For the last few months, people all over the world have been reminded daily that death could decide to make an appearance at their doors. Instead of waiting in the shadows, the grim reaper has moved into the light for all to see. And that provides a constant reminder that life is short and death can come unexpectedly.
I’d bet that you, too, have been looking into death’s eyes and wondering if your turn is coming. How could you not be thinking about death—yours or someone else’s—when the news continually reports how many people in the world have died from Covid-19, the virus that has caused a global pandemic?
The Opportunity of a Life Time
A pandemic shoves death into our collective experience. It reminds us that the length of our lives is not ours to determine, but it also provides us with the opportunity to decide how to live.
Indeed, if each one of us is truly honest, we haven’t been living our lives fully. Think about it… Have you been stepping into your potential, fulfilling your purpose, or playing full out every day—or even a portion of the time?
You have the chance to change that. You have been given an opportunity—the opportunity of a lifetime—to decide to live your life to the fullest extent possible…starting now.
When you get to the end of your life, you don’t want to regret that you didn’t live fully. However, most people do have regrets…big ones.
In The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, Bronnie Ware identifies the most common regrets of those who know death is imminent. They are:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so much.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
You can avoid these regrets and others by using this time to consider how to live your life more fully. Every time you hear the Covid-19 death toll, look away from the grim reaper. Focus on life instead. Specifically, focus on how you want to live your life.
Clarity about How to Live Fully
To make a decision about how to live your life fully, you need clarity about how you want to show up and experience each day. You can arrive at that clarity by returning to the idea of regrets.
Let me explain…
If you were to die in the next week, what would you wish you had done differently? Would you have the regrets identified by Ware, or would you have others?
Ask yourself additional questions. For instance, imagine that your own death is imminent. Then answer these queries:
- Who would you wish you had spoken to more frequently?
- Who would you have liked to forgive?
- Who would you need to have a conversation with?
- Who would you have said “I love you” to more often?
- What projects would you have started or completed?
- What legacy would you have liked to leave?
- How would you have wanted to show up?
- What courageous actions would you wish you had taken?
- What bold decisions would you wish you had made and acted upon?
- How and with whom would you wish you had expressed your feelings?
- What would you wish you had done…or not done?
- What emotion would you have liked to express more often?
- In what way would you wish you had made a more significant difference?
- Where do you wish you would have lived?
- To what places do you wish you would have traveled?
- What do you wish you had done differently?
- What else do you regret?
Think of your own questions and add them to the list. Each answer provides additional clarity about the things you might regret and how to avoid those regrets. Additionally, this exercise increases your ability to decide how to live more fully going forward.
Start Living Fully Now
Don’t wait for death to tap you on the shoulder before you begin living fully. Start now…this moment.
Consider how you can avoid the regrets you’ve listed. What can you begin doing now? Make a plan for the other things that you will do in the very near—not distant—future. (Remember: Your personal future may not be as long as you think. If you put things off, you may die with regrets.)
So many people are afraid of getting Covid-19 and dying. Still, people continue dying of other things, too, like heart attacks, cancer, gunshot wounds, and injuries caused by accidents. So, keep in mind that, even when the Covid-19 pandemic ends, you need to live with death in clear view.
You don’t know when your time will come. And even if you live to be 100, you could still die with regrets. That doesn’t have to be your fate, though.
Decide to live fully. Get clarity on what that means for you. (It means something different for everyone.) Then, implement the changes necessary to ensure you have no regrets when you are lying on your deathbed.
Death is inevitable. A fully lived life, on the other hand, is not. But you can change that fact with your intentional, moment-to-moment choices and actions. And you can start right now.
How do you choose to live your life post-global-pandemic so you have no regrets? Tell me in a comment below, and please, share this post with someone who would benefit from its message.
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