Live On Purpose: 7 Regrets of the Dying and Dead

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

 Whether a Soprano’s fan or not, the news spread quickly of the unexpected passing of James Gandolfini. Most everybody on social media had a similar response – ‘How young’! One of my services, so to speak, is counseling both those dying and those with family dying. Often times I then have to help counsel those who have crossed over, because believe it or not, we carry our issues and regrets to the Other Side. The regrets seem to have a consistent theme and I thought that I would take the time to share them with you so that maybe you (and I) can work on not having any regrets when we close our eyes to this world for the final time.

  1.  I wish I had done more things that made me happy.

And they rarely mean anything from a monetary sense. You’ve heard of a bucket list? It is a list of goals that you want to accomplish, but different from a ‘to do’ list. Bucket Lists are personal and unique to each person. I had a client who was battling cancer and knew that her time was limited. In our session she shared her bucket list with me and I still to this day think of it.

  1. Buy a stranger lunch.
  2. Put random notes in library books.
  3. Watch a sunset and sunrise on the same day.
  4. Swim with dolphins.
  5. Hold a Koala Bear.
  6. Stay at a B & B on Lake Michigan.
  7. Learn how to play an instrument.
  8. Take a painting class.
  9. Go to an old-fashioned county fair and eat Elephant ears.
  10. Visit a Medium 🙂
  11. Ride in a hot air balloon.
  12. Take the autumn train ride trip to the Upper Peninsula.

They weren’t earth shattering, but they were hers. She sent me pictures along the way on her bucket list journey and I loved sharing it with her.

  1. I wish I had traveled/explored more.

Many times fear stops us from traveling and exploring, even more-so than money. What’s the saying – if wishes were fishes? Well, there is also the saying that says to live your life on purpose. Don’t allow for chance, instead create and complete. Fear can keep us up all night long, but faith makes one fine pillow. – Philip Gulley

  1. I wish I had kept in touch with my friends.

My mom often spoke of her friends and relatives and expressed how much she missed them. I would tell her to call them, but she would respond, “The telephone lines work both ways”. She grew bitter and felt forgotten. But near the end of her life, she would talk about how she wished she would have picked up the phone, or written a note (or had me write the note – she was blind). It isn’t too late to send that text, or sending a card, write a note, or make that call. Even if you haven’t talked to your friend in forever, no matter the circumstances, if they are still on your mind maybe it is time to reconnect.

  1. I wish I hadn’t spent so much time working.

One of my favorite lines is from W. James “Jim” Treliving, a Canadian businessman, owner of Boston Pizza and author of “Decisions: Making the Right Ones, Righting the Wrong Ones”. He is quoted as saying that you never see a Brinks truck following a hearse. Yes, bills need to be paid, but look at the depth of those bills. Are you having to work hard for sensible shoes or working overtime to buy a Louis Vuitton bag? What is quality to you?

5. I should’ve taken better care of myself.

I hear so many on the Other Side say that they wish they would’ve gone the doctor at the first sign of a problem. Or that they should have eaten better, or exercised. Yes, they do even say they wish they would have exercised. It isn’t that they aren’t okay now, but they feel remorseful for leaving their family and friends.

  1. I should’ve told the people that I loved how much I truly loved them.

I should’ve, would’ve, could’ve…. Love is probably the hardest word to say for many. The next one is – “I’m so proud of you”. But the sentiment can change someone’s life, and the person speaking it.

7. I wish I wouldn’t have spent so much time worrying.

If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today. – E. Joseph Cossman

Worry kills happiness. It steals time. It pushes people away. And it causes health issues. Worrying also doesn’t affect the outcome of what you are worrying about.


Don’t you (and I) have the responsibility to live the happiest, the fullest, and the most authentic life ever? As much as we want to blame our unhappiness on work, or others, or lack of money, or whatever else we can point the finger at – it all comes down creating our life. You have the paint brush and a blank canvas. It’s up to when when, or if, you begin to color your life.


Kristy Robinett

"This is a message that needs repeating.I'm sorry you are hurt, sad, in pain.I've been ..."

Proven Ways To Hurt Feelings
"Thank you Kristy! Currently I'm actively strengthening and deepening my connection abilities.Most importantly, I'm developing ..."

Confessions of an Empath
"Can't think of the name right now, but recently I read there's a disorder that ..."

Confessions of an Empath
"You misspelled: "Confessions of a self-deluded person with a desperate need to feel special.""

Confessions of an Empath

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment