Why PLAY is a matter of life & death.


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.

These wishes aren’t mine.
But probability indicates that they will be, in 51 years. Give or take a few Kahlua-laced milkshakes.

They’re The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, as recorded by palliative care nurse & author Bronnie Ware.

Bronnie spent several years interviewing patients during their final 3 to 12 weeks of life, and what she discovered — life after life, death after death — is that most of us die wishing we’d lived differently.

Allow me to put a crystalline point on this, because it’s possibly the most important realization I’ve had this decade. And I want it to saturate your heart:

If most of us die wishing we’d laughed more, loved more, and played more . . . that we’d expressed our true feelings with bravery & immediacy . . . that we’d made joy an urgent priority, and worked far, far less . . . then (most of us) are living with inverted priorities. Out of whack. Simple as that.

Call it whatever you want:

White space. Free time. Family time. Creative time. Love. Vacation. Integration. Off-grid blissery. Freedom. Flexibility. Fluidity. Abundance. Ecstasy. Exhilaration. Lightness. Stillness. PLAY.

We need more of it. Dramatically more. Our final breaths call for it.
And in our final moments of soft, clear wisdom, we mourn the lack of it.

So. I’m asking:

: If PLAY was a non-negotiable part of your life & business plan . . . who would you become?
: Which pieces of your daily grindage would cease to exist?
: What would you notice? Cherish? Remember?
: And what marvels would spring from your mind, heart & fingertips?

But really, I’m asking:

What would it take to die happy?

And now, a brief word from our sponSOAR . . .

Andrea Scher is a woman who, I suspect, will die very, very happy.

And that’s a vigorous compliment.

You might know her as one-half of the visionary Mondo Beyondo crew. You might know her as the voice & lens behind Superhero Journal. And if you’ve played in her world for a while, you’ve probably fallen in love with her euphoric photography, paint-splattered artistry and just-in-time urgings to keep it simple, sweetheart.

For Andrea, photography is not about polished precision — it’s about chasing light, capturing delight, and shifting our perspectives.

Her all-level, all-ages, all-radness photography course — Superhero Photo — is an invitation to let your curiosity point, shoot & click. It’s beloved. Beatific. And $99.

The next session of Superhero Photo begins April 10th, 2012.
Get inside, and see how much joy you can capture.

creativity // inspiration grief // catharsis


Bejezus, it’s like the universe keeps whispering in your ear “write this” as a roundabout way to get me the exact message I need. I had read the original Top 5 Regrets before and am so happy for the reminder.

And this, “our final moments of soft, clear wisdom,” I am utterly in love with.

I am so grateful I receive your emails.

THANK YOU! I *know* this but feel like I need to be reminded every single week. I’m done feeling guilty that i worked 10 hours today & am home now catching on *my* life.

Miss Alex Franzen, I am happy to report that I do most of those things!

I do not do what people expect of me (though no one really expects anything anymore! haw).
I do not work “hard” – though I do my best at whatever I am currently working at. I actually quit one of my jobs a couple of months ago because 5 days a week was too much for me. I am working at working for myself asap.
I always express my feelings – not everyone likes it. I am still nice when I do (usually). And I always express the good stuff.
I am very good at staying in touch – thank gads for the interwebs.
I take good care of myself so I can be my happiest – so many people are bogged down with toxins and bad diet – if they only KNEW how happy they could be if they ate the way their bodies were designed for!

Mwah! Love this post.

this is why I am here on this earth! to help people change those 5 responses to those questions. I don’t know if I thought about them for myself in quite that way. I was more, ‘you are meant to do and be so much more than you are allowing yourself ~ i give you permission to soar!’ Thank you for sharing this and putting it out to the world as a reminder, that we have a choice, we can take today and tomorrow, and tomorrow and change the answers to those questions.



Beautiful message & important reminder. I always leave your blog thinking, “Yes!” Thank you.

Leave a Comment