Regrets? I Have a Few…….

 

Am sure everyone – well anyone as old as me – remembers that classic song by the inimitable Francis Albert “Frank” Sinatra, “My Way” and for those who are now rolling their eyes up to heaven, here it is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePs6bHsQx6A

The lyrics here

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/franksinatra/myway.html

So you can sing along 🙂

“My Way”

And now, the end is here

And so I face the final curtain

My friend, I’ll say it clear

I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain

I’ve lived a life that’s full

I traveled each and ev’ry highway

And more, much more than this, I did it my way

 

Regrets, I’ve had a few

But then again, too few to mention

I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption

I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway

And more, much more than this, I did it my way

 

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew

When I bit off more than I could chew

But through it all, when there was doubt

I ate it up and spit it out

I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way

 

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried

I’ve had my fill, my share of losing

And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing

To think I did all that

And may I say, not in a shy way,

“Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way”

 

For what is a man, what has he got?

If not himself, then he has naught

To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels

The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!

[instrumental] 

Yes, it was my way

The link to the article that GOM (Grumpy Old Man) posted on the “Edge of The Cliff” essay in his reply (that I will get to shortly) triggered a memory – a memory of a funeral – no – this is not a sad morbid post – this is a memory of a woman who’s life deserved to be celebrated.

http://topinfopost.com/2014/05/12/top-5-regrets-people-make-on-their-deathbed

As the funeral ended and as the coffin bearing this extraordinary woman was carried out of the church – the priest announced that she had picked a song to be played as this was being done – that song was “My Way” by Frank Sinatra – it epitomised and encapsulated the type of human being she was – and in the midst of tears and grief an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and joy swept over me that I had had the extraordinary honour and privilege to have known her. She lived her life on her terms, at a time when doing so wasn’t exactly the “done thing” here in Ireland – was she a saint? Nope but she was someone who did it “My Way

With humour, with grace, with wit and with a sense of what could only be called style that was uniquely her own. She had “charisma” that indefinable something that many aspire to, but very few possess – she was a close friend of my mothers, and I was just beginning to become old enough to really appreciate her and transition from her friend’s daughter to being privileged to be counted as her friend in my own right when she passed away.

Odd isn’t it the connections that we make between things, or what triggers memories?

The article is about regrets also – about what people close to coming to the end almost always express as things they have regretted. Go read the article first and then come back to this – because this is a “thinking out loud” exercise on my part – a sort of personal take on how this article and that song have resonated with me – am more than cognisant that there are those who will view this cynically and do that “eye rolling thing” and you know what – I don’t care, go read something else.

In many ways I would consider myself to be a idealist, perhaps even a bit naive in that I believe that there are things we should be idealistic about, things we should aspire to other than material, superficial and temporal things – that human beings can and should strive for these, I suppose higher things – not everything has to be so clever, or so cynical, not everything has to be used as a vehicle for self aggrandisement, spite or “getting one up” on someone else, or even as I have begun to observe, displaying all the nastiest, most unscrupulous and egotistical characteristics that human beings possess.

Nor do I believe that people either should be dictated to, or disdained or vilified simply on the basis that they happen to NOT accept or subscribe to every single tenet of a majority (both spoken and unspoken – implied or otherwise) – of the actions or behaviours of every single person with whom they are supposed to, or expected to owe some kind of allegiance to.

From my personal perspective – I really really don’t give a shit what label you wear – whether in the eyes of any number of people, or for that matter in the eyes of that person themselves, that label is some kind of talisman, a magic shield that protects you – that you can wave it and claim immunity because of this label.

Nor do I believe that any one person is crucial to any movement – not unless that person is a William Wilberforce or a Nelson Mandela, a Martin Luther King or even a Bob Geldof those kinds of people are rare – ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and to be blunt so far, I personally haven’t encountered one of those. But I live in hope.

I do what I do because I want to – if I stopped, it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference – in fact would actually make my life so much easier – for a start I wouldn’t have to deal with the crap I’m dealing with now – I could slip back into obscurity and my life would go on, and the MHRM movement would go on without a blip.

There are things I believe in, and things that I do not – the things I believe in are relatively simple and are encompassed by the overarching principles of Universal Human Rights – for ALL human beings – and as far I am concerned women are human beings – in fact even feminists are human beings.

Do I believe that what most feminists choose to believe is unutterable crap? Absolutely. Or that a lot of women have a warped and twisted and definitely over-estimated perspective of their “value” as human beings as opposed to the value as human beings of men? Again, absolutely.

All this “goddess” shit and “because I’m worth it” crap – sheesh!

Personally – I don’t subscribe to the view that “anything goes” either in real life or on the internet or for that matter within the MHRM or any other “movement” for that matter, including feminism – though I do acknowledge any persons – calling themselves and subscribing to the “beliefs” of feminism – RIGHT to believe whatever rubbish they like, and to express it. Whatever – believe the earth is flat for all care – believe that we are descended from an alien race that “seeded” this planet millennia ago and all this is one vast “project” I don’t – and will damn well express that opinion whether you like it or not, because like I said, believe whatever rubbish you like, so not the issue, but don’t get on your high horse and tell me what to believe!

So, onto the article.

The author lists the top five  regrets that those nearing the end most express. The first is:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

 

This one resonated with me – over the course of my life I have lacked that courage from time to time – weighed up my dreams against what I thought I should do, against what I really wanted to do, or ought to do – let things go – or made choices that really weren’t being “true to myself” but I think lots of people do that – you live the life you believe you have – follow the path of least resistance. Not to say that compromise isn’t a valid option – it is – but there’s compromise and then there’s letting other people’s expectations dictate your actions. The whole “don’t rock the boat” thing – or the “but everybody else believes/thinks/feels like this

The second one is this:

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

 

The author makes the point that this one is heard from every male patient she had (I’m presuming the author is female) and it speaks to the expectations placed upon men over the course of human history to be the providers, the protectors of their families – expectations that not just emanated from cultural and societal attitudes but from within the paradigm of male female relationships – a paradigm that is now being twisted and corrupted and hurled back at these men as a weapon to demonise them. Feminism. It could take the most positive and enriching thing and turn it into something toxic.

Number three is this one:

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

 

This is the where the memory got triggered – and I went and listened to Frank  doing it “his way” I’ve read this part now about seven or eight times – had a bit of a sit on my doorstep – had a bit of a think and a ponder – and reflected on events in my life over the last 7/8 months, and a bit further back.

Having said that – as an individual I’ve never really had a problem “expressing my feelings” have I always expressed them in the most appropriate ways? Hell no……….tact and diplomacy were never my strong suit – and yes I know that I have hurt other people’s feelings as a result. But, I defy anyone to show me a person who hasn’t done that – someone is who so saintly that they have never just blurted something out, lost the plot, allowed external pressures or circumstances to dictate how they reacted to something?

Not excusing it – am simply saying – shit happens – and when shit happens – as human beings we don’t always behave in the absolute best way – I don’t – and though personally I’ve always had strong views, about things that I’ve had views about – they generally didn’t and even now don’t exactly align with the views of a lot of people.

It wasn’t long after I’d entered the world of the MHRM, that I realised there were simply some things I just didn’t agree with – that I personally did not and couldn’t subscribe to – so I found myself drifting over lines – modifying my personal beliefs, and not saying anything in order to “keep the peace with others” this has now resulted in me becoming disenchanted with certain elements within the MHRM, and to be honest to question the direction and motives of some elements – I look at some of the stuff I read and see – and I look at and read a lot – quite a bit of it is crap – or it is just simply taking the wrong tack – it is taking the almost exactly polarised position to feminism – all women are bad – all men are good. In my opinion. 🙂

This is simply not true – I see people posting poisonous comments and waving statistics around as if this was somehow proof positive that the MHRM was right and feminism was wrong.

When in actuality – Some women are bad, some women are good, some men are good some men are bad – and in between there are all sorts – both male and female.

For me there IS a third way – for example take DV – the consensus is this – mutual IPV hovers around the 42% mark – depending on which study you read – unidirectional IPV is almost equally divided between men and women.

This means in effect, that of the around 23% of ALL persons who engage in these kinds of behaviour – HALF – as in almost EQUAL numbers – are male and HALF are females, and in their own individual ways, are horrible nasty violent and abusive shitheads, EQUALLY.

Feminism ignores male victims and the MHRM ignores female victims – which in my mind makes both just as bad as one another.

BOTH “sides” use exactly the same tactics to demonise the other – by emphasising the GENDERED nature of each sides “case” when any reputable study or research will tell you – GENDER is the least important element of what contributes to violent abusive behaviour in HUMAN BEINGS.

Those are my opinions – and I realise that this appeals to neither feminists or the MHRM – but – that is exactly what I think – both sides are just as bad as one another – when the issue is about violent human beings – of any gender – and granted it is feminism that controls the narrative in this area – for now – but I personally don’t need to reference feminism in order to point out the facts – the facts speak for themselves – if as a result of that then feminism ends up with egg all over its face – so be it.

 

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

 

This one caused me great sadness – I had a friend from school, a great friend – we got into all sorts of trouble together (nothing serious) – over the years we stayed in touch from time to time, then stuff would get in the way and we wouldn’t be in contact for ages – about three years ago – having known she lived not too far from me and having been saying to myself “I must drop down and say hello” – I did eventually – it had been playing on my mind for some time – so off I went – her husband opened the door and he had a very strange look when he saw me.

He told me that my friend had died about 6 months before, and that they had no way of getting in touch with me.

I’ve had to do a lot of grieving over the last three years – have lost four people who meant a lot to me – one in particular two years ago – I had lost touch with three of them – and that I deeply regret.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness

This one gave me some pause – “let myself be happier” then it struck me – no-one can make you happy – only doing things that you enjoy, you believe in, or that you want to do, makes you happy – living your life worrying about whether or not doing what makes you happy, makes other people happy is pointless – and I do agree with what she says here that “”Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content.” Now that does resonate – because it is living a life dictated by what others expect – and how they expect you to live your life.

There is of course a caveat to that – if what “makes you happy” is either hurtful or harmful to other people – or causes other people unhappiness then – nope.

Anyhoo back to Frank – so yes – for me “Regrets, I’ve had a few….but then again…too few to mention” what I have in fact done, is learnt something, I hope from every experience – both good and bad.

For anyone reading this who actually does know me in real life –THAT is the song I would like played at my funeral.

Then bury me on hillside in Connemara overlooking the sea. Thanks. 🙂

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