I read this news snippet today about a book by an Australian nurse, Bronnie Ware, called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. The article ends with a prompt to ask yourself, what would you regret if you died today?
I asked myself that just now, and the answer that came was, “I regret not living fully, not exhaling completely… I regret holding it all in for so many years. I wish I had just done what I wanted to do, without fear.”
Then I asked myself, “What are these fears?”
And the answer was, “Fear of going against the norm, fear of reprisal, fear of criticism, fear of parents’ disapproval…” and so on. Apparently, somewhere inside me, I am afraid of simply being myself, because it has come at such a cost.
The second thing I asked myself, “What is it that you want to do, but aren’t doing?”
The answer: “Meet more inspiring people, get out more, holiday more, set up a company, inspire someone, be inspired, break a few unspoken journalism or business rules, start a social / feminist revolution…”
This Q&A session with myself has provoked a revelatory silence inside me. Yes, my dreams are a bit odd, but they’re hardly blasphemous or impossible. I wonder what I’m so scared about? Why am I so afraid to breathe? I seem to dwell a lot on the worst that can happen – social stigma, ostracism, rejection and failure – but then, I am also blessed with huge amounts of faith. Faith that whatever will happen will only be for my own good, even if it’s my worst nightmare come true. Faith that I am protected. Faith that nature wouldn’t have made me this way if there wasn’t a reason behind it.
Can my faith outweigh my fears then?
How am I going to ensure that I have zero regrets the day I die?
How do I live my life to the fullest, and give complete expression to all these furiously bubbling desires inside me?
In the answers, I suspect, lies my salvation.