but full of experience? Is it the length of life lived, even if it was short on experiences outside our comfort zone? Is it based on who had a bigger impact? Or is it based on whose names still live on today? Or it is just based on the opportunity to live and find happiness?
Perhaps dying with no regrets is a measuring stick we can all relate too?
Perhaps the unique nature of living our own life, embracing all our choices in their imperfect perfection is what we most need to own and love. As long as it doesn’t negatively influence the people or world around us.
Perhaps Bob Marley sums it up best when he said “Who are you to judge the life I live? I know I’m not perfect—and I don’t live to be—but before you start pointing fingers...make sure your hands are clean!”
Be mindful of what you write. It may awaken your heart and inspire you to live a life that you never need to take a break from. It might be unconventional compared to others and even your family. But at least you will live out your days with no regrets.
CALL TO ACTION
JOIN THE EMPOWER COURSE TO RUN THE FULL PROCESS.
This is directly referenced from the best-selling amazon SelfCare Book "Lifestyle Medicine For the People" by Rory Callaghan. If you would like to read more content like this. Grab the free online chapters of the book or a hard copy.
We have done our best to reference everyone’s expert opinions, peer-reviewed science, and original thoughts, all references available here and referenced in the text.
We also understand that most thoughts are not our own and there is a collective unconsciousness, unconsciousness, and universal mind stream of energy that is always at work. How are references are sorted and filtered is here.