What’s the point of life? What’s the final goal, destination or reward. This is a question that has endured since the beginning of time and humanity has long searched for an answer. Here’s where I come in, I mean who doesn’t want to hear an average teenager’s response? (Don’t answer that.)
The average life span of an Australian male is 79.5 years. I am 18, so I have approximately 61.5 years left. I will spend a few years here and there with gaining and education, chop off around 6 years. This society dictates I work and contribute towards Capitalism so slice approximately 40 years off my life. 15.5 years left, age begins to weigh upon me and soon I am a burden to the younger generation and I am quickly whisked off the stage of life. Retirement goes slowly by as the joys of life fades with your health, 15 years flies by and soon you are left with 6 months left. (For your information, I plan to spend the last 6 months of my life in Harlem Prison spitting some heavy Wu-Tang lines to war veterans, stay fresh.)
Let’s examine the regrets of the dying, those who’s brief time on this earth has expired and will fade into non-existence. Let’s see how we can learn from the past and avoid filling their empty shoes on the cycle of life.
1. “I WISH I WOULD HAD THE COURAGE TO LIVE A LIFE TRUE TO MYSELF, NOT THE LIFE OTHERS EXPECT OF ME.”
This was the most common regret of all, too many people altered themselves to fit the expectations of others. Too many times did they compromise themselves to fulfill another’s dream, people are scared of being shunned thus they accept a life of mediocrity instead of pursuing their hopes and goals. When one learns not to seek external validation for their happiness they are avoid being entrapped in a regret.
“Life is a daring adventure or nothing.
– Helen Keller.
2. ” I WISH I DIDN’T WORK SO HARD.”
There was once when I valued money more than happiness. The Asian culture places heavy focus upon wealth, education and having a stable occupation, many of you readers may recoil from this and label that culture as materialistic, backwards or wrong. But isn’t all cultures strange and bizarre to those who stand outside it’s borders? China has long been a poor nation, from the start of the 19th century, it’s been involved with in two wars with Japan, (1894-1895 and 1937-1945.) It’s had opium dumped onto it’s shores by Western nations which destroyed it’s culture and crippled it’s economy. Eight nations have invaded China since the 1900s, Austria-Hungary, France, Italy, England, Russia, Japan, Germany and the United States. So obviously values such as education, wealth and money were important, how else would you feed your family? How else could you provide for your aging parents?
But thankfully, I grew as a person, wealth was important and necessary but money can’t buy love, money can’t buy a smiling household nor happy memories. Finally all the wealth in the world would be pointless when death arrives, as an Ancient Chinese proverb states, “All are equal before death.” I asked myself would I rather be on my death bed surrounded by money or my family and friends? The answer was simple, wealth is necessary but materialism shouldn’t be one’s objective.
3. “I wish I had the courage to express myself.”
This ties heavily with the number one regret of not limiting or compromising yourself to satisfy others. Being yourself gives you a sense of freedom in life, one does not have to be chained down by lies which served to fill their insecurities, one does not have to halt their opinion because they are afraid of the consequences. When one takes a step back and realise their time on Earth is but a blink of an eye in the scheme of this universe, we begin to understand how foolish it is to act according to society’s unwritten laws.
4. “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
Once again notice, the regret isn’t I wish I had another few grand for a Ferrari or I wish my house had a cinema room. These regrets reflect the true essence of humanity, that us humans thrive when we belong, we thrive on human connection. Technology has allowed us to communicate more and more but at the same time it has reduced human contact, no longer does one have to see a friend to maintain their relationship just Facebook them once in a while and watch as their friendship decays.
“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”
– Albert Einstein.
5. “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”
This is what I deem to be the key, happiness melts away all other regrets and worries. You are happy when you live a life true to your own values and beliefs. (Regret 1.) You are happy when you realise consumerism can not substitute joy. (Regret 2.) You are happy when you don’t have to hide behind a mask, when you can stand for what you believe in despite opposition. (Regret 3.) You are happy when your relationships don’t fade but grow stronger as you age. (Regret 4.) Happiness is the single counter to all the regrets.
People’s perceptions and attitudes have a funny way of changing when they embrace their morality. We are a tiny speck in this vast universe so our actions will have little consequences, even the greatest kings and scholars fall before the endless march of time. Thus I have decided that the objective of my life is not to seek fame or fortune, not to have the most exotic wife nor the fastest car. It’s too be happy because 79.5 years later I want to be on my death bed, smiling, knowing that I leave in peace, knowing that I had the courage to talk to that pretty girl down the street, knowing I lived my life with fear of judgement and knowing that I lived everyday with a single phrase in mind “Hakuna Matata.”
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
– Dr Seuss.