What Really Matters in Life? | Regrets of the Dying

There may be moments in life, when you find yourself standing in front of a mirror asking these questions: What is my purpose? Why am I here? What really matters? What could I have done better?

In todays world, we find ourselves so caught up in the wheel of growth, we forget to look at our own needs. Have you ever blown off a dinner with your parents so you can finish that all important project at work? Do you choose to ignore your dreams of backpacking the world, in favour of saving for a house & starting your mortgage repayments?

Do you choose to hold back your feelings for another? Is it because you are to afraid of what others might think of you? Is this your fifth, or sixth time missing little Gemma’s dance recital? Let me guess, work came first again, right? On that note, when was the last time you spent some quality time with your friends?

Why do most of us wait until our death beds before we decide to pursue what really matters to us in life?

That is a huge question! There are many reasons that contribute to the problem; greed, entitlement, self loathing, environment, limitations, ego & money to name a few. I won’t be covering the reasons today.

In this blog, I will cover five things that really matter in life, these five things will be relevant to everyone. Your situation will be unique, but what really matters will be more, or less, the same for you and I. This blog is based on the incredible work by Bronnie Ware, I highly recommend picking up a copy of her book - ‘The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.’

What Really Matters in Life

Have the courage to live life on your terms

This was identified as the biggest regret of all: trying to meet the expectations that others have of you, rather than meeting your own expectations. What is it you want to do most? Think about it. Don’t rely on someone else to tell you what you want out of life, chances are they have no idea what you truly want from life.

Why courage then? If you discover your purpose, shouldn’t you just pursue it until you can make that purpose your reality, full time job & daily source of self validation? Yeah! Your 100% right, so what’s holding you back? The simple answer: Fear.

Fear of failure. Fear of what others may think of you, picking up that 40 hour janitor job in order to fund your expenses in pursuit of your dreams. Fear of success, what happens when you reach your goals? Fear of working your ass off to get it done, what will you have to give up? Who will you have to give up on?

The regret hits, when people’s bodies start to give out. All those dreams & desires are no longer attainable regardless of how much courage is mustered. The passion is insidiously replaced by regret & bitterness, is that the way you want to spend your final days?

More time with loved ones & less time at work

For some strange reason, we equate lasting happiness to working our way up the ladder in a job that offers us no excitement. We work endless hours for the smallest of pay rises. We sacrifice spending time with our families just to get a bonus that might help us pay for a new BBQ that hardly gets used.

We convince ourselves that we must work longer and harder with lines like - ‘I need to pay off the mortgage.’ Or - ‘The harder I work now the more time I will have with my kids when they get older.’ What about hanging out with your kids now! When they need you…

For those without families, passion & purpose is sacrificed. Replaced by years of mind numbing study & a lifetime of hard work in order to pay for a retirement littered with regret.

In the world we live in today, money most definitely has a role to play, but it does not have to control our lives. Ask yourself:
-Do you really have to earn over 100K a year to be happy?
-Is impressing your parents & friends with a fancy job title(that you hate), really worth sacrificing time with your loved ones & your passions?
-What is the point in flaunting a fancy job title to friends & family that you never see?

What really matters? More work or more time with the people/things that you love?

Showing your feelings more

Why do you hide your feelings? Your friends will probably think your weird if you tell them what you really love doing? Your parents would be so disappointed in you, if you chose to become a writer instead of the Doctor they so desperately want you to be. What’s the point in telling her how you feel? She probably won’t feel the same way…

Imagine getting to 90, first of all… FUCKING CONGRATS! That is one hell of a run. Now imagine you are bitter, angry and feel only regret. You never managed to pluck the courage together and face up against all the bullying at work. The girl of your dreams stood in front of you all those years ago, her eyes shone with love, but you were to scared to tell her you loved her too.

You wanted to become an artist and work on comic books. A young Stan Lee approached you about a role as lead artist, for a comic-book universe he was creating called Marvel. You wanted to take it, you wanted to tell your parents how passionate you felt about the art you were creating… but you didn’t.

Showing how you feel is not weak, it is not embarrassing, it is liberating & honest. You will only get what you desire by telling others how you feel. Be sad, be happy, express love & challenge what you consider to be wrong. Just don’t be too proud to admit when you are wrong, relying on your ego is just as bad as holding your feelings in.

Be honest & show your feels!

Staying in touch with friends

When I got dumped a little under 2 years ago… I think.. its been a while now hahaha. One of the strangest feelings I had was complete and utter loneliness. I had let myself get so dependant on the validation of my ex, I had lost contact with all of my friends. It was completely my fault!

We are creatures of gossip & community, regardless of how much we want to fight it. We all need each other, so stop being stubborn and call your fucking mates! Stay in touch, go for dinner, have that Skype. I am just thankful, that at the time, my brother was close by.

An added bonus of staying in touch with your friends, your funeral will be a fucking party!

Being happy

We are creatures of habit.

Unfortunately, most of us get caught up in the habit of giving a fuck about the wrong things. We base our happiness on performance, if we don’t get the result, we aren’t happy. Even if our expectations are met (on the 200ft yacht cruise with 300 models in Colombia and all the Cocaine money can buy), we don’t stay happy for long.

Instead, we become entitled. Wanting more, claiming more & expecting better results. Life becomes an endless and unreachable, pursuit of happiness. It’s as if you are stuck in a mouse wheel, the cheese is just on the other side but no matter how hard you run, that fucking cheese stays just out of reach.

Happiness, like anything in life, is a choice. Choose to be happy on the journey, let the joy of being alive in the moment consume you & stop worrying about how happy you will feel if you reach the prize at the end. The prize is now… Bro… Sis… your fucking breathing! You won! So start enjoying the prize of life.

Dying is shit, can’t argue that. You can’t escape death, all the botox and plastic surgery in the world can’t prevent the slow decline of your cells. What you can do is make the most of the time you have left, and prioritise the stuff that really matters.

When I die, I want to be able to look back on my life with little regret. With a shot of bourbon and one last smile I’ll kick that fucking bucket off the cliff!

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Life is Great
Paulo & Jacques