Happy 2019! While on a hike over the holidays, I listened to a podcast episode called, “A Life Beyond Regrets,” that helped me assess how honestly I am (and am not) living.
In it, Jonathan Fields interviews Bonnie Ware on her book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. Bonnie uncovered these five regrets after several years of offering palliative care, sitting–and listening– at the bedside of the dying.
Originally published in an article she wrote here, they include:
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 hadn’t worked 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.
The end of a calendar year is a kind of a death for all of us. Each year during this season, I take a lot of time to reflect deeply on the year that has passed.
- What have I learned?
- Given what I’ve learned, how will I do things differently next time?
- What do I need to let go of?
- Where is life wanting to take me?
- What is wanting to be born through me?
- And, since time is our most precious commodity, how do I want to spend my time in the next year?
Over the past month, as I asked myself these questions, I discovered something tremendous.
While an onlooker might look at my life this past year and not see any real growth (and perhaps even see what looks like diminishment and dissolution), as I looked more closely, I saw the exact opposite.
I saw myself doing the heavy lifting and inner and outer rearranging required to live a life that’s truer to who I am. While it was messy and often raw and chaotic, I saw myself bravely, boldly following my heart.
For over a decade, my soul has been calling me to live by the ocean–in California, specifically. Deeply embedded in landlocked Colorado, I resisted the pull. My rational mind found all sorts of excuses to hold me back.
Uprooting myself would mean trading a beautiful home, my social structure, and a very easy way of life for the unknown (an unknown with a higher cost of living and hardly anyone I knew!).
Yet, as the years rolled on, my soul’s call crescendoed into a cry. In 2018, I knew that if I wanted to keep growing, I needed to go. So, several months ago, I dismantled my life in Colorado and have since relocated to Santa Barbara, California.
As Sadie and I drove out here– through the snowy mountains of Utah and the sparse deserts of Arizona– I felt the sensation in my chest that my heart was literally pulling me here.
It pulled me to long walks on the beach at sunset and to fuchsia bougainvillea splayed against the turquoise sky. While my time here so far has been for getting settled and oriented, I know that, at some point in the future, I will see why my heart really pulled me here.
Until then, I’m living in the unknown, fertile with possibility (and mystery). And, however it turns out, I know that if I were to die right now, I’d be dying without regret, for 2018 was the year that I had the courage to leap into a life that felt truer to myself.
Now, still in the dawn of 2019, I’m curious, what brave steps do you need to take (or celebrate having taken!) to live a life true to yourself this year? What do you still need to do to die without regrets?
And, if you’d like tactical, visionary, and sisterly support in following through on a creative idea and/or taking a bold step in your career this year, there are still a couple of spaces available in this year’s mastermind, The SHE Leadership Circle.
Our first group call is next week, and if you’ll regret letting another year pass without acting on your heart’s longing, go ahead and take the next baby step by filling out an application here.
May this be a year when we all have the courage to follow our hearts!