Regrets of dying should inspire us all

Published 9:45 pm Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday, a friend shared an article, “Top five regrets of the dying,” after we had each acknowledged that we work more than we should and tend to neglect play.

It is about a a nurse who has recorded the most common regrets of the dying, and has published them in a book, “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.” Among them, she said, is “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.” It is a particular regret among men, she said.

They include:

• I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

• I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

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

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

• I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Late in life it seems, many of the patients with whom she had come in contact realized that happiness was a choice.

I can’t imagine that I’ll regret the time spent working, because many days it feels like play. I caught on a long time ago that being happy was simple if one made up one’s mind to be happy. “Bloom where you are planted,” someone once wrote. It’s easier than you think.

But I also know that if I suddenly stopped working, I’d be lost, because the newspaper is so much of what I do and think every day. I know that, like many other workaholics in the world, I should work harder at having fun. But dang, it’s hard to stop having fun and go have fun!

In my ipod is a song sung in French, “Non Je Ne Regrette Rien.”

I found it after my distant cousin Sophie, whom I know only through the magic of email and social media, posted a link to it one day. Sophie, for those in Florala who would know him, is the granddaughter of Jack Cox, who married a beautiful French woman and brought her home to Alabama and then Georgia.

“Thinking of my nanie on this beautiful afternoon and the way she used to sing this song after a few glasses of wine,” Sophie wrote.

The title translates “No. I regret nothing.”

Of course, I can’t understand all of the lyrics, but when I listen to the soulful delivery, I get a good sense of what it’s about.

It’s a brave favorite song for a woman who left her family and country. I hope it’s still one of my favorites in my golden years, too.