Regrets of the dying

Jun 16, 2013 in Chris Tribe Blog | No Comments

BetjemanThis was first posted on the previous site  on 15/12/11.

I remember an interview with John Betjeman towards the end of his life. He was in a wheel chair on a Cornish cliff top and the interviewer asked him if, looking back on his long life, he had any regrets. Betjeman thought about this for some time then, with that twinkle that was often in his eye, said “On the whole I wish I’d had more sex”.

A recent post from a friend on Facebook has a more thoughtful approach to dying regrets. Take a look at Five Regrets of the Dying. I think most people will feel that at least some of these regrets will touch a cord in their own heart. However it seems that although we know we are not living the lives we want, it is difficult to change things, life just gets in the way. Life is a bit like a runaway train, you’re so busy trying to keep it on track you don’t have time to jump off to check if the tracks are taking you where you want to be.

We once had a Tanzanian exchange student staying with us, he was a devout Christian (as are many Africans). He could not understand how we in the west could live our lives without a religious dimension. “How can you make important decisions without the guidance of faith” he said. It is also true that often the decisions that people in the developing countries have to make may be more life and death ones than we have in the west. I wonder if the moral compass provided by faith means you are more likely to live a less regretful life.

I think my chief regrets will be one and five. Particularly five, I need to choose happiness!

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