WOW Word-Of-the-Week #401: Friends

April 10, 2012 by · Comments Off on WOW Word-Of-the-Week #401: Friends 

Friends – people you know well and regard with affection and trust.

How many “true” friends would you say you have? How often do you spend time with them? Have you ever missed times with your friends because you felt work was more important?

This is the final WOW featuring excerpts from Bronnie Ware’s book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing.”

“4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Happy Family & 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. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. 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.”

This week’s focus is on friends. In case you didn’t know it, we were put on this earth to love and be loved! Have you stayed in contact with your old friends? When was the last time you laughed out loud? Or how about the last time you had some silliness?

Reader Responses

“I have always made it a point to remember the anniversaries and birthdays and special events of family members, but friends. When the younger son of my best friend was married recently, my friend reminded me that whenever I visited their home I always brought a Hershey’s chocolate bar for both boys. I actually had forgotten that I had done that over time, but when I was reminded of it I was happy. Sometimes we forget that we do those little things, but those close to us do remember. You mentioned what it is that people value on their deathbeds. I remember hearing Coach Al McGuire say in his last interview that elderly people who are near the end don’t want flowers or sweaters. They want our time. Because they know they don’t have much time remaining to them. That is so true. I make a point of staying in touch with my friends, and I have a few close ones. As I mentioned in a previous post, I don’t want to look back with regret. We all have too many of those in our lives anyway. Great word, Susan. Thanks for the reminder. ” – “Warrior” Joe

WOW Word-Of-the-Week #400: Lifestyle

April 5, 2012 by · Comments Off on WOW Word-Of-the-Week #400: Lifestyle 

Lifestyle – a way of living that reflects the attitudes and values of a person.

Do you wish anything in your life were different? Do you have any unfulfilled dreams? Do you ever feel disappointed about choices you have or have not made?

This is the second of three WOW’s featuring excerpts from Bronnie Ware’s book, “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing.”

“2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I 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.

3. 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.”

This week’s focus is on your lifestyle. Are you living a life that reflects your attitudes and values? Are you spending quality time with your family? Are you expressing how you feel? Do you have the courage to make changes even if it means others may not be happy by that choice?

Reader Responses

“Just wanted to let you know that these are really cool!  I have enjoyed both of the Wow’s from Bronnie Ware’s book and cant’ wait for the third.  Thank you for sharing this with your readers.” – Amy

“I have had people ask when I plan to write another book. Or, I should be writing some kind of blog or beginning The Great American Novel. I tell them that my most important job RIGHT NOW is to spend time helping my wife raise our two daughters. Spending these precious years watching them grow and learn is the most important thing I can do with my life. Fortunately, the job I have allows me to help my wife and to spend time with my girls. I drop the girls at school in the morning and pick up my younger girl after work. I can have dinner with them, read to them and help with homework. When the girls get older and begin spending more time with their friends, that is when I can probably concentrate on a next book, novel or blog. By that time, there will have been a shakeout in the communications technology in our world, and who knows what opportunities for future works will unfold. As a result, I am raising my girls with no regret, knowing that I have contributed to their lives in meaningful ways. The vacation time I have accumulated has allowed me to go places with my wife and girls and watch the joy of their discoveries. I am so lucky at this point of my life not to have to miss these special times. I don’t think other people I know realize how lucky I am. Life is sooooo goooood. Thanks, Susan. It is so nice not to have regrets. Have a wonderful Easter. Take care.” – “Warrior” Joe

WOW Word-Of-the-Week #399: Regret

March 27, 2012 by · Comments Off on WOW Word-Of-the-Week #399: Regret 

Regret – a feeling of disappointment or distress about something that one wishes could be different.

Do you wish anything in your life were different? Do you have any unfulfilled dreams? Do you ever feel disappointed about choices you have or have not made?

Bill Marvin, the Restaurant Doctor, recently featured excerpts from Bronnie Ware’s book, “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing.” In his weekly House Call he wrote, “An article like this may seem a bit out of place, but the reason I do what I do is to help improve your quality of life. Some of that is professional and some — like this piece — is more personal. Her observations really had me reflecting on my own habits (particularly #2) and I’m making some adjustments while I still can.

I am going to share the five most common regrets in my next three WOW’s

Bronnie Ware says, “For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I 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. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. 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.

1. 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.”

This week’s focus is on regret. Is it time to make some adjustments? Are you living your life based on someone else’s expectations? What would it take for you to fulfill those dreams you have put off?

Reader Responses

“A lot of my friends refer to me as “lucky” because of how I live ( on the water in winter in Yelapa, at Lake Tahoe in the summer). And because I retired at 52. Luck has nothing to do with it. Luck is preparedness meeting opportunity. It’s a matter of making choices after you figure out what you want. Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have done some things differently given a second chance, but I have remarkably few regrets, now that I think about it. I think some famous American Indian said “Today is a good day to die”. Pretty much sums up how I feel.” – Bob

“Great word. After my younger brother died at age 37, I told my wife that I had no regrets because I had always made sure that he was a part of my life. I always made sure that we attended college basketball games, concerts and other events. And I made it a point to always remember him on his birthday and call on a regular basis. To me, these were the basics in a sibling relationship that was affected by our age differences. I always enjoyed talking to him and hearing his point of view. When he did leave this world, I could look back positively on the times we shared, and I could truly say that I had no regrets. Maybe that is why I was able to stay strong for my wife and family at the funeral and eulogize his life in an upbeat way. It was hard, but because I did not have any regrets, it was a lot easier. Like anyone else in life, I wish some things had worked out differently, but I have always had the feeling that I made the most of every opportunity in my life. The one important point in your piece was the importance of health. While I have never won the lottery in my life, I always feel that my health is my million dollars. The good health that I have will allow me to do many things in the balance of my life. Finally, acceptance of life on life’s terms is so important. Not having that acceptance makes living difficult. I am so grateful for it. Thanks, Susan. Have a wonderful Easter. Take care.” – “Warrior” Joe