Saturday, June 29, 2013

On the Fringes of Life


 The Write Tribe Wednesday Prompt # 7
 
Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart. – Winnie the Pooh

In her book 'The Top Five Regrets of the Dying' a nurse rendering palliative care writes about the most common regrets people have at the end of their lives. Most of the comments posted on this article were compulsively readable and thought provoking.

Some said that the nurse was out to make money from the misery of her patients. Others  said, they had no regrets at all.

I really pity the vain girl who wrote, ‘If I were to die in the next few minutes, I would regret the fact that I've still not gotten dressed yet.’

Then there was a guy who said, ‘I don't need to be on my deathbed to regret not having more sex - it's a recurring sentiment every morning. ’

A pessimist filled with a sense of futility, commented, ‘God, I regret being born. It's just years of sorrow and regret and then decay and death.’

This article compelled me to introspect. The top five regrets according to the nurse were:

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

I have to admit that I was true to myself, so no regrets on this account.

I wish I hadn't worked so hard.

 I wish I had worked hard. Being inherently lazy, and inspired by Bertrand Russell’s famous essay, ‘In Praise of Idleness’, I have ample idleness and leisure in my life.

I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.

I wish I could hide some. I display emotions with childlike ease which complicates situations.

I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

I don’t have many friends, but I am satisfied with my limited trusted list of friends. No regrets.

I wish I had let myself be happier.

Let me rephrase this one. I wish I was not a worrier. I wish I was less anxious about things that were not in my control. Events in life have unraveled and unfolded in unimaginable ways. And worrying never solved any problem. Never.

Since the first four regrets were not on my list, I pondered over the fifth one. How was it possible to let myself be happier? More sport, more music, more travel, more places is all I can think. But the real answer eludes me.

The answer perhaps is in giving more, and not asking for more. Maybe, giving happiness is the only way happiness can come in our lives.
But no point waiting for apocalypse to figure out regrets, if any.  Now is the time.

Picture Courtesy: Flickr/winter-light

38 comments:

  1. To me, being happy is enjoying every moment of the present. This is not easy but achievable.
    I think life is not led only to be happy. It can be sad or it can also be boring or without any excitement and it can be many more.
    There is an opinion which is quite famous in India 'To be happy we have to give others and we will be happy. If you think of only for yourself then you are selfish'.
    I do not completely agree that giving others will makes one happy.
    I think having expectation from others makes us sad. If we do not have any expectation at all or minimum expectation then one can be happy (then one can ask how much minimum is minimum?- that is for oneself to decide I say).
    Then this question comes out 'why does or should any human expect anything from others at all?' :-)

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    1. I guess we are all seeking and searching.

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  2. I sometimes think of those wishes too. Should stop waiting for the apocalypse. Yeah. Should give more, then maybe I'll get more satisfaction from life than I am at present :) Beautiful post.

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  3. I quite agree with the no-giving-is-small bit. But am not sure about the banking of happiness theory. Maybe because we have a collectivist culture, and are told so much about doing things for others ( and not so much for our personal self ), that this seems to be the way to go. I am not sure, if it truly is the way. But again, there does not have to be one size fits for all mantra.

    What a mess really :)

    Ma'm when even you are still seeking answers to these questions, I wonder whether people like me can ever zero onto something, ever.

    As for the apocalypse, well... Hollywood knows better. They talk about it almost every weekend, and they make the biggest holes in our pockets- but that would go against the tag rules :)

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    Replies
    1. The article made me ponder. Frankly, like most, I am seeking and searching.

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  4. Nice post.. on point 'I wish I hadn't worked so hard'.. I still remember how my grandfather used to joke. He would say 'Raj mein na pat mein jo maza khat mein' (rest is most enjoyable than any power)!! hahaha!

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    1. I am not really proud of the fact that I am lazy, but leisure can be pleasure.

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  5. I have no regrets about my education.
    God created in 7 days this universe. Then there was light. I will give 1 rupee to the wealthiest most satisfied man in hospital you described if you make him accept that Jesus is not the one. I believe in him. The circle is his.

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    Replies
    1. What are the regrets, if any?

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Most of us are sinners, though some are wary of admitting.

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  6. Ah! a nice post, Alka. Happiness is something that you never know where it will come from. Sometimes, we are not even aware that we are making someone happy with our deeds or sometimes, we fail to realized that something someone did was to make us happy. Happiness, I would say, is out of our hands, sometimes :)

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    Replies
    1. True. I don't know the answers Diwakar. The article led me on an introspective path, hence this post.

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  7. For each individual, happiness means different things and at different stages of life. I think , no individual has found the key to the door of happiness. So instead of trying to find what happiness is, let us take life as it comes , each day each moment.

    Nice post Alka.

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    Replies
    1. True. So what are your regrets, if any?

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  9. Hi Alka. Happiness is the Mantra we must always remember'.We must grab it in whatever form it comes. Wish you all the best. Let HAPPINESS be yours from all sides.

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  10. Alka, Rightly said..there is no such thing as small giving.. What lits me up is when people freely give , help and spread love ..that wells me up with sheer joy :)

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  11. I remember reading a write-up of a similar kind. Makes you wonder why we wait for death to realize that we could have lived a better life.

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  12. There's so much I wish I could do, did/n't do but no point in wearing my heart on my sleeve. I'd rather give that up for shared laughter, inspiration...

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I need more laughter, more silliness and more inspiration.

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    2. How could I ignore or resist that :) - https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=534756499903410&set=a.390151551030573.87561.312184698827259&type=1&ref=nf (Couldn't stop laughing at this. Hope you like it too.)

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    3. Thanks KayEm, it was hilarious.

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  13. It would do us good to do this exercise at regular intervals. I know I do, introspect, realign in that eternal quest for happiness and contentment. Must say, can't think of any regrets.

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    Replies
    1. Yep, it makes sense to introspect now than regret later.

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  14. Yes, no one admits. I deleted the above therefore.

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  15. For me happiness lies in the knowledge that i did not wrong anyone & carried out my duties to the best of my abilities.

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    Replies
    1. That can be very rewarding and reassuring.

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  16. 'If you want happiness for an hour; take a nap,
    If you want happiness for a day; go fishing,
    If you want happiness for a month; get married,
    If you want happiness for a year; inherit a fortune,
    If you want happiness for a lifetime; help someone else!'

    -A Chinese saying.

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  17. If we all lived as if that day is the last day of our lives, we would do things the right way, especially since we would be aware of our mortality. For it is the arrogance of our own power and invincibility that makes us do things that we might regret while dying, doesn't it?

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  18. Uve put it beautifully, Alka. I wished I haven't made some silly mistakes, lived life fully and find excuses to always be happy in life. I wish to live every moment of life and choose happiness as well as positive energy:)

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