If I was to choose only one book that keeps me on the path of creating unique experiences and memories, it would be ‘The top five regrets of the dying’.
The emotional awareness of mortality can be super powerful. If you acknowledge the limited time that is remaining in your life, although you don’t know if that is years, weeks or hours, you are suddenly more driven by what your heart truly wants.
In the book, the palliative nurse Bronnie Ware has written on the most common regrets that her terminally ill patients expressed in their final weeks of life. Facing the ultimate, these people were down to earth, able to look back on their lives with clarity that escapes those of us absorbed in our daily grid.
They spoke of the pain of not having the courage to live a life true to themselves. About the regret of having focused so obsessively on their work. About the dreams that had waited all of their lives only to be not fulfilled. About the realization that it’s the relationships in your life who give it true meaning. None of these people looked back on their lives wishing they had worked harder or had more money. Many of them found themselves wishing they had lived simply but happy life and spent more time with the ones they loved.
That is all that remains in the final weeks: love, relationships and memories.
If I feel stuck, trapped, confused or frustrated, Bronnie’s book helps keep me on the course of my life. It encourages me to step back from my immediate emotional reaction and ask myself a question: ‘when I’m old, how much would I be willing to pay to go back in time and travel around the world to experience what I can experience now’. This simple question puts things in perspective.
‘Memento mori’. By the time you’re on your deathbed, it’s too late to change anything. And, be ready for a few slow tears to roll down your checks while you read this book.