When people are nearing death, they often reflect on their lives – some with great pleasure but most with levels of regret. There are times when one might recall a memorable event spent with family or loved ones. One only hopes that such happy memories would be one’s final thoughts. Unfortunately, not all final statements have this same sense of contentment. Have you ever heard of anyone on their deathbed bed say they wish they worked more?
The most common statements consist of either apologies or regrets. I wish that I would have been a better father or mother. I wish that I would have spent more time with the family. I should have been a better friend. I am sorry for not being there during times of trouble. I wish we would have seen Europe. I should have gone on that school field trip.
Human Nature causes our reflection during stressful or fearful times. Typically this reflection will highlight areas of regret. The key is to be able to balance the regret with highlights of joy. True joy is often the result of fellowship with others – friends, family, loved ones, etc. The building of relations and interaction with others is what feeds the human spirit.
Since there are very few individuals born into wealth, work is a requirement for most people. The key is to balance the level of work required to meet one’s employment and financial needs/goals while not sacrificing the needs and relationships in one’s personal life. Unfortunately, it is easy to gravitate one’s attention to professional needs and desires without realizing the unintentional sacrificing of one’s personal needs.
In the end, we always wish we did more. However, sometimes it is not until the end that we truly realize the proper priority of what is important in life. Work is a necessity for life, but work should never monopolize one’s life. For he who dies with the most stuff does not truly win – because he is often the one who also dies alone.
If you were on your deathbed today, what would be your statement?
Husband, father, coffee connoisseur and lover of all things hockey. At 51 I sometimes wonder have I done enough. I have been married to my best friend for 30 years. She knows all my faults and loves me anyway, As a father of “almost always” perfect boys, I am always surprised at what life has to offer. It is messy, scary, thrilling, and always fun.