When you're dying, what will you regret?

Story highlights

  • A nurse said that the number one regret of dying men is that they wished they worked less
  • Dean Obeidallah: I'm a workaholic, but I was profoundly affected by the dying men's remorse
  • He says he really enjoys work and can't stop to smell the roses, but he will try to slow down
  • Obeidallah: Relaxing has health benefits and can make you happier, so go for it if you can
"Stop and smell the roses."
If you're like me -- and the millions of other workaholics in America -- this line elicits an immediate eye roll and a visceral reaction of: "You have got to be kidding me. How can I stop and smell the roses with all the work I need to get done?!"
What can I say? I work a lot and I enjoy it. I barely stop working on vacations. My body may be sitting on a beautiful beach, but my mind will still be racing ahead planning my next work-related move like I'm a player in the career version of, "Game of Thrones."
But then I read an article a few months ago that had a profound impact on me. This article shared the observations of a nurse who had cared for dying patients on their deathbed. She documented their regrets as they reflected upon their lives and their impending demise.
Dean Obeidallah
Did these people -- faced with their own mortality -- express their disappointment over not putting in more hours at work? Did they lament over work-related e-mails they wished they had answered or express remorse over business meetings they missed attending?
Nope. In fact, she found the opposite. The No.2 most common regret expressed to the nurse -- and the number one regret of men under her care -- was: "I wish I hadn't worked so hard." As the nurse noted, "This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship."
The nurse also shared the other common regrets articulated by her patients, such as their disappointmen