Thứ Tư, Tháng Sáu 19, 2024
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Top five regrets of the dying

[Reading level: C1 – Advanced]

There was no mention of more sex or bungee jumps. A palliative nurse who has counselled the dying in their last days has revealed the most common regrets we have at the end of our lives. And among the top, from men in particular, is ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard’.


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. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.


Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. “When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently,” she says, “common themes surfaced again and again.”


Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware:


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


  1. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”


“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”


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

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”


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

“Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”


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

“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”


What’s your greatest regret so far, and what will you set out to achieve or change before you die?




palliative /ˈpæl.i.ə.tɪv/ (adj): chăm sóc giảm nhẹ (giảm đau, chăm sóc người sắp qua đời)

counsel /ˈkaʊnsl/ (v): tư vấn

epiphany /ɪˈpɪfəni/ (n): sự tỉnh ngộ, ngộ ra điều gì đó

phenomenal /fəˈnɑːmɪnl/ [C2] (adj): đặc biệt, ấn tượng

clarity /ˈklær.ə.ti/ [C2] (n): sự sáng suốt, minh mẫn

vision /ˈvɪʒn/ [B2] (n): cách nhìn, sự nhìn nhận, tầm nhìn

surface /ˈsɜː.fɪs/ (v): xuất hiện

courage /ˈkʌr.ɪdʒ/ [B2] (n): dũng khí

look back on: ngẫm lại, nhìn lại

unfulfilled /ˌʌn.fʊlˈfɪld/ (adj): không thực hiện được

honour /ˈɑː.nɚ/ (v): hoàn thành

companionship /kəmˈpæn.jən.ʃɪp/ (n): sự đồng hành

breadwinner /ˈbredˌwɪn.ɚ/ (n): trụ cột gia đình

treadmill /ˈtred.mɪl/ (n): công việc nhàm chán, lặp đi lặp lại

suppress /səˈpres/ [C2] (v): kìm nén

keep peace with: giữ hòa khí

settle for (phrasal verb): chấp nhận

mediocre /ˌmiː.diˈoʊ.kɚ/ [C2] (adj): tầm thường

existence /ɪɡˈzɪstəns/ [C1] (n): cách sống

bitterness /ˈbɪtərnəs/ (n): sự cay đắng

resentment /rɪˈzentmənt/ (n): lòng oán hận

track down (phrasal verb): tìm

get caught up in [C2] (idiom): bị cuốn vào, bị mắc kẹt

overflow /ˌəʊ.vəˈfləʊ/ [C2] (v): có một cảm xúc mãnh liệt

content /kənˈtent/ [B2] (adj): hài lòng

long for something/ long to do something [C2] (v): khao khát mãnh liệt


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