Close your eyes and imagine that you’re at your own funeral—a bit morbid I know, but there’s a reason for it. Now think about what you’d like people to say about you. What kind of a life do you want to lead? People die with all kinds of regrets. Don’t be one of them.
1. I wish I’d cared less about what other people think.
It’s only when you realise how little other people are really thinking of you (in a negative sense) that you realise how much time you spent caring and wasting energy worrying about this.
2. I wish I had accomplished more.
You don’t have to have won an Oscar, built up a business or run a marathon, but having small personal accomplishments is important.
3. I wish I had told __ how I truly felt.
Even if the “one” doesn’t exist, telling someone how you truly feel will always save you from that gut wrenching”but what if…” feeling that could linger for life if you stay quiet.
4. I wish I had stood up for myself more.
Sometimes, it’s too easy to think that if you go all out to please everyone you’ll be liked more or your partner won’t run off with anyone else. I think age probably teaches us to be nice but not at the expense of our own happiness.
5. I wish I had followed my passion in life.
It’s so easy to be seduced by a stable salary, a solid routine and a comfortable life, but at what expense?
6. I wish our last conversation hadn’t been an argument.
Life is short, and you never really know when the last time you speak to someone you love will be. It’s these moments that really stay clear in peoples’ minds.
7. I wish I had let my children grow up to be who they wanted to be.
The realisation that love, compassion and empathy are so much more important than clashes in values or belief systems can hit home hard.
8. I wish I had lived more in the moment.
Watching children grow up makes you realise how short-lived and precious time really is, and as we age, many of us live less and less in the present.
9. I wish I had worked less.
There’s always a desire to have loosened up a bit more with this one and the realisation that financial success or career accomplishment doesn’t necessarily equal a fulfilled life.
10. I wish I had traveled more.
It can be done at any age, with kids or not but many talk themselves out of it for all kinds of reasons such as lack of money, mortgage, children, etc. When there’s a regret, you know it could have been possible at some stage.
11. I wish I had trusted my gut rather than listening to everyone else.
Making your own decisions and feeling confident in the decisions you make gives us fulfilment and joy from life. Going against your gut only breeds resentment and bitterness.
12. I wish I’d taken better care of myself.
Premature health problems or ageing always makes you wonder if you’d eaten healthier, exercised more and been less stressed, would you be where you are today?
13. I wish I’d taken more risks.
Everyone has their own idea of what’s risky, but you know when you’re living too much in your comfort zone. In hindsight, some people feel they missed out on a lot of adventure life has to offer.
14. I wish I’d had more time.
Many people say time speeds up as we age. The six weeks of summer holidays we had as kids certainly seemed to last a lifetime. If time speeds up, then it’s even more important to make the most of every moment.
15. I wish I hadn’t worried so much.
If you’ve ever kept a diary and looked back, you’ll probably wonder why you ever got so worked up over X.
16. I wish I’d appreciated ___ more.
The consequences of taking people for granted are always hard to deal with.
17. I wish I’d spent more time with my family.
Some people get caught up with work, move to other parts of the world, grow old with grudges against family members only to realise their priorities were in the wrong place.
18. I wish I hadn’t taken myself so seriously.
Life is just more fun when you can laugh at yourself.
19. I wish I’d done more for other people.
Doing things for others just makes life more meaningful.
20. I wish I could have felt happier.
The realisation that happiness is a state of mind that you can control sometimes doesn’t occur to people until it’s too late.