I know it sounds morbid, but I’ve always read those articles listing the regrets of the dying with great interest. I’ve seen a piece doing the rounds on social media comprising 37 regrets people have when they’re dying, and even a couple of weeks after I first read it it’s been playing on my mind, and I’d like to respond to some of the items on the list. You can find all 37 regrets here.
1. Not travelling when you had the chance
I love going places. I take great pleasure from spending time poring over travel brochures (yes, physical ones) and trawling Skyscanner and Instagram for inspiration for my next trip, and this is a major concern of mine already, at the grand old age of 24. I feel very lucky that I’ve been to some amazing places, but I never, ever want to take my ability to do that for granted. I want to go everywhere, and spending money on doing things will always take priority over owning things.
5. Missing the chance to see your favourite musicians
This is another thing I spend a huge amount of money on. Actually, tonight I’m off to see Rufus Wainwright for the third time! Living in Brighton I’m so spoilt for places to go and people to see, and I’ve been to some amazing gigs over the years. Last year I saw Sufjan Stevens at Brighton Dome, which was hands down the best and most intimate gig I’ve ever been to (the hygge was unreal), and Mew and Sigur Rós were also flawless live. Track all your favourite artists online and if they’re coming to town, pounce. It’s nights like those that you’ll remember, not the 60th night in watching Netflix in a row (and this is coming from someone who loves nights in watching Netflix).
6. Being afraid to do things
Sometimes I look back at the things I’ve done and I’m surprised that I ever did them. My journalism course is a big one. I spent a not-insignificant amount of money on that course, and for 16 weeks I studied 9-5 every day, including the dreaded daily shorthand lessons. I like to think that if things scare me, it’s because they’re a big deal and are worth the fear. It’s good to take risks and make memories. With virtually every decision I make, I think ‘What do I have to lose?’, and very often it turns out it’s not very much at all. I want an exciting life filled with surprises and chances, which is why I say yes to opportunities now more than ever before (but equally, no to things that are going to take up time I could spend on things I actually want to do).
15. Caring too much about what other people think
When I was a teenager, I cared hugely about what people thought of me. Even a couple of years ago, I still cared. Now I’ve hit the grand old age of 24, I just don’t care. I don’t feel the need to be liked by everyone anymore, and I’m happy to pursue my own interests and style and have my own opinions.
Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind
I don’t often like quotes, but I’m a big fan of the one above – it fits very well with my understanding of hygge. You want to be surrounded by people who help you feel comfortable in yourself, and not people who are going to judge you for your decisions and opinions.
23. Working too much
This is something that blows my mind. I don’t know if it’s the entitled Millennial in me or what, but I’ve never felt the need to work myself into the ground. I can guarantee I won’t be on my deathbed thinking ‘If only I’d worked more!’. Work should never ever be the number one priority in anyone’s life, because there are so many things which matter so much more. Do your hours, work hard and then enjoy your time and money. And on that note, I would always take more free time over more money. Also, you can’t drink cocktails at work. It’s just not on.
25. Not stopping to appreciate the moment
This one is absolutely essential if you, like me, are in pursuit of hygge. It costs nothing to stop and take stock of the brilliant moment you’re in, but it can take some reframing of the way you think. It’s easy to be in a room with all your favourite people having a lovely time, yet keep checking your phone or worrying about work on Monday. A good way to start reframing your thought processes is to actively put yourself in a situation you’ll appreciate. This could be a morning walk in the woods, or a cosy evening in with your best friend, or a drive to a local viewpoint. Leave yourself plenty of time so you don’t need to rush through, and make a mental note of that moment so you can seek out (or cultivate) similar experiences in the future. This is a terrible accidental photo, but look at that dappled light! I can guarantee I commented on it at the time, and even though it’s an appalling snap I love it, because it reminds me of something I love to see.
37. Not being grateful sooner
It’s so, so easy to get swept up in all the things that aren’t going right. I have a tendency to fret over relatively minor things (‘Oh god, I didn’t send that email on time’ or ‘Ugh, I didn’t get a space in that gym class’ or ‘Why didn’t Sainsbury’s have any bloody kale?’), and it’s not an easy thing to overcome. But in moments of hygge, it’s infinitely easier to feel grateful for the things that are going right. I’m grateful for the people in my life, I’m grateful for living with so much freedom, I’m grateful for having been to such fantastic places and to be honest, while it’s far from perfect, my life is pretty bloody good. And it’s about the little things too. No matter how long I’ve known someone, I will always say please and thank you. Comfort and familiarity aren’t excuses for not showing gratitude, and making this tiny effort builds up over time into one big, glowy sensation of hygge.
What do you think of the list? Would you add anything else? Are there any changes you’re going to make to your behaviour or mindset? Leave me a comment and let’s talk!