There’s been a lot made of the five regrets of the dying written by Bronnie Ware. I usually find this sort of reflective advice the most honest since it comes at the end when people have nothing to lose by being honest. More interesting of course is once you have read the list, what actions will you take to change your life? While you can think of these as regrets, I prefer to think of them as sins in much the same way Paul Graham must have when he phrased the regrets as follows:
- Don’t ignore your dreams
- Don’t work too much
- Say what you think
- Cultivate friendships
- Be happy
Made me wonder how many sins I used to commit and still am committing. Lets review shall we?
Don’t Ignore Your Dreams
I was never a guy that knew what his dream was from day one. I never walked around with a decided look in my eyes. I’ve done well in life, gone to the best schools, worked and learned a lot, but chased my dreams? Can’t say I have. Or atleast, not until recently but even then, I still think I’m still figuring our what my dreams are exactly.
Don’t Work Too Much
I used to work a lot. Certainly more than was healthy and probably more than was productive. I moved closer to work so I could reduce the commute time which was fine for a while until I started to just work more. End result was I used to get home at the same time but I worked a couple of extra hours.
Now, I am having to temper my former workaholism attitude with my vagabonding ways. I’m trying to relax and leave my former ways behind, but even now, so far removed from my old job, I still feel the twinges. For sure I haven’t learned to relax and enjoy my spare time without thoughts of work.
Say What You Think
Saying what I think is something I haven’t particularly struggled with except when I needed to be more confrontational. I’m generally a pretty agreeable guy and look for the cliche win-win or at least reasonable compromise. But sometimes you just need to stick to your guns. And fire away. I need practice and probably would be better off if I did.
I’m not the most outwardly social person. I don’t have a huge fan following or large friend base. You could say this means that I’m not cultivating friendships but the truth is, I prefer to focus on my close friends more. I’m an introvert by nature (most programmers are by nature) and socializing is fun but taxing for me mostly. But I try my best to maintain the friendships I really value.
Score: 3 to 1.
No photos found for specified shortcodeAs for happiness, this has been a mixed bag for me. There have been great periods of my life where I have been happy and some dark stretches where I just plowed ahead. Overall I have given myself permission to relax and be happy and place happiness at the core of my mission. I’d say it’s not perfect but it’s pretty good.
Final: 3 to 2.
So there is my analysis. I need to define my dreams better and chase after it. I think this trip has allowed me to start that process. I need to be more confrontational and stick to my guns and say what I think. And I desperately need to find a way to ease the pressure in my head that demands I be productive and work, work, work. Even now.
How about you? Which of the sins are you committing? Which ones are you trying to work on?