I wish I hadn’t worked so hard!

If you knew what some of your regrets could be as you face death, you would be able to do something about it now, in the present. Wouldn’t you?

A nurse who counselled the dying made some interesting observations. She noted the top 5 regrets of a person as they approached the end of their life (guardian.co.uk on 1 February).

Was the regret about not having watched more TV? No. To have bungee-jumped? Definitely no! Amongst men, top of the list was:

‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard’!

Looking back on their lives, this was an interesting reflection. In their twenties, men are driven towards a career. It’s all part of setting up a base from which to lauch themselves into life. To have a job, a wife, a house, children, these are all part of the goals of a twenty-something year old. However, as a man starts to climb the corporate ladder, he becomes less and less dependent on the support and encouragement of his wife. He knows what he is doing and work rules his life.

If she complains that she needs her husband’s companionship, she could be brushed off with comments like ‘I’m doing all this for you, that’s why I’m working so hard!’ Communication has broken down and the husband doesn’t recognize that his wife desperately wants his companionship. He stays absorbed by his work.

What about the children? They literally grow up without much input from their workaholic dad. When he realises what has happened, it is too late, the children are no longer interested.

Now if you know that this could be one of your regrets as you approach your death, you could do something about it now, couldn’t you? Work, family and a spiritual life are all necessary for a happy life. You don’t want to overload any one area, because then the others will lose out. You have to try for a healthy balance!

Food for thought, isn’t it?

Look for another regret in my next post.