Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Bear with me, folks. This is a bit of a circuitous story. I've been flipping through the online pages of Etsy, looking for special little gifts. If you don't know about Etsy, it's an online clearinghouse for homemade and vintage items. Here's a link if you want to find some unique pieces but be warned---give yourself plenty of time to roam:

Then, last night, I heard about a website called Regretsy. At this site you will see all the many seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time objects that people purchased on Etsy and later regretted. You can find them at: (They also have a charity component so it's good for more than just a laugh.)

This takes me to the topic of regrets. I'm sure I'm no different than most of you in my desire to live with as few regrets as possible so i was happy to read an article via my friend, Bette. Here, according to someone who worked for years in palliative care, are 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. 

I intend to read this and read it again and again to keep myself as alert as possible to the courage it takes to live a life free from the burden of regret. 


Gigi Little said...

Funny, one of the first things I thought when I read this list (looking specifically at number one and number three) was relief that I'm not the only one. Selfish reaction, yes, but it wiped a bit of the shame of it away, reading those two items on the list.

Laura Stanfill said...

What a wonderful list of regrets, Liz. It definitely serves as a road map to remind us what's really important.

Liz said...

that doesn't seem selfish at all, gigi...seems pretty normal to me.

Liz said...

i totally agree, laura.

Hiten said...

Good post. A another I've heard from a few of my senior friends is "I wish I'd spent more time with my family".

Liz said...

very good point, hiten...thanks for pointing that out.

Aileen said...

I love knowing about think I'll just call some of my days that!

"Stumbling on Happiness" by Daniel Gilbert gets into this and the research on regret. What stayed with me from it is: don't bother asking anyone later what they thought during anything. Apparently we rarely remember anything the way we felt it during the experience.

So I always wonder about end-of-life, or end-of-class, or end-of-summer or of-the-old-year summing ups. I have a feeling those same people might still have worked as hard, clammed up as much, and fallen out of touch with old friends just the same way they did, even if they had an entire second chance. (There goes "It's a Wonderful Life" or whatever that wonderful Jimmy Stewart movie was.)

But what do I know? I've never died (that I can remember) and I have plenty of regrets....

Liz said...

you might be right about people making the same choices anyway, aileen. i know for me it helps to keep these concepts at the forefront of my mind....might help me at least minimize any regrets i might have.