The news of David Cassidy’s death blanketed the airwaves last month. I must confess, I didn’t recognize his name. A friend had to tell me who he was. I didn’t know him. I wasn’t a fan. I don’t remember ever watching an episode of The Partridge Family, so I paid little attention to his passing. That has now changed. Even though I couldn’t name a single song he sang, I’ll never forget him for his simple but profound last words …
“So much wasted time.”
Knowing little about David Cassidy doesn’t prohibit me from taking his final words to heart. I understand. The older I get, the more I value my time. Even though I’ve never met him, I still feel a deep sadness that his last thoughts were not of the joys of his life, but of regret. Last week, we spoke of making a difference in the lives of the lonely. I said that what people value from us is our time and attention. I asked you to reach out and spend time with at least one person you know who is lonely. Making a positive difference in the lives of others is never wasted time. Apparently, David Cassidy’s last thought was of all the time he wasted. That isn’t the last thought I want to have and I’m sure the same is true for you.
It is said, “The best education is at the bedside of the dying.”
There is much written about the last words of the dying. Bonnie Ware, palliative care nurse and author of the book, “Top Five Regrets of the Dying,” compiled a list of the last words expressed in the form of regret over her many years of service. She placed them into five categories.
1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, rather than 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 true feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish I had let myself be happier.
Nos. 2 and 4 are mine but I am not on my deathbed, so I have a mission of working less and keeping in touch with friends.
Live Life with No Regrets
Easier said than done, but Grace Bluerock, a hospice social worker, writing in the Huffington Post says, “It was shocking how many of my hospice patients got to the end of their lives wishing they had lived differently.”
Bluerock goes on to list 10 acts we can take while we are living that will help us live a life free of, or at least, with fewer regrets.
1. Let your loved ones know you love them.
2. Follow your dream.
3. Trust your gut instincts.
4. Keep your work at work.
5. Take risks.
6. Take life less seriously.
7. Turn failures into stepping stones.
8. Practice forgiveness.
9. Be yourself.
10. Practice kindness.
When sitting down to write my weekly column, I always ask, “What is the purpose of this column. Let me assure you …
The purpose of this column is NOT to prepare us for death …
… but to help us do a better job of living without regret. And make no mistake about it … I’m with you. I struggle daily and am a constant work in progress.
I’ll end by quoting two people who have never been quoted together, John Wesley and Ferris Buehler. (Yes, you read that correctly). Many are shaking their heads right now saying, “I know one, but who is that other guy?” Depending on your age, the other guy could be either an 18th century biblical scholar or a fictional teen icon from the 20th century.
“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. As long as you ever can.” – John Wesley
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t look stop and look around occasionally, you could miss it!” – Ferris Buehler
“Buehler? Buehler? Buehler?”