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Yes, it’s another list, but it’s not of Justin Bieber’s top five hairstyles or the funniest faces that Obama has made in his State of the Union addresses. It’s a list by a nurse who works in palliative care. She is with people on their deathbeds. “Each patient,” she said, “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.”

But here were the top 5 regrets people had in their lives:

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

Man, if I had a dollar… I can’t tell you how many people have confessed to me that they married the wrong guy because of how it looked to others. Or have passed up quality men because they were not Jewish/Chinese/Indian/Persian because their families wouldn’t approve. Or rejected an amazing guy because he just didn’t fit the image of what a husband was “supposed” to look like, only to remain single indefinitely.

You’ve got one life. Live it on your terms. Regret is the only emotion that grows over time.

Learning to accept your imperfections and the randomness of life will allow you to lead a happier one.

2.  I wish I didn’t work so hard.

Also epidemic among smart, strong, successful women, but even more notable to the men they desire. My dad was a workaholic and while he and my Mom had a successful thirty year marriage before he passed, she was always resentful that he couldn’t be home for dinner with the kids, or that he couldn’t take more Fridays off. I get what it’s like to be the sole provider, but while money is important, family is everything. There’s a balance and you need to find it when you’re younger, not when you turn 70.

3.  I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Maybe it’s because I’m Jewish, but I never understood people who didn’t express every thought they had on their minds. I guess it keeps the peace, but it’s a false peace, because inside you are left to deal with the turmoil of all your unresolved issues. When two adults can have direct, honest, and productive conversation to solve problems, problems get solved. When two adults never speak their minds, they never get their needs met, and the problems just fester and get worse.

You’ve got one life. Live it on your terms. Regret is the only emotion that grows over time.

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

I’m going to guess that this is more common among men who throw themselves into their work and families, only to find that when they lose their jobs and wives, they’ve got nothing else to live for. Most women I know seem to have a circle of friends that has lasted a lifetime and continues to grow and grow. But no matter what your gender, it’s imperative to have relationships outside your marriage and workplace – since one person cannot and should not be expected to be all things to you at all times.

5.  I wish that I had let myself be happier.

We all beat up on ourselves. We all wish we could have perfect friendships, a perfect job, a perfect marriage, a perfect house and perfect kids. But that’s not the way life really works. Learning to accept your imperfections and the randomness of life will allow you to lead a happier one. As I’ve always said, in regards to dating: control what you can and let go of the rest. You can’t control what the opposite sex does; only what you do. Sometimes you’ll screw up, but hopefully, you can live with your decisions by the time you look back on it all.

Concludes the author, “Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.”

Amen.

I wish I were in better touch with my friends, per #4. Which regrets currently apply to you?