I’ve been thinking about New Year reflections recently – I always find January a good time to reflect on and re-evaluate where I am and where I am going. During one of the Covid lockdowns, I came across Bronnie Ware’s book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. I know, sounds a bit heavy, but bear with me. But it had some amazing thoughts in it, well worth reflecting on at any point in life, but especially during a transition such as re-entry.
Reflection can help us see what is really important, which can get lost when we are in between things and focussing on survival. Not that survival isn’t key, but we can lose sight of where we are trying to go in the midst of it all. It may be that your wishes are different to these, but let’s start with what she wrote.
Here are the regrets Bronnie came up with:
- I wish that I had the courage to live a life that is true to myself and not what others expect of me
- I wish I didn’t work so hard
- I wish I had the courage to express my feelings
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my family and friends
- I wish that I allowed myself to be happier
A whole raft of questions occurs to me on reading those – sift through and pick the ones that attract or resonate with you:
How do those sit with you?
Have you ever had those thoughts?
Could you imagine them still being there at the end of your life? How does that feel?
What might you change now so that those regrets don’t occur?
What other regrets could you imagine having? What can you do about them?
What questions will you add in your New Year reflections?
I think I would add some things to the list:
- I wish I had taken life less seriously
- I wish I had been less defended
- I wish I had brought more joy to others
- I wish…
What would you add? Have some fun writing things that come to you – don’t censor them until they’re on paper.
I wonder what your New Year reflections will lead you to. How might these few moments of thought change how you live your year and the outcome of it. No, we don’t have control of much of what goes on in our external world. But we can change how we approach it.
Let’s be the change we long to see in the world (Gandhi).
For more thoughts on reflecting at the start of the year, see my previous post on new year’s resolutions.
31st December 2021