By Kathleen Hutchinson
12 May

No Regrets

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

“I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me” is the number one regret from author Bronnie Ware’s book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

After facing my own mortality and seven weeks post-open heart surgery, I was asked, “What’s your three-, five- or ten-year plan? What about retirement? You’ve been wandering for the past ten years. What are your long term goals?” You need to have a plan and if you don’t, you’re irresponsible is, in a nutshell, what I was told.

A 40-year-old friend also faced his own mortality. His doctor told him he won the lottery when he should have been dead with a 99.9% block in his left anterior descending artery (repaired with a stent). He shook his head when I told him I was asked about my long-term plans; actually, everyone I told said, you almost died! This led him to share his feeling that people who have not been faced with death are so ignorant. Most of us do not appreciate life until we may lose it. When someone asks him now about his future plans, he simply says, to be alive!

Another dear friend and her husband had a five-year plan. Within 35 minutes, their plan changed. He dropped dead from a heart attack. He was 57. Now the RV they were going to purchase and the trips they had planned in the RV were out the window.

My intention here is not to be a Debbie Downer. My intention is to inspire you to live life—be a happier version of you. Live life to the best of your abilities and have no regrets in the end. Life doesn’t have to be as regimented or hard as we make it to be. Who says we have to live life like A, and if you’re B, you’re irresponsible? Live your life true to yourself.

I could not have planned for congestive heart failure or needing my pulmonary valve replaced (I simply didn’t know). Now that my life has been tossed upside down and around, I see things a little differently.

How do I view life differently versus before? My views of living life with no regrets are the same as before; however, now I feel I’ve received confirmation that trust, faith and listening to your inner voice will lead you down the right path. I definitely feel better than I ever have which gives me renewed energy and motivation to lead a healthier lifestyle. I have a new sense of fervor about life, determined to live the one I’ve always dreamed of. If you want something from this life, you need to go out and get it. I’m dreaming big and getting at it.

I agree it takes courage to live the life you want. It seems we have to please others or live the way society tells us—college, career, husband/wife, the white picket fence, kids—and we miss out on what really makes us happy. I’m not saying those things won’t make you happy, if that is what you want.

Living a life true to you may seem simple but for many, it’s a hard choice due to fear. We get sucked up in and allow everyday life to overshadow our hopes and dreams because we cannot fathom how we can give up our homes, our successful careers, the relationships we aren’t happy in, or our daily routine—to break free and live the life we’ve always dreamed of. We allow fear to blind us, to paralyze us. Then we have to face the perception of what others may think, that we are wandering, even lost.

I’m sure each of you knows full well how precious life is. My hope for you is that you are living life to the fullest and never wondering what if? Do you dream of starting your own business? Start today. Do you want to tell someone you love them? Tell them today. Is there a place you’ve always wanted to visit? Start planning today. Don’t wait. Don’t ever wonder, what if?

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