Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who worked with dying patients. She kept notes of their insights as they approached death and made this list of the top 5 things people would have done differently if they had a second chance, along with her reflections on what they had said:


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

expected of me.

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is

almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have

gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and

had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health

brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”


2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s

youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as

most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been

breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their

lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”


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

“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.”


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

“Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their

dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become

so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by

over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the

time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are



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

“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that

happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The

so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as

their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their

selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly

and have silliness in their life again.”


Thanks to Dennis Chapman for sending.