Thursday, December 1, 2011

Top 5 Regrets of the Dying

Top Five Regrets of the Dying
By Bronnie Ware

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learned never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth.

Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of meThis was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way.
From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship.
Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

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

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

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

Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happierThis is a surprisingly common one.

Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice.
They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness for yourself.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Redefining Impossible

Prologue: I gave this speach at the dedication ceremony for the council service center for scouting in Chicago. I have been approached by many of my colleagues who where in attendance or heard to share this with them.  In light of the events of the last day, I'm compelled even more to share this with you.

Steve Fossett Center for Scouting Dedication (10/22/11)

Redefining Impossible.

Good morning Ladies and Gentleman: 
Welcome.  My name is Lou Sandoval, and I currently serve the Chicago Area Council
as our Council Commissioner.   I am honored to be a part of this great milestone for the City of Chicago.  Who I am today:  a business owner, a community leader and most importantly an involved parent, is a result of the love and guidance my parents showed me, coupled with the support that Scouting provided during my upbringing.   

A support that reinforced the values learned at home and taught me the awareness that we live in a limitless society. Scouting taught me that if we work hard and put our minds to it-there is no stopping you.   It taught me that a young Hispanic boy from the Southeast side of Chicago could accomplish and redefine what is possible for him.

One doesn’t have to look too far to see the impossibilities facing Chicago’s youth today.  Just in this morning’s headlines: 
12 wounded in Friday afternoon, Saturday Morning Shootings:

-16 year old boy shot in the arm/abdomen
-17 year old girl shot in the leg
-16 year old boy shot in the arm and chest
-20 year old shot in the left arm….

I can go on- but I believe you get the point.   These challenges may seem impossible to our youth.  These are challenges that transcend socio-economic barriers.  These are challenges that occur in many neighborhoods around Chicago.   It can be said that our American Society has failed the youth of Chicago over the past two decades.  I’d like to think that our youth still have a chance.    In a world that continually broadcasts the impossible- Scouting shows youth what IS possible.

Steve Fossett lived that mission until that fateful day on Sept 3, 2007.  A holder of some 115 world records, he defied the impossible.   He redefined possible.    In his autobiography, he credits Scouting as having given him that foundation.  He credits scouting as having given him the foundation that drove him to success in business and his many other ventures in life.    

Now I never had the pleasure of meeting Steve when he was alive, but I’m sure we would have had much to talk about.  As a lover of sailing and scouting- I am sure we would have been able to converse for hours about business, the wind, the sea, the Race to Mackinac (a passion of mine), adventure and about living a life without the impossible. 

That IS what scouting teaches you.  To redefine what IS possible.  In a world that a times seems to work against you, The youth of Chicago need this redefinition.   The youth of Chicago need scouting.

Today we are gathered to honor the legacy of Steve Fossett in the dedication of our new council Service center.  

The much needed remodeling was accomplished through the generosity of his widow, Ms. Peggy Fossett and the Fossett family.    It stands as a monument to redefining  what is possible on behalf of the youth of Chicago- IN Steve’s name.  This new service center will facilitate delivery of the scouting message to all the neighborhoods in our great city.  It stands as a reminder that the youth of Chicago can redefine what is possible, just like Steve did.    

On behalf of the 1000s of youth involved in the scouting program and the 1000s of adult volunteers that support the scouting programs in Chicago, I want to be among the first to say Thank You to Mrs. Fossett her foundation and the Fossett family.   

THANK YOU-  for all whom you have impacted with your generosity and THANK YOU  to all whom we will impact on our mission to redefine the possibility of scouting for the youth of our great City.
Thank YOU for Sharing Steve’s great legacy with us with the hope that the youth of Chicago can redefine what is possible through scouting.

The Steve Fossett Center for Scouting is located at 1218 W. Adams Chicago, IL 60607 or visit to find out how you can help.