PG's to do list : an eighty percent agreement.

Paul Graham, in his essay The Top of My Todo List, pointed to a list a nurse has compiled of regrets of the dying people. Till now, of all his essays I have read, I did not find myself disagreeing even partly with any. But here, PG, I beg to disagree by 20%.

The top five regrets as the list mentions are :
  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 didn't work 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.
Self analysis
"Live life true to yourself" I believe I have been doing well on this front, and god forbid something bad happens, I won't have this regret at all. I see people around whose actions are, to a large extent decided by how others will react to them, and then I feel proud I have tried my best to not do it. Coming to the second point of overworking, as of now, I am not yet out there in the big bad world, but do realize that "don't work too hard" does have a strong point to make. Regarding staying in touch with friends, I couldn't agree more. Already I have done what I should not have, made the mistake which almost all her patients and for that matter most of the people too busy chasing their dreams make.

I regret not keeping in touch with my friends from college. I feel sad when I see our gang still being a close knit group with an exception : me! In ramaiah (college), there was this "ramaiah gang" of ours, now there is the "ramaiah gang" and there is sujeet gholap. Now is my last chance to not repeat it, use the remaining year to forge bonds unbreakable, friendships which last forever.

The last part, I guess is the most difficult one to put into action: "Be happy". Many a times I have realized how true it is that being happy or not is not something which "happens" it is something which you "decide", but again, it is not for the weak minded. It is damn easy to give in to troubles and challenges life throws at us, there are times when you very well know that its you who decides to be happy or not, but you just can't because your will is not strong enough to dictate your mood and behavior. You are stupid enough to dwell on thoughts that trouble you and ruminate over incidents which saddened you. Keeping on reiterating the fact that you are in control is the way to go is what I have realized.

The third point, "express yourself" is where I disagree. I guess it is matter of grass looking greener on the other side. Obviously these are the people who kept their feelings to themselves. I am not in their lot. So far I have found that letting your actions and expressions reflect your feelings, speaking out what you truly think does not help at all in anything! (want an example? here is what happened regarding a mail to all students by a faculty member) More often that not, it will end up making matters worse. The thumb rule, in my opinion, is that "if you have to think a lot whether to say something out, don't say it!" I believe that one must learn to control, with a high granularity, what they choose to express and display. If I were to ever make a regret list / wish list, I am sure "I wish I were an introvert" would be quite at the top (in that case, this blog would not have been there :P) And "I wish I had the sanity to keep my feelings and opinions to myself" would be one of the top regrets.


  1. All the above very true... Many of us have started regretting some of the above :-|.

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  2. That's a nice blog post. Although I disagree about what you disagree. If you were an introvert you would obviously be regretting it later. The right thing would probably be to say - "I wish I had the sanity to be able to make the right decision as to when to keep my feelings and opinions to myself and when I shouldn't." :D

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  3. Come on! That's what I meant. Just did not want to be verbose :P

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