UFI

Life’s Regrets or Life’s Satisfactions: We Choose

In Elder Care, Families, father, Grandparents, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, The Family, Values on October 22, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Rachel Allison

I recently heard a speaker tell of a nurse of the terminally ill who often asked her patients, “Do you have any regrets?”

This nurse’s question has given me pause to reflect, and I’m not even sick.  Her patients’ most frequent responses?

1.  I wish I had spent more time with the people I love.

2.  I wish I had lived up to my potential.

3.  I wish I had let myself be happier.

The question should not be saved for the terminally ill.  As healthy adults we should ask ourselves the question, and then go about making our regrets satisfying successes.

Because the #1 response is at the top of my “If I could go back and live life over again,” it’s this response that I would like to address.

I have heard it said repeatedly that our families should be our A#1 priority in life.  I have heard it, I have tried to live it, and I have observed what happens to families where this principle is embraced.    If our lives are too busy for positive family time and conversation, then we need to carefully and even prayerfully examine why our B#2 and C#3’s are pushing our time and attention away from A#1.  The choice is ours to make.

My husband recently chose to bow out of a project that he had been committed to for the past four years.  He spent countless hours at his office meeting with people, reading/answering emails, and studying to keep informed on all that this project required. His intentions were admirable, and the praise he received was ego inflating, but about 3 ½ years into this obligation he realized that what he was accomplishing was not worth the time spent away from our family and me.  When he announced that he would be “passing the torch” many were surprised and even protested his decision.  But each time when he responded with, “I want to spend more time with my wife,” each of his associates immediately stopped protesting.

In case you are concerned, this project was not putting bread on our table or a roof over our head.  It was a passion he had developed, and he had CHOSEN to get involved.

I know many men and women who have their own passions: Golf, sports, Facebook, the Internet, friends, and politics to name a few.  And there’s nothing wrong with having a passion as long as we keep them in their place…behind A#1… the family. When we put as much time and effort into creative time and meaningful conversation with our family members as we do some of our passions, at the end of the day we will have no regrets…and at the end of our lives only satisfaction in knowing we gave our best time and attention to our families.

  1. What a wonderful reminder for the day! Actually, I have read the short book that this nurse had written…it was very well done and has many good points. I would certainly recommend it to anyone, at any stage of life.

    In my own life, I try to use what I’ve learned from this book, but…it is difficult. My family consists of so many who have succumb to the culture of the typical American. They use medications to simply get through the day, drink in excess, smoke, and do not pray. Many of them do not speak to one another, and haven’t for years. All of them are very materialistic, which saddens me to my core. There was a time when I tried to maintain bonds with everyone but only my mother and her children do the same.

    So, I usually spend the majority of my time with my friends. They are far closer to my heart than most family members, and agree wholeheartedly with many aspects of my life. Some of these wonderful men I’ve known since middle school, others only for 6 or 7 years…all of them are people I would die for.

    Sometimes I wish that life had dealt me other cards. That I’d had a taste of the family life I read about and smile at on this site. Perhaps one day my family will get better, and I pray to the Gods that they do…but I doubt it. I admire the poster’s husband for realizing that this project was not worth missing his family for. Kudos to them, and may they always have a happy marriage!

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