If Your Life Was A Book, Would Anyone Want to Read It?
Greetings, Wellness Warriors! At the end of your life, do you want to look back and be filled with peace or regret? An unfortunate reality in my position as founder and CEO of Aegis Living is that I have had my fair share of experience with death. We have had the privilege of assisting more than 70,000 people approaching the end of their life. These incredible individuals have shared their life experiences and wisdom with me, giving me new perspectives on life. I lovingly refer to them as my Oracles.
Whether it happens to you or to someone you know, a near-death experience quickly puts a lot of things into perspective. The pandemic has been a collective near-death experience for the world, which has made us reevaluate life and question what is truly important. Today, I want to share with you five of the things my Oracles said they would re-do in life. Surprisingly, it's not what you think.
1. Allowed Yourself to be Happy – This was the number one piece of wisdom I received from the Oracles. Many of them said they did not realize that happiness was a choice until the end. There are so many reasons people don't allow themselves to be happy. Sometimes people experience trauma at a young age which shapes how they cope to stress and relate to the world. They become stuck in old patterns and destructive habits and feel that they don't deserve happiness. Or people get caught up in a continuous struggle of trying to fix or change themselves. This is not to say if you want to improve your health or physical aspects of yourself that you shouldn't do it. However, you should never wait to allow yourself to be happy. Accepting yourself at all stages of life gives you the freedom to let yourself be happy, just as you are.
2. Live in the Moment – To quote Lao Tzu, "If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present." One of my oracles described their regret as living life on autopilot. We get so comfortable in our routines that we put our heads down and repeat the same patterns for years. You don't want to wake up one day, and your 40- or 50-years old wondering what happened and where the time went? Missing out on the present moment isn't living.
For example, people who constantly have their phones out taking pictures and videos during memorable experiences in life miss the moment. What's the point in going back to revisit a moment you weren't even present in? Even if you watch that video again, it can bring sadness, guilt, and longing because you weren't fully present. Completely immersing yourself in the moment can take practice, but it's completely worth it when you're fully there. Studies have shown that combining the use of your senses improves your memory. So put the phone down because the brain is the best photographer there is.
3. Don’t Care What Other People Think – Some of my Oracles said that worrying what other people would think stopped them from following their intuition, passion, or pursuing ideas. Haters gonna hate! So let them. Not everyone is going to like you, and that's okay. You don't need to be concerned with someone else's opinion of you and your life. I see this a lot now with younger people, and I think social media has fueled the fire. People are posting a highlight reel of their life, and sometimes what they are posting isn't even real— it's all for the likes. It's impossible to please everyone, and you'll lose yourself trying. The only person's opinion you need to be concerned with is your own!
4. Don’t Let Fear Control Your Life – The fear of change. Fear of rejection. Fear of disappointing others. Fear of being your true self. These are some of the fears my Oracles wished they had overcome. Did you leave your 9-5 job to start that business? Or did you choose a profession based on your parent's expectations for you? Did you tell the woman of your dreams you loved her, or were you too afraid of rejection? Everything in our lives comes down to the choices we make. One choice can change the trajectory of our lives, and it can change the story.
Make sure the choices you make aren't made out of fear. Remember, courage is being afraid but doing something anyway.
5. Follow Your Heart - Chasing your dreams can be terrifying, but there is nothing scarier than settling and not living up to your true potential. Following your heart means following your passions and the fire inside you, which leads to life's purpose. There is nothing to regret when you live in alignment with your true self, and your life has meaning.
At the end of your life, can you look back and say you are proud of the life you lived? Life isn't about a list of accomplishments, how many places you travel, or how much money you make. Happiness and true fulfillment come from living a life you can be proud of. You are the author of your life, so what's your next chapter going to be about?
Until next time, Live Well, Live Long!