If you recall, in the last post on Regret #1, I told you about the article Richard Rosen sent me from Dr. Joseph Mercola's Health Newsletter. The title was "What You Can Learn From Other People's Regrets."
He gathered his information from a book titled, "The Top Five Regrets of the Dying," by Bronnie Ware, a former palliative care nurse who interviewed many dying patients during her career. And, remember I'm not approaching this topic from a negative perspective. I simply want to address the regrets as discussion points.
So, here is the #2 Regret people have:
"Working too much, thereby missing children’s youth and their partner’s companionship."
"Virtually every man in Ware’s care listed missing out on family time because of excessive work."
Life On A Treadmill
Bronnie Ware says this about #2: “All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence,” she writes, adding: “By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.”
Throughout the Agricultural Revolution and the Industrial Revolution, humans, primarily those we consider to be part of more advanced or developed societies, were conditioned to the “treadmill of life” and believed the “work ethic” is the obligatory and responsible lifestyle model. Males have traditionally had the “provider” role while females have been the child bearers, nurturers and homemakers aka “women's work.” Both genders worked very hard, but, for some chauvinistic reason, women's work seems to have been discounted as not as important as man's work. I believe most of us are enlightened enough today to realize the fallacy of that assumption.
Of course, there have been exceptions to this societal model in the past. But, it's pretty much been the rule until it slowly began to change during the early 20th Century. The roles women assumed began changing and evolving during the latter part of the 20th Century and have continued to accelerate during the early 21st Century.
But, exactly what does this mean? To my way of thinking, it seems to mean men, and now women, are working more, harder and longer hours than at, probably, any other time in human history.
On one hand, we laud the modernization and more professionally oriented roles of women in society.
But, on the other hand, has the “career” (male or female), whether as a factory worker, hospitality service person, medical professional, engineer, software coder/developer or any of the plethora of other career choices in today's western society, become more important than the individual?
The tendency has been to commute more and longer, work longer hours, spend less time with family and involved with family activities and endure higher levels of stress trying to fit it all in.
Are we really finding ways for people to alleviate this particular regret or are we simply increasing the number of people who will express this regret on their deathbed?
One Case Study
This case study is very familiar to me. I know it intimately because it is my own life. Substitute my story and replace it with your own. Be honest with yourself.
As a “serial entrepreneur,” I'm as guilty as the next person. I had one of the toughest bosses around. I looked him face to face, eyeball to eyeball every morning in the mirror. Fortunately for me, I chose to work from my home about 75% of my full-time, active, professional life.
I wanted to be around, as much as I could, for my son during his youth and early developmental years. I knew, if he was going to turn out to be anything like me (and there were early indications he would, especially since I was guiding him in that direction), he would become a very independent, self-sufficient individualist. He would leave the nest and soar off in his own direction.
I was right! He did! I'm proud of him. But, even though I worked at home most of his childhood and teenage years, I still didn't get to spend enough time with him. Now, we live at opposite sides of the continent and I only see him occasionally. He's an independent sort, just like his old man. A chip off the old block, is the saying.
A hundred years ago or more, I might have been working in a factory or a mine or at a teamster's job, whatever, and he would likely have followed in my footsteps. I'm sure glad that part of our society has changed and evolved. Of course, a lot of those factory, mining, teamsters, etc. jobs are gone now.
Is This You?
Man or woman, are you already harboring this second most verbalized regret of dying people as they approach the end of life? I don't know what your family was or is like or if you had/have any children. My question to you, is do you feel you spent enough time with your family when it was most important?
Or, are you still allowing the old agricultural and industrial revolution work ethic to define your life in the 21st Century? How about your own offspring? Are they following in your footsteps?
Change is both constant and inevitable. But, even better is that we can effectuate our own changes anytime we choose. We can never regain lost time. We can't make up for lost time. But, we sure can change today and our futures to, at least, minimize Regret #2. Is there any better time than NOW?
What say you to Regret #2? Live free and be happy. EH