December 10, 2018

The rocking chair test

It’s often hard to define clearly what it is we want in life. It sometimes helps to identify what we don’t want. Bronnie Ware worked for 20 years at a hospice where she nursed people in their last days. She wrote a book called “The Regrets of the Dying” and listed the top 5 as:

  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 had the courage to express my feelings
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
  5. I wish I had let myself be happier

So, the very first question to consider is – whose life are you living? What constraints are you allowing others to place on you? You might have a partner who is more risk averse than you. Clarity requires a conversation about how you can accommodate their need for comfort with your need for challenge. But don’t just be silently compliant.

We call it the Rocking Chair test. There we are, sitting on the rocking chair at the rest home, looking back over our lives. What are we going to say to ourselves about ourselves? Are we going to smile with satisfaction or mutter a quiet curse of regret?

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