Deathbed Manifesto

Somebody posted a link on our Facebook page to an article about the “Top 5 deathbed regrets” confided to nurses. The regrets were:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Should we not snatch up this data – this existential feedback loop – and live accordingly?

The Deathbed Manifesto would have us live freely, idly, honestly, gregariously, and without cognitive dissonance. I think these commandments are very compatible with the life of the Escapologist.

Even if we don’t embrace this whole-heartedly, it’s probably worth thinking about our own deathbed regrets should we have to confide them to a nurse today.

I think mine would be simultaneously that I didn’t idle thoroughly enough (I’m all too often torn away from deep idling by guilt or obligation) and also that I didn’t achieve enough (my total sum of tangible project results are not numerous or excellent enough to justify all the fretting I do about them). Contradictory? Not really. I just need to throw myself into what I’m doing more thoroughly, whether idling or creating.

What about you? What would be your deathbed regrets of today?

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Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

5 Responses to “Deathbed Manifesto”

  1. Peter Blair says:

    This is really great, Rob. Really really great.

    Death is the most powerful truth machine in existence.

    While I will not divulge here what my deathbed regrets today would be, your post has me thinking about them and I hope I may act on them in some fashion.

    (yes, I am still alive…expect an e-mail from me soon…)

  2. PLB! Your website is stunning, my friend.

  3. A Retarded Egg says:

    “Death is the most powerful truth machine in existence.”

    I suggest you process this with a truth machine and completely amend your statement.

  4. Larry Keltto says:

    A corollary to #2 on the list:

    Nobody on their deathbed ever said, “I wish I had spent more time at the office.”

    I love your Web site — it puts mine to shame, but I love your site anyway. 😉

  5. Thanks for stopping by, Larry. And your site looks good! Is that Twentieth Century MT you’re using as a header font? Part of my favourite typeface family.

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