What the Dying Regret - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog


What the Dying Regret

You only have one life to live — make the most out of it.


Life is short, and as cliche as it may sound, the reality is that you only have one life to live — make the most out of it.

While many people live their life to the fullest, some don’t – like the dead, who had many regrets according to a book “The Top Regrets of the Dying,” by Bronnie Ware. Ware’s an Australian nurse who spent most of her time in palliative care and recorded the top five regrets of her terminal patients. Her list is as follows:

# 1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

What the Dying RegretAccording to Ware, this was the most common regret she heard from those who passed away. She writes: “When people realize 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 honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.”

You’re the one who makes your life. Don’t let anyone else dictate what you should do since it’s your future. Honor your dreams. If you want to be an artist but your parents want you to be a doctor, follow what your heart because in the end, your happiness is what matters the most.

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Originally from Denver and now living in NYC, Angie has been writing since she was small. She lives in the Flatiron district with her partner Tanya and their mutt Sparky (always adopt!) In her spare time she loves to paint (mostly abstract) and talk to random people on the street to find out what's interesting to them.

Reader Discussion: 10 Comments

  1. Melani Kalev

    For me, the most important one to remember is the last one – being happy, letting myself be happy. It is the hardest when facing difficult times, sure, but it is also hard just for normal adults who, learning how to “adult” might think that being oh-so-serious is the way to go. Like it’d be an important part or a characteristic of an adult (and that’s what children learn from grown ups, let’s be fair!) And that’s how you might lose your inner child which would be a huge loss, especially later in life.

  2. Life is so full of ups and downs. No matter how much you try, there is always something or the other stopping you from doing a lot of things that you’ve always wanted to do. Family pressure, Society and most of times lack of confidence as well.
    All we can do is try to do as much as possible, till we are still breathing. But the sad part is that there will still be some or the other regret when we are on our death beds.

  3. I personally think that once in our lives, we will be afraid. Afraid to try something new, something crazy or something that will make us happy… Being afraid is really inevitable… Probably because we are trying to please somebody or probably because life has set us routines.

    But I guess, every waking day is an opportunity to take on risks that we opted to set aside. That's why if you still have the energy to try and do the things you once feared to do, grab the chance and learn!

  4. I hate living a life full of "what ifs" so I believe and dare 🙂

  5. Sandra Brown

    Living your life the way others want you to live is such a waste of time and effort! It’s not worth it!

  6. Hannah Mayers

    A piece of wisdom I was told and had great impact on me is this: when you’re young you have time and energy, but no money. When you’re middle-aged, you have energy and money, but no time. And when you’re old, you have time and money, but no energy.”

    We tend to work very hard, we tend to set aside our families and friends, I should be honest about that I most of the time dedicate myself to work, work and more work. I’m on my middle years and I really appreciate that I was directed to this article as early as now. I can still have proper time management, after all, all work and no play makes me dull. I don’t want to grow old plagued with regrets. I still have energy to change my life to a happier one and it’s want I’m going to do. Happiness is a choice and my well-lived, happy life begins TODAY!

  7. Jen Garcia

    “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take”

    Most of the time, people, myself include, tend to live according to social norms. But now, thinking what I have done and how I lived my life over the past years, I’m left to asking myself, did that make me happy? Am I fulfilled and contented because I lived according to what society dictates?! Maybe yes, maybe no!

    I contemplated on this article and I honestly found myself thinking and asking, do I want to continue the way I’m living and just regret in the end? Do I want to be asking myself WHAT IF questions when I grow older?

    The article posed a challenge, I’m still young and have a chance to somehow twist and enjoy my life.
    – I would start having the courage to live a life true to myself and not the life others expect of me!
    – I would not work so hard! Of course, I need to work, but I’ll now ensure that I give myself time to relax and have a break.
    – I would start expressing my “true feelings.” I would not live a life with pretensions. I’ll cry if I want to cry instead of giving a fake smile when I really feel like crying.
    – I would be in touch MORE with my friends. I believe this will happen if I give myself more time off from work 🙂
    – I would be HAPPY! I’ll keep in mind that everything happens for a reason and just remember that “even a destroyed clock gives correct time!”

  8. This actually made me really sad. Going through life with simple regrets that could have happened. Sometimes life place us in situations, but we don't have to let those situations take over us. I'll keep these regrets in mind.

  9. Jen Spillane

    This is a great article! I literally just copied down these five things to post on my wall as a reminder. It sounds cliched, but as the saying goes: life is not a dress rehearsal. Sometimes it's hard to remember that, to realize that whatever your life is and is going to be has already been set into motion.

  10. This is sad, but this a message to the living to do the most that they can while we’re still alive. 🙂 

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