Boomer 54 Mark of Baby Boomer Talk Online posted the following list of the Top 5 regrets people have on their deathbeds after attending the funeral of a favorite aunt. I’ve expanded each point with comments just to add a little more fuel for thought:

The Top 5 Regrets People Have On Their Deathbed:

1.I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me

Sadly, this is a wish that many of us will probably have. We’ve spent most of a lifetime doing what other people expected us to do – whether those other people were our parents, our spouses, our children, our bosses, or simply our next door neighbors.

I remember when I was younger thinking that I would be glad when I got old enough to be eccentric. The dictionary definition of eccentric is:

a : deviating from an established or usual pattern or style
b : deviating from conventional or accepted usage or conduct especially in odd or whimsical ways

Sounds kind of fun, doesn’t it? Don’t you think you’ve earned the right, by now, to be a little eccentric? Don’t you think you’ve earned the right to do what YOU want to do? Within reason, anyway? Don’t wait too long or you will regret it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

Nose to the grindstone? Always the dutiful son, daughter, father, mother, or employee? I know, you did it out of a sense of responsibility or out of sheer necessity (Or maybe you’re just a workaholic who can’t figure out what to
do with yourself when you’re not working. Or maybe you’re avoiding issues at home by putting in long hours at the office.) But will you look back and wish that you’d spent more time playing catch with the kids or grand-kids or
romancing your spouse or doing something (a hobby, perhaps) just because you thought it would be fun? (Hint: hostile take-overs, corporate reorganizations, and mergers don’t count as hobbies.) Do it now. Even if those around you think
you are being a little eccentric.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

You might be tempted to think that this a regret that only men have, since men typically have more difficulty expressing their feelings than women do. But there are lots of Baby Boomer women who have spent years bottling up their feelings for fear of alienating someone else (often a spouse or lover, but it could also be a child, a friend, or a parent). Bottled up feelings are, if you will forgive the analogy, like in-grown hairs. Let them go too long and they tend to fester. Better to get them out.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

I have a natural antipathy to class reunions. I haven’t been to one in, lo,these many years. But there are friends that I do wish I had stayed in touch with. Maybe it is not too late. Get in touch with your Alumni organization if you need addresses or phone numbers. Or hop on Facebook and see
if you can find your high school, college, or early adulthood friends there. You might even make some new friends with whom you can keep in touch so that you won't
have to regret not doing it later.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Happiness is, I suspect, a choice. Someone once said (I think it was Abraham Lincoln) that people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. Unfortunately, a lot of we Baby Boomers grew up with a tape going through our heads that we don’t deserve to be happy. Erase that tape, if you have one. You have as much right to be happy as anyone else.

Once you stop listening to that tape, you might even find that you were fairly happy all along. Many of us have learned a sort stealth happiness – a happiness we are
not dependent upon others to provide or to approve. That
is a part of the benefits of growing old - we develop a degree of wisdom that allows us to be happy with whatever comes our way.

Incidentally, regrets are a way of stealing happiness from the present and paying it to the past. You can’t enjoy it, of course, because the past is already over and done. Try to live without regrets.

Author's Bio: 

I am a Baby Boomer who is reinventing herself and an internet entrepreneur focusing on self-help for the Baby Boomer generation. I spent sixteen years serving as pastor in United Methodist congregations all over Kansas. Those congregations were made up primarily of Baby Boomer or older members, so I developed some expertise with the Baby Boomer generation. I am now on leave of absence and living in Atchison, Ks. with my thirty year old son and my cat. I also help my daughter, also living in Atchison, with three sons, ages 8, 6, and 18 mos, while their father is in Afghanistan. My website is found at