So recently, I read an article from Well+Good media. It was about the five biggest regrets people have at the end of their lives, as told by a psychologist.
I’m giving you all of that because, number one, I don’t know how scientific this report is. I don’t know how many people were polled. I don’t know if it was just this one psychologist’s extrapolation. I don’t really know.
But they were interesting, so I thought I’d share with you, and then tie them into why people are seemingly so spiraling out of control these days. So here are the five:
1. At the end of their life, people wish they’d had the courage to be true to themselves, and not the life others expected of them.
OK that’s it. That’s all I’m giving you. Yes, I know there were four more, but this was No. 1, and I can tell you right now, this is the most important of all.
Not only is being true to yourself important to an individual and the individual’s happiness, but it’s important to all those who surround the individual, who interact with the individual, and who are affected by that same individual.
If you are living a life of a lie, or a life less honest than who you are, you are a miserable person. And a person who is miserable is a person prone to make others miserable. It is a never ending saga of misery.
Increasingly, with each passing birthday, I realize I’ve lived a rather long life, and as such, had at my disposal the examination of many family and friends’ decisions, as well as their heartaches and successes.
I’ve watched friends make life choices based solely on familial and social expectations. Some of these friends prospered financially and/or emotionally. Some of them did neither.
Only the ones who profited emotionally from these life decisions, do I find myself still adhered. Rich or poor financially is of no importance but being psychologically grounded by who they are and what they have inside them, makes them immensely enjoyable people to be around.
People who can be honest with you about who they are, about their fears and their joys, are the most wonderful souls to interact. And that’s a fact, Jack. This theorem I’ve now posited as fact has been proven over and over and over in my life.
I have friends who chose wealth and social strata, only to find themselves miserable and destitute emotionally. But by being brave enough to reset, and choose a career path that made them happy, and expand upon their own inner beliefs, they became a new person.
Maybe even for some, they simply became their previous, happy self. And fortunately for them, they had that baseline to fall back on. So many people, driven by bigoted, fearful influencers — and I’m not just talking about parents here — find themselves stuck in an endless cycle of negativity. And they have virtually no way out.
When I started writing this back several paragraphs ago, I was thinking, you would be thinking, this is going to be one of Dan’s LGBTQ columns. (Yes, I had to look up the acronym. I always get it wrong, and I get emails).
Because obviously, when we talk about people “living a lie,” in the past, it has almost always centered upon this community. It is the best and most glaring example of the fear of being yourself, and how we as an overall society are harmful and detrimental to their emotional well-being.
But the truth is, they are but a tip of the iceberg.
Whatever the percentage of you miserable people out there not identifying as LGBTQ, you have what we might possibly call an even more difficult situation before you.
Because you have no idea who you are. You have no idea what path you need to be on to reach happiness. You have no idea what the truth of your life is.
And that’s where it turns into trouble for the rest of us. Because that’s when you turn to your false gods. That’s why you start looking for easy answers. And that’s where misery replicates.
Next week: Maybe we talk about where you’re looking for your easy answers? Tree of Knowledge, perhaps? Qanon, mayhaps? Cheeseburgers that give you triple laps?
DAN JACKSON is a self-employed Paris businessman. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.