Regrets of the dying

Floating around on the internet one night, I found a list of the biggest regrets of the dying, made by a palliative care nurse called Bronnie Ware. Searching for and following the connections of this interesting subject, I also stumbled upon some similar artwork, made by Alice Lee. In her Tumblr-blog, she posted some desktop wallpapers, inspired by Paul Grahams’ inversions of the 5 regrets, yielding a list of 5 commands: 

Don’t ignore your dreams; don’t work too much; say what you think; cultivate friendships; be happy.

It reminded me a lot about the famous Wear Sunscreen article, written by Mary Schmich, which later was transformed into the successful music single “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)“, released in 1999, by Baz Luhrmann.

The speech published in the Chicago Tribune as a column in 1997, is often wrongly attributed to a commencement speech by author Kurt Vonnegut. But the famous writer never delivered this address.  But a lot of similar can be found in the 1927 poem “Desiderata“:

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

For more inspiration and ideas for finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives, you can check out the popular Zen Habits blog.

2016-10-13T07:10:16+00:00 By |Categories: Internet, Philosophy|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

About the Author:

I’m Adrian, a filmmaker, teacher, entrepreneur, Spurs-fan, explorer and internet geek. I thrive on sparks of creativity, while roaming this world and great stories seek.

2 Comments

  1. Adrian Minde May 22, 2012 at 3:16 pm - Reply

    On a less serious note, I found these 36 funny rules for life:

    1. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

    2. Don’t worry about what people think, they don’t do it very often.

    3. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car.

    4. Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

    5. If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you’ve never tried before.

    6. My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

    7. Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.

    8. A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.

    9. For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.

    10. If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.

    11. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks.

    12. A conscience is what hurts when all of your other parts feel so good.

    13. Eat well, stay fit, die anyway.

    1 4. Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it.

    15. No man has ever been shot while doing the dishes.

    16. A balanced diet is a muffin in each hand.

    17. Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist change places.

    18. Opportunities always look bigger going than coming.

    19. Junk is something you’ve kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it.

    20. There is always one more imbecile than you counted on.

    21. Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.

    22. By the time you can make ends meet, they move the ends.

    23. Thou shalt not weigh more than thy refrigerator.

    24. Someone who thinks logically provides nice contrast to the real world.

    25. It ain’t the jeans that make your butt look fat.

    26. If you had to identify in one word the reason why the human race has not achieved it’s full potential, that word would be ‘meetings’.

    27. There is a very fine line between ‘hobby’ and ‘mental illness.’

    28. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.

    29. You should not confuse your career with your life.

    30. Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.

    31. Never lick a steak knife.

    32. The most destructive force in the universe is gossip.

    33. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.

    34. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she’s pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.

    35. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that deep down inside we ALL believe we are good drivers.

    36. Your friends love you anyway.

  2. […] touched the subject in my earlier post, Regrets of the dying, but since we’re in the season for commencement speeches, I thought I’d link to a […]

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