This week I read an article titled Top five regrets of the dying.
An Australian nurse has recorded the most common regrets of the dying, as she worked with them in the last 12 weeks of their lives.
I was surprised but delighted to see that lots of people wished they’d had more silliness in their life. Silliness comes in at number five.
Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care:
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.
“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.”
This one surprised me because silliness is often seen as being childish or frivolous. It is seen as wasting time.
Yet it seems, because it causes laughter, silliness is good for us. I find I need a good dose of silliness everyday just to keep on an even keel. One of the hallmarks of our family getting together is that we do tend to go into silly mode quite often.
Sometimes we equate silliness with foolishness but I think there is a distinction.
Foolishness is warned against in the Bible, though it tends to be foolish actions.
Silliness is more of light relief – finding the humour in life, even in serious moments.
I know a lot of people who are very earnest in their work and their life. But sometimes I want to tell them to lighten up. Chill out for a moment. Have a silly moment. It is good for you.
When was the last time you dabbled in silliness?