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Danielle Batist is an experienced freelance journalist, founder of Journopreneur and co-founder of the Constructive Journalism Project. She lived and worked all around the globe and covered global and local stories of poverty, exclusion and injustice. Increasingly, she moved beyond ‘problem-reporting’ to include stories about the solutions she found. She witnessed the birth of the new nation of South Sudan and interviewed the Dalai Lama. She reported for Al Jazeera, BBC and the Guardian and regularly advises independent media organisations on innovation and sustainability. She loves bringing stories to the world and finding the appropriate platforms to do so. The transformation of traditional media fascinates rather than scares her. While both the medium and the message are changing, she believes the need for good storytelling remains.
This is the first time that I’m posting a piq that’s almost six years old. It’s one of those that is relevant to life at any time.
This story started as a blog by Australian palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware, in 2009. By 2012, more than eight million people had read her post and when the Guardian republished it, it stayed on its top-visited story list for years too. Ware turned her blog into a memoir, which has since been translated into 27 languages, and she became a motivational speaker.
She believes the original story will always find new audiences: “As long as there is a denial about death on a societal level, there will always be a need for these little subtle messages.”
Interestingly, the regrets haunting her terminally ill patients did not involve a lack of ticking off ‘bucket list’ items like bungee jumps. Instead, the most given answers were what we might think of as cliché. Men in particular cited “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard” among their top regrets.
The piece ends with a helpful question to remind us to live meaningfully and change the things we know we might regret in the end.
What would your biggest regret be if this was your last day of life?