I love to read. Over the years, I’ve challenged myself to read more and more books; joining so many Book Clubs, taking on “read a book a month” challenges- you name it. This summer, I read The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, recommended by the Good Morning America (GMA) Book Club, and I couldn’t put it down!
The Midnight Library is book about a thirty-something woman who is regretful about her life and feels alienated and unneeded in this world. In the depths of her wallowing, she comes across The Midnight Library. In it, each book represents a portal into another variation of what her life could have been if she had chosen differently.
“Every book in here, every book in this entire library-except one-is a version of your life.
Except One? This one?
Yes. That one. It’s something you’ve written without ever having to type a word.
This book is the source of all your problems, and the answer to them, too. It is called, my dear, The Book of Regrets.”
All of us at one time or another have felt REGRET. Feelings of regret can stem from looking back on past behaviors and decisions and believing that a better outcome may have occurred if a different choice was made. Maybe you have heard this also referred to as “hindsight bias”?
Regret also shows up when we fail to live in alignment with our authentic selves, as illustrated in this visual from mindfulambition.net
So how do we live our best life without regrets? Is it even possible?
Author Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. Through many, many conversations, she heard and came to understand what people truly regret. Knowing what others have shared as regrets can save us from regretting those exact same things later! During her observations, Bronnie found these common themes that we all should consider doing and/or maybe even doing a little more.
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard-especially on work that I don’t enjoy.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
The greatest tragedy of regret is that regret represents a departure from the path of your best life.
In keeping with last month’s theme of More and Less (Fountain and Drain), let’s also explore a couple of things that we should do less of.
- Holding On to Grudges/Resentments: Let go.
- Caring What Others Think: You likely won’t care a year from now, heck-you probably won’t even care in a few days… Just do it.
What would your midnight library look like? Would your book of regrets be the thickest, heaviest book on the shelf? You are writing YOUR story today, right now- “Never underestimate the big importance of small things.”
Like most everything in our life, regret-free living is a journey; it takes awareness, curiosity, practice… and a really BIG sense of humor!
No regrets; not even ONE? Share a funny experience that you regret below, or you can even email me; I’d love to hear from you!
Tonya Hitschmann, Director of Community Programs