My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
That must focus the mind.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again.
Here's one that all men shared:
I wish I didn't work so hard.
One should work to live not live to work.
Many people have the habit of acquiring too many things -- thanks to the power of debt -- and then working long hours to pay off the interest-laden bills. It seems so ... unnecessary. They often think that the abundance of physical objects in their possession will provide them happiness which as they soon realize is another one of their regrets.
Too many lack perspective.
In the early 90s, in Pakistan, I had a cap gun -- a gorgeous silver-metallic 12 shooter. I would save up my allowance in Saudi Arabia and spend it on cheap ring caps in Pakistan. The beautiful noise would drive my mother mad. So, one day she took the gun and hid it.
We were planning to visit some relatives on that day. My uncle was driving my mom and myself. While we're in the car, I'm whining and complaining.
"I want my gun!"
"Where did you put it!?"
"I want it!"
Well, actually I was speaking in Urdu but you get the idea.
Suddenly, this noxious smell came out of nowhere. I instinctively started to roll up the windows of the car. Then I realized, we were driving through a garbage dump. It seemed that for over a kilometer, on both sides of the road, bags of garbage had been piled up into sizable hills. The smell was so overpowering and atrocious.
I noticed something that was shocking. People were walking around and searching through the waste. I asked my uncle, "What are they doing?"
"They're looking for food or something to use or sell for money."
I looked at that somber scene in silence from behind the window of an air conditioned car.
I stopped complaining.
Link via Instapundit.
Wow. This is now my second Instalanche of the month!
Thanks again, Professor.