I won’t lie, while I appreciated their humor, I knew they weren’t the easiest person to get along with; many colleagues struggled to work with them at their job. I enjoyed their company but I also knew it was an acquired taste.
I was thinking about them the other day and something they said has really stuck with me:
“If I knew how short life is I would have been less of an a**hole.”
It is perhaps, one of the most heartbreakingly genuine things I’ve heard someone say about themselves. I admire them for those words.
There are so many lessons we can learn from this person. It makes me wonder: what in their life led them to have a more abrasive nature? Were they harboring other regrets while still living?
Bronnie Ware is the nurse that wrote The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying. Two impact our discussion today: (1) “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me,” and (2) “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”
Countless people continue to tell me about the novel they wish to write, or about the art class they took in college and how happy it made them. They tell me these stories in wistful, sorrowful ways, looking at a distant memory. They explain it away with work, family obligations, life, etc. I’ve lost count of the number of people who tell me this because so many people have a story when I mention my mission on Artist Think, or that I’m an artist.
Do you want to build your list of last regrets?
The world of entrepreneurship comes with so much hardship, filled with all kinds of uncertainty. I just read an article that finds entrepreneurs have much higher rates of anxiety than the general population. There is a price that comes with the freedom we crave.
Would we feel that way if we allow ourselves the creative outlets we need for release?
The proverbial “life is short” is true. It is fragile and unpredictable, so as Jim Carrey said, “I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”
It is such irony to me that in entrepreneurship we can take such risk and embrace it with love, but to pick up an old paint brush? “We just don’t have the time!”
Not a single person Bronnie Ware interviewed said, “I wish I worked more.”
All of this, makes me think of my friend. They realized the changes they wished in their life, and in themselves, just before they died. Because they understood the immediacy of their death. In some ways maybe it was too late, but they had a choice with the way they spent the remainder of their time on this earth. And so do we.
Carrie Brummer – Educator, Creative Play Advocate, Arts Empowerer – living in Muscat, Oman (for now!)
Carrie Brummer is an artist educator nomad. Teaching and leading in school systems for 9 years in the USA and the Middle East helped her see the gap in education that prevents people from accessing interests they love. She has tired of the countless stories from people all over the world saying, “I’ve always wanted to learn how to draw,” or, “I wish I could write a novel someday.” It’s become her mission to share her passion for the arts and encourage everyone to take creative risks in their lives.
Carrie’s current creative baby is to encourage creative play for adults; everyone can use an opportunity to slow down from their hectic lives. Creative play is not only important for children, it makes adults happier, healthier, and more fulfilled human beings. Carrie actively exhibits her artwork worldwide and teaches courses in art history and the arts.
When Carrie isn’t painting, doing yoga or baking chocolate chip cookies, she is playing board games with her husband, looking for new learning opportunities, or planning their next trip. You can read more about her adventures in travel and the arts on Artist Think.