Some inspiration: from death-beds to goats in wells.

It’s a mere 9:39 am and already several great articles have reached my desk. Yup, and “my desk” is actually code for my bed because the first thing I do when I wake up is check my email, which contains my favorite blog updates, and then it’s on to a quick Facebook and Instagram check. All of this happens whilst still tucked in. I blame this laziness completely on Petunia because she encourages me to stay in bed for as long as my bladder can possibly stand. If she had her way, she’d stay under the covers all day and never go potty or even eat. Most days I have to force her to get up. Last week I performed an experiment by seeing how long it takes for her to get up on her own. Well, I didn’t see her until 2 pm! I’m not sure how she does it, especially her bladder! Needless to say, that experiment only lasted a day because her natural inclination for laziness trumping necessary bodily functions made me worry. She needs me, what can I say.

Whoa, that was quite an unplanned tangent, sorry about that. My original desire in writing this was to tell you of the post I read on the blog Inspiration and Chai called “Regrets of the Dying.” It’s written by a former palliative care worker who assisted people during the dying process. She took note of the regrets people expressed on their death beds and shared them in this post. I strongly suggest reading it but if you’re too busy (or lazy like Petunia), I’ll give you the cliff notes version. Here are people’s death-bed regrets:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Now ever single word in this post is pure gold and the author does a great job at offering sage wisdom on how to go about changing these regrets; however, one part especially resonated with me:

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 definitely reminds me of what I was trying to convey in my “Being Genuine in all Endeavors” post. Being genuine is about honesty and telling the hardest truth first, no matter the consequences. The truth can be extremely painful or in the very least uncomfortable, but you must stay the course and not be tempted by easier, more convenient and less confrontational paths. I do believe that the truth–though it may cause emotional upheaval in the interim–sets you free in the end.

These death-bed regrets aren’t novel by any means. I think if we actually took the time to make a list of our own regrets, they’d be differently worded variations of the same exact sentiment. The problem is that we never actually take the time, do we? Now a new year is quickly approaching and I’m definitely not one to embrace the idea of New Year’s Resolutions. I mean, why wait until January 1st to do something positive for yourself, your family, your friends and perhaps all of the lives you have yet to touch? Why not start thinking about those regrets right now and putting together a gradual plan of attack? Seems like a grand idea to me.

If you need a little more motivation, my girl Kris Carr posted this today. It’s a story about a goat that was stuck in a well. Because it was a safety hazard, a man began to fill in the well, not realizing the goat had fallen in. Instead of giving up, the goat stomped down each shovel full of dirt that came down at him until he was able to walk right out. Let me tell you, that is fodder for the best children’s story since the Little Engine That Could.  Heck, this story trumps the little engine because it’s probably true. Goats are rather miraculous creatures and I’ve heard of them accomplishing far more impressive feats. (I’ve even met one that enjoyed drinking antifreeze and experienced no ill effects; they’re nature’s vacuum cleaners.)

2012-12-09 20.06.45Now if I don’t post again until after the holidays, let me just say that I wish you and yours the best. Remember that the most valuable gift that you can give yourself and others is your undivided time and attention…we have so little of it these days. If you have some family dinners that you’re not looking forward to, you might just want to check out my post on getting through such events unscathed. More than anything though, please think about those regrets you may have and make a plan for gradual, positive changes. This is something you don’t want to wait on because tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us. I know it’s not the most joyful of subjects but it’s by far the most important.

1 response to Some inspiration: from death-beds to goats in wells.

  1. Jess says:

    Ugh – this is definitely a struggle for me! I need to think more of myself and how toxic I let things become, letting people and events trample me. I really need to be more conscious of my own mental health, and find a a balance.

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