The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying

  1. “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
  2. “I wish I didn’t work so hard.”
  3. “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
  4. “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
  5. “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

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Hm… I am not sure those are actually the top five regrets. The list seems to have been made by a woman who worked, in some unknown capacity, in a palliative care facility. Doing so might give her contact with dying patients, but I am not sure whether her list doesn’t reflect her own values and interpretations (rather than the views of the patients.)

She wrote a book earlier this year with same title as this thread. From the reviews on, it seems it is heavily concerned with her own life story.

It has been said that no one who is dying regrets not spending more time at work! Perhaps if one enjoys one’s job, but even then…Also, it is interesting there is no mention of being more religious, spiritual, charitable, knowledgeable, or wise.

A radio program interviewed people who had reached a grand old age (I think 100) and they all regretted not taking more chances. Ironic in a way, as those who took more risks may have died younger as a result.

Good points, meltzerboy.

  1. Writing this post while taking a vacation day from work, and spending part of my vacation happily working on getting a small order for my artwork out the door to a customer.

  2. In some of my spiritual reading I’ve come across passages where someone (don’t have a name, read this years ago and probably no name was given) listed as their one regret not having the time to say just one more “Hail Mary,” and in a list of reasons about Mass attendance that every Mass you hear during your life will be a comfort to you when you die. So it is interesting that there’s no mention of anything like that in these Top 5 Regrets.

All very interesting…

It is too bad they cannot glean this information from those that have faced judgement.


Simply because people may regret something at the end of their life does not indicate that they should regret it or that they will regret it eternally.

It is strange to see a lack of mention of spiritual things. There is no mention of living a holier life, seeking God’s will first, giving more to others, trying to live less selfishly, etc.
This list does seem geared more toward the secular world. Maybe if one sees self-fulfillment as the purpose of life, then the list makes sense to them.

I think that concerns about the life hereafter and being “right with God” should have been mentioned…everyone I know of who has been near death has looked to those issues.

The question is skewed towards humanist desires.
People generally do not keep an eye on eternity, and the question itself directs the attention towards the past and not the future.

Now if these people had the context of judgement, their regrets may be different entirely.

Few people will be able to regret turning left instead of right until they discover that they will be delayed (or never reach at all) the destination they intend.

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