Every time this year, when a new year is approaching, we tend to think about resolutions. Either we want to lose weight, make more money, spend less, or travel more. It can be just about anything. Sometimes they are the very same resolutions we made last year only to find we fell very short of accomplishing what our goals were or are.
As I pondered the upcoming New Year and what I really want it to look like, some very unexpected thoughts entered into me. It was like I took a time travel back to when I cared for those much older than I; most of them dying. I recalled working on my doctoral dissertation on dream interpretation as well. Part of the dissertation was dedicated to dreams and also desires by those who were sick and dying. I know this could sound like I am approaching a morbid subject but actually I’m not, so stick with me.
Thinking about both my experiences ,and also my research, I began to remember vividly some of the things that were expressed as people were getting ready to enter into their next phase of living outside of the body. I’m convinced our spirit is alive and never ever dies, just as God is alive. Whatever your thoughts on this is beside the point. Let me move on. As I closed my eyes, my thoughts were filled with statements of regret that I heard over and over again. Some of them in person, some I heard of, and some I studied. Most were all the same. I’m going to list some of them here:
- I wish I took better care of myself while I had the chance.
- I should have told her/him “I love you” but was either afraid or negligent.
- I never realized just how fast time would go and I should have taken more time for what is really important.
- The office should not have been my top priority.
- My spiritual/devotional life could have been better and stronger.
- I could have made the choice to be more kind in circumstances and now I can’t change the aftershock.
- I should have considered my choices just a little more before I made them. I might have made a different choice had I thought things through more.
- I wish I had spent more time with my family instead of being busy, I could have been busy with them.
- Why didn’t I say, “I am sorry”? It could have healed the issue but my pride was in the way.
- I never took the time to enjoy the beauty of this earth. My mind and actions were always on things that really don’t matter now.
Maybe you can think of some for yourself. Close your eyes and imagine for a moment that today is the last day of your life. What would you greatly regret if you were leaving this earth today? Now, remember, you have time today, tonight, and hopefully tomorrow. Who needs to know you love them? What are you sorry for but have never expressed it to someone? Where have you always wanted to go? Who is the most important person to you and have you neglected them? Who has been there for you every single time but you never seem to say, “Thank you”.
If you were leaving your body tonight, think about it, would you have some regrets? I have watched tears falling down the faces of elderly people and some younger, while stating, “I never saw the Grand Canyon.” “I should have taken better care of myself because I might have more time with my loved ones had I done that.” “I wish I had not caused _______ so much pain and never healed it with them.”
This upcoming New Year as you consider your resolutions, maybe also consider if you have been silently living with regrets. They tend to come to the surface when faced with our mortality. Let them come now, with tears, with healing, and then with action. Don’t live another day with what you might regret tomorrow. Live in love, but love yourself first by honoring what is right, what is honest, what is your heart’s desire, and what love speaks to your heart. Then thank yourself. You are worth it.
Loving you from here,
Dr Jenine Marie Howry, PhD