We all will die.
What will you regret in your final days?
A hospice nurse, Bronnie Ware, spent 8 years asking dying patients their top regrets in life. The number one thing they said: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.“
I have been living a life true to myself for the past several years. Before that I was living a life my parents, my spouse, and society expected me to live. I was showing up daily as a mom and wife but in a very bitter, repressed way. In my mid-thirties my inner warrior started to nudge me. She poked me awake and ever since then, I’ve been taking small steps to align my life with my true self versus the life others expected me to live. I have listened to my inner warrior’s voice and allowed it to guide me to be the best mom, the best partner, the best me that I can be. Has that taken the courage that the hospice patients refer to? Yes. In fact, it will continue to take courage. Courage for the difficult days and the difficult times to come. Life is full of highs and lows and courage is needed to consciously choose to stay open to it all. I choose to not let my past experiences limit my present and future experiences. Yes that leaves me open to heartbreak and difficult times. But the alternative is to build a wall of “protection” that, in actuality, shuts me off from connection and joy. I choose to live openly, honestly, and completely instead of holding back because of the times that I got hurt.
What about the hospice patients who don’t have this regret? Usually they’ve had a mid-life awakening; something in their mid life got them to pause and pivot. They have paused to examine where they are and where their current day actions would lead them. If they’re not where they want to be, they pivot and make some changes. What causes them to stop and examine their present day? Various things, including:
- A scary diagnosis (their body saying: something isn’t right: STOP!),
- A spouse calling it quits,
- Running into a friend from the past who has made changes and pivoted and witnessing their changed life
- The death of a beloved-one,
- A child heading to college (or elementary school or any transition where you are aware they don’t “need” you in the same way)
I urge you to pause now. Why wait until we are hospice patients? I can tell you right now: you are dying. Do you want to live a full life full of highs and lows or a middle-of-the-road, half-awake life? It’s your choice. We like to tell ourselves that we have no choice but that’s something we tell ourselves to keep living the life others want us to live. How about this: Pause. Examine. Adjust your sails. Why wait for a scary diagnosis or life experience to land you crying on your butt? Pause now and choose to pivot or slightly adjust today.
- What is going on in your life that energizes you?
- Who do you love to be around? How can you be around them more?
- What do you love to do? How can you do more of that in your life?
The best kept secret ever? When you do more of what you love to do, you become an evolved version of yourself: a calmer mom, a more loving spouse, a “yay you” version of you. We have been told that it’s selfish to do what we want or what we love. Hear me loud and clear. That’s BS. That’s a message that someone who’s spent their life living a middle-of-the road life tells us. Don’t accept it. It is your human responsibility to evolve. You are here with unique gifts for a unique reason. When you live a life that someone else wants you to live, you are not upholding your end of the human bargain.
Am I living? Am I loving? I choose to live my days in alignment with my inner warrior. Not all days are spent looking for rainbows in fields of daisies but each and every day I choose me. I live through my heart and am here to help you do the same. What’s the point of holding back? Let’s get started. Today is not our day to die so let’s fully live.
What can you do today that feels courageous? Take one small step:
Send a text to your partner telling them you miss holding their hand.
Don’t return your mom’s call.
Turn off your phone until tomorrow.
Say no, that doesn’t work for me.
I don’t know what your small step is but do something that scares you a bit. Be brave today. Take a stand for yourself and let me know what you did. Let’s go warrior; you’ve got this.
Sign up for SMB’s Weekly Warrior Wellness Newsletter here