The Courage to Be Who You Are

Senior couple having fun at the ocean.

Vicki here. . .

Bronnie Ware was a palliative care worker for many years. She spent many remarkable hours with people during the last 3 to 12 weeks of their lives.

She found that people are capable of great insight when facing their own mortality. When asked what they regretted not doing in their lives, the most common response was lacking the courage to live an authentic life, “not the life others expected of me.”

They also regretted not letting themselves be happier. They did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had settled for less to please others, too often compromising what they truly wanted in order to keep others happy.

They wished they had worked less and connected more with friends.

In the end, they lamented that they lacked the courage to express their feelings honestly.

Still time enough

At the end of your life, what will you regret? Will you wish you had followed your dreams and expressed your feelings more honestly with loved ones? Will you wish you had enjoyed more love and sexual intimacy? Despair not, because while you are still breathing, there is always time to change your life for the better. 

If any of the above resonates with you, take heart because making a few small changes here and there will improve things.

If you want to connect deeply with loved ones, show them more physical affection. Get up right now and go to your beloved, look lovingly into their eyes, and embrace them. Or, give your child a warm, loving hug and tell them you love them. . .or give your mother-in-law a soft kiss on the cheek.

The new year is always a good time to ask ourselves how we can live a life more attuned to our heart’s desire. What must you do now so that you won’t be filled with regrets at the end of your life?

We at Lovegetsbetterafter60 encourage you to open your heart to love in the coming new year. Whatever form that takes, that is our new year’s wish for you!

Kevin here. . .

Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with leukemia. I had every sign indicative of a poor prognosis. Fortunately, advances in medicine have kept me alive, and I am still going strong!

So, I know why people say that having a life-threatening illness is a blessing in disguise. What I learned from my close call is that our time on Earth is short. We must pursue the life we wish to lead today.

So think deeply, decide what is really important to you, and go for it!

Vicki and I wish you all the best in the coming new year!

See Ware’s complete article, 5 Top Regrets of the Dying, for her take on regret-free living.

What is one adjustment you can make to ensure that you don’t have regrets? Let us know in the comments below!


  1. Anonymous January 16, 2019 at 5:13 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much. One adjustment I am making is to listen deeply without judgement to others and myself.

    • Kevin January 18, 2019 at 11:07 am - Reply

      Yeah. I feel badly about how often I judge and dismiss people. It is a lot more fun to listen deeply and draw them out.

  2. Anonymous January 17, 2019 at 7:27 am - Reply

    When I was in my twenties, I worked on the geriatrics ward of a hospital. The majority of people regretted that they had given their lives to their work, or their family or to something else. They were often a bit depressed and a bit panicked — the way you felt as a kid when you suddenly realized your homework was do today and you hadn’t started it yet.

    Every once in a while there would be a patient at peace. Some glowed. I spent time with these people. Obviously, they had found The Big Secret. Without fail, they would tell me stories about a time in their lives when they lived only for their authentic selves. For one woman in her 90s and on her way out, there was one summer in her teens where she was a waitress at a resort hotel in the Adirondacks without being someone’s daughter or wife or mother. The memory sustained her seventy years later. And it sent me on a lifelong quest for personal WooHoo! Namaste, Teacher.

    • Victoria January 17, 2019 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      What a lovely story! Your story brought home to me what “authentic self” really means–doing something for yourself, having an experience outside out our established roles, not curtailing our natural desire (as simple as it may be) to accommodate what others want. How interesting that although she probably enjoyed being a mother, daughter and wife, the sweetest, most meaningful memory was when she was being just for herself. She must have felt free then. The challenge is learning how to feel free in relationship. Here’s to the WooHoo! All the best to you, Vicki

  3. Sue January 17, 2019 at 9:22 am - Reply

    An adjustment I can make is to be more open and honest about what I want or don’t want. I have certain regrets, which include career choices. I can’t change the past, but certainly can look forward to a future which is full of meaningful conversation. This benefits the both of us and is important for emotional growth in our marriage. Thank you both for the time and commitment ,writing these blogs.

    • Victoria January 17, 2019 at 8:31 pm - Reply

      Hi Sue, you are absolutely correct! We can’t change the past but we can be more aware of what’s important to us now and communicate that to our loved ones and acquaintances, at home and at work.
      Growing older doesn’t mean we stop growing–in fact, aging requires us to change our self-image more than at any other time in our lives.
      So since change is inevitable, you might as well embrace it! And when you do that, your life will expand instead of shrink. You will grow instead of decline.
      Thanks so much for your perceptive comment, Vicki

  4. Jane January 17, 2019 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    I’m not sure I can ensure that I will have no regrets on my death bed, but I think that trying my best to be honest and genuine in my relationships is a step in the right direction. It’s not necessarily the easiest path, but I think it will produce a richer and more satisfying life in the end. I enjoyed reading the article you linked, and I appreciate your comment, Vicki, that aging requires us to change our self-image more than at any other time — so true! Kevin, I’m so glad that you have received treatment that allows you to both stay alive, and enjoy living!

    • Kevin January 18, 2019 at 11:26 am - Reply

      I think the other time of life that requires radical change is adolescence. And thanks for your good wishes for my health.

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