Top 5 Regrets of the Dying (and a fabulous scalloped potatoes recipe)

Sinatra crooned, “Regrets, I’ve had a few. But then again, too few to mention.”

Tom Rush sang, “No regrets, no tears goodbye…”

And Edith Piaf belted out: “Non, Je ne regrette rien!”

But for the rest of us mere mortals (and poor singers), there’s regrets. And when you get to the end of this long and winding journey, the most common ones are:

Top Five Regrets of the Dying

  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 hadn’t worked 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.

Apparently none of us have any bravery and we’re all hopelessly unhappy with no friends.


So what can we do about this knowledge whilst we’re still living?

Advice: take 5 minutes as you sip a mimosa on a veranda or down a PBR on a park bench or  gargle a glass of 1966 Chateau Latour on a tour of your garden maze to ponder where your life currently stands on the top five and how you might improve whatever stage you find your regretfulness.

Numbers 2 & 4 are the easiest to tackle:
We all work too hard (so take a break: stretch, go get a smoothie, plan a vacation for this weekend) and we all lose touch with some of our friends, that just naturally occurs as you get older. Life Happens. But with all of today’s social technology (both good & bad) it allows the ability to easily reach out to an old pal that you’ve lost contact with and quickly reconnect. You’d be surprised how happy they’ll be to hear from you. Nobody blames anyone for life getting in the way of staying close, so if the feeling moves you: reach out and touch somebody. Send a text. Compose an email. Fire off a Facebook message. Dial up their digits. Heck, write them a physical letter and mail it. That will blow their mind.

As for #1, 3 & 5:
To put this as simply as possible, in Hallmark card terms:

  • Let Yourself Feel
  • Let Yourself Enjoy
  • Let Yourself Be You.
  • Not necessarily in that order.

Regrets are just a part of life. But you can choose right now to be happier, it’s very simple: reach out, don’t be afraid, what’s the worst that could happen? Yeah, that’s right: nothing. We all make things seem far more important or terrifying than they actually are. If you wanna call somebody: call ’em. If you want to take tomorrow off from work: make it a personal day. If you like somebody: tell ’em you like ’em. And if you’re worried about what others might think: here’s a little secret: no one cares, they’re all wrapped up in their own lives anyway. And in ten minutes or two weeks whatever you made yourself horribly anxious about will pass. Life continues on. The world keeps turning. Take a deep breath and get on with it.

Now for those scalloped potatoes…


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rub the bottom and sides of a 3-quart baking dish with garlic; reserve garlic. Brush pan generously with butter. Peel potatoes, then cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds.

Transfer potatoes and garlic to a large pot with cream, milk, thyme, 1 tablespoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 1 minute. Let cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

Spoon one-third of potato mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle with one-third of cheese. Repeat layering twice more. Loosely cover dish with parchment-lined foil.

Bake until potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove foil; turn oven to broil. Broil until potatoes are bubbly and browned in places, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Note: Creamy Scalloped Potatoes recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart, who regrets selling 3,928 shares of ImClone Systems stock after receiving insider information.
But damn, her spuds are delicious.

Mark Noonan, Founder – Farewell Project
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