Currently working on: Listening to the thunder of an approaching storm (literally and figuratively)
I recently read an article about the regrets of the dying. The article was in response to a blog post by a palliative care worker who compiled a top five regrets list from her conversations with the dying. Both articles — and several more I found on the web after a search; the topic apparently captured the blogosphere’s imagination — were interesting and thoughtful. And all seemed to miss a crucial point:
Everybody will have some regrets.
It’s inevitable, I think. Even for someone with all the opportunities in the world, there isn’t enough time to explore every option. And for every option chosen, another option is left behind. Anyone with even a little curiosity is going to wonder about the roads not taken, and at least occasionally that wondering will be tinged with regret.
The top regret listed was not having “the courage to live a life true to myself” and not “honour[ing] even a half of their dreams.”
Sounds so easy to follow your dreams. Like the only reason those dying people hadn’t followed their dreams was because nobody had showed them a top five list of things they were going to kick themselves for later if only they had the strength and flexibility.
Maybe it will be that easy for some. Maybe they’ll read that list and say, I won’t let that happen to me. But dreams don’t come cheap.
Which is kind of funny when you consider that dreams are free every night when you sleep.
Dreams (at least the kind that cause deathbed maunderings of regret) are demanding. They take time — and, as mentioned earlier, there is never enough of that. They take resources, focus, effort. They take from other dreams. And they may or may not reward all that time and effort. The potential of the dream may be the only reward for the pursuit. And the pursuit of one dream — by its nature — will likely negate the possibility of pursuing something else.
I am so glad I’ve had the chance to pursue my dreams. I’ve even captured a few of them. But they came at a price, and I think rather than hoping for a life with no regrets at all, I will just find regrets I can live with. And die with.