Bronnie Ware talked with many dying people and asked them about their regrets, e.g., what is it that you most regret not doing? She compiled these forlorn moments in a book (Ware, 2011) and came up with the top five regrets.

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. (From Stiner, 2012)

Ware’s book suggests that one might want to consider one’s possible regrets before death is imminent. If you make a list of regrets, there is a web site where you can post your regrets. Each day they pick the most sad or lurid  regret (opinions may differ here) to post as the “Secret Regret of the Day” ( I’m not sure why you would want to do this but the posting of other people’s regrets is fascinating reading (at least for a few minutes).

If you examine the unfulfilled expectations of your life and still have some time left, you can use that time to do those things before they become full blown regrets. That’s where the idea of the “Bucket List” comes from. A list of things to do before you “kick the bucket.” This notion is the central theme in a film called The Bucket List. So watch the movie to see how it might work and then create your own list to reduce your “regret” quotient. There is a web site where you can record your bucket list, keep track of your progress, and share your accomplishments (

And it is most interesting that in real life, as opposed to a film, what people regret is not “missed the chance to go nude skydiving,” but things of the heart, like being truer to one’s inner self. That  being said however, perhaps nude skydiving expresses your inner self. I think that sometimes the ethereal and the outrageous might merge, so get out there to fulfill your inner self, whatever that might be.


Ware, B. The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. Balboa Press, Bloomington, IN, 2011.

Stiner, S. Top five regrets of the dying. The Guardian, Feb. 1, 2012. (

The Bucket List. Warner Bros., 2007. (

Image: Excerpt from a still of Jack Nicholson in The Bucket List.