Deep Death Bed Thoughts

by Stephen Mills on August 21, 2010

Death Bed

I’m thinking old age regret is going to suck.  In order to avoid it, I find it useful to put myself on my death bed and imagine how I will feel.  It’s easy to piss your precious life minutes away when you are young, or even when your not so young, but it is sometimes helpful to realize at some point you are done and will get none of them back.

Some of these thoughts represent my personal experience but many do not; they are just observations of the habits of others.  Some of these may offend you, but don’t take it that way.  What’s good for you may not be good for others.  In the end, I hope they stimulate you to think a little about what you are doing with your precious life minutes.  These are not meant to make you feel good; they are meant to make you think.

  1. Lying on my death bed, I will be so happy I spent my life compromising with my partner.  When they left me and took half my money after years of letting them tell me what to do, I thought “Wow, that was really worth it.”
  2. Lying on my death bed, I probably won’t remember anything from the tens of thousands of hours I spent watching TV and surfing the internet during my life.
  3. Lying on my death bed, I probably won’t get to see my friends and family. My death room will be likely be filled to overflowing with the grateful executives from the corporation where I slaved away my entire career.
  4. Lying on my death bed, I’ll be thinking “It sure was good I saved so much money for a rainy day.”  Then I’ll turn my head and notice it is raining outside.
  5. Lying on my death bed, I will be so happy that I spent endless hours searching for coupons so I could win the “be frugal” contest.  I felt so good in the checkout line saving my pennies.  That was better than talking a walk in the sun or spending quality time with friends and family.
  6. When I get really old I will probably fall down and break my hip. I won’t have one of those “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” devices. I’ll be really mad that I didn’t go see the mountain gorillas in Rwanda while I could still walk; before I fell down and died.
  7. Lying on my death bed, I’ll be so glad I spent half my life being angry at the government, big corporations, my stupid neighbors, idiot drivers, my ungrateful family, the communists, the liberals, the illegal aliens, and everyone else who is ruining my life.  I couldn’t do anything about any of it, but at least I died a bitter old unhappy man.  That will show them.
  8. Lying on my death bed, I’ll be thinking it was so worth it to eat myself into obesity and sit myself into physical atrophy.  Who wants to play with the their grandchildren on the beach when they are 80?  It was much better having a nurse push me over to the window in my wheelchair.
  9. Lying on my death bed, I’ll be so happy I spent my life working my ass off so I could buy houses, cars, big screen TV’s, clothes, furniture, and all the other fine things in life.  Oh the memories of those experiences.  Parking my fancy car in the garage of my fancy house was like the highlight of my life.  Sometimes I would just sit in the car and hug the steering wheel.  I felt so good to have someone to hold onto.
  10. Lying on my death bed, I’ll be grateful I lived life on my own terms and not according to the dictates of others.  I’ll be thinking that in some way parts of me will live on in the lives of others I have touched.  I’ll be happy that I took each day as it arrived, neither reliving the past or fretting about the future.  Life was one hell of a ride and I enjoyed just about all of it.  No regrets.

What do YOU think?  Leave a comment and join the conversation.


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{ 1 trackback }

Gratitude, Fear of Failure, and Death: Five For Friday —
September 17, 2010 at 1:03 pm

{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

C.M.Dickinson August 21, 2010 at 7:50 am

Very well written. Funny, but gets the point across. Sweet.


Stephen Mills August 23, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Thank you C.M. 🙂


Chris Beardsley August 21, 2010 at 11:40 am

Exactly what I thought. Really, really well written. Thank you, Stephen. I’d love to read the positively-phrased version. While it might be less witty, it would be more revealing.

Personally, I find it a lot easier to think of things I am not interested in remembering that to think of things I would look forward to remembering. Is it even possible to plan such things? Are they mostly unexpected new experiences? I don’t know.
Chris Beardsley´s last blog post ..Workouts for 21 to 27 August


Stephen Mills August 23, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Thank you for taking the time to leave your message Chris and I really appreciate the support. I think we know some of the types of things we will look forward to but certainly not all and not the specifics; because we can’t know the future.


Marion Anderson August 22, 2010 at 11:50 am

Hi Stephen

I did enjoy this. It was funny but it hit home. I particularly like number 3. I would like to suggest to a number of people I know that they frame and keep it on their desks.

Great post
Marion Anderson´s last blog post ..How to Forgive – What you need to know about forgiveness


Stephen Mills August 23, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Hello Marion, thank you for commenting. I need to frame it and keep it on my desk too 🙂


Sudan Gautam August 23, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Hi Stephen,
I have been following your blog since last 8 months. I won’t say all of them were awesome. But i have to admit that this post is what i shall be remembering for a long time. Perhaps it was my wrong timing or the power of your post that after reading this post i couldn’t sleep normally. I was bound to think about my death bed and the range of happiness i shall be able to portrait in my face.
I don’t know why i am making an effort to write comment over here after all neither you nor i shall remember it in our death bed..or shall we?


Stephen Mills August 23, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Thank you for deciding to leave a comment this time Sudan. I’m glad you will remember it for a while, because after all the point was to make you think. And I certainly hope neither one of us remember it on our death beds, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t comment because it means something to me now. 🙂


ZuzannaM August 23, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Hello Stephen,

Your article awakens so many thoughts in my mind.
To be honest I have not given any thoughts
how I would feel lying on a death bed.
This is a great reminder that I have to have
my WILL ready for the kids so when I’m dead
they will not fight for anything…
And that have mentioned in the Will
that I want to be cremated so it will be cheaper for them
to cover the cost of my funeral. Well, once when I am dead
I will be comfortable, no pain, and no worries.
I think it will be a okay.

Thank you for the thought provoking post!
ZuzannaM´s last blog post ..BE MY FRIEND


Stephen Mills August 25, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Hi ZuzannaM, I’m glad you liked it and that it made you think. That was my intent.


Zeenat{Positive Provocations} August 23, 2010 at 10:14 pm

This sure made me think 🙂
I like how you brought in subtle humor to put your point across. Very clever and innovative..and hits the head right.
Thank you for making me think….oh…now my little head is thinking a lot… 🙂
Much Love,
Zeenat{Positive Provocations}´s last blog post ..5 Fun Quick Fix De-Stress Tips


Stephen Mills August 25, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Hello Zeenat! Much of the time my writing is too serious when in real life I’m not that way at all. I love putting some of that in there and maybe I’ll do it more in the future. Thanks for leaving your comment.


Brian Lawrence August 25, 2010 at 8:12 am

This was a great article, It definitely brings home what matters. Number 3 really speaks tons to us corporate clones. Really we spend sooo much time in the office for what??

This was a great reminder that it is about family and the friends we meet and those real connections that we make. Thanks again !
Brian Lawrence´s last blog post ..Why- sometimes I’ve believed in as many as six impossible


Stephen Mills August 25, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Hi Brian, thank you for those kind remarks. And yes #3 should speak to a lot of people and I hope it helps them realize what is truly important. I’ve been there.


Nea | Self Improvement Saga August 25, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Great post Stephen! #7 is so very funny and I’m compelled to show it to someone very dear to me. A life spent being mad at everyone and everything is a life wasted. I also really loved #3, which makes me think about how much time I’ve dedicated to work and how little time I’ve given to friends. Sad!
Nea | Self Improvement Saga´s last blog post ..Top 30 Ways to Reduce Stress and Restore Balance


Stephen Mills August 28, 2010 at 7:02 am

Hello Nea, there are some people close to me who would also greatly benefit from thinking seriously about #7. Thanks for your thoughts 🙂


Steven Aitchison August 28, 2010 at 1:03 am

Hi Stephen, been a long time.

I loved this article. It was funny, and thought provoking at the same time. What was scary was that I could see myself in there, but hopefully I’ll be the man in Number 10 when it’s time for me to go 🙂
Steven Aitchison´s last blog post ..40 Rules to Live Your Life by


Stephen Mills August 28, 2010 at 7:01 am

Hi Steven! Thank you for commenting and I’m glad you liked it.


Tom September 1, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Hi Stephen – glad I found you on the web. Since William Wallace’s speech to the troops in the movie Braveheart, I try to put everything in the death bed perspective. Awesome post – it’s getting printed out and pinned on the fridge.
Tom´s last blog post ..Talbot Returns To EIHL’s Sheffield For Fourth Season


Stephen Mills September 1, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Hi Tom, thank you for that comment. It’s really awesome when somebody thinks something I did was awesome!


Daniel Brenton | The Meaning of Existence (and all that) September 19, 2010 at 12:04 am

Stephen —


When I read something and find myself thinking how would I have written this, I know I’m reading an excellent piece.

Good stuff.

— Daniel
Daniel Brenton | The Meaning of Existence (and all that)´s last blog post ..How I Stopped Hating Mondays


Colin Copley October 8, 2010 at 5:54 am


Pretty obvious though.


Henway December 22, 2010 at 9:52 pm

This post really resonates with me. 99% of the stuff we worry about don’t really matter in the end. Accumulating stuff, getting angry at ppl who dun care about us… it all comes down to experiences and loving others.
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eugene blesing December 31, 2010 at 9:48 pm

pack out what you take in………..
take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints………..


eugene blesing December 31, 2010 at 9:49 pm

oh, and……thank you for the laugh!


Nawaraj May 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm

that was really a good direction of exploration and experience with the situations that will sure to happen.Personally I was also grateful to you while reading this post.It was similar to preparing a presentation about telling stories to your grand children when you are at your 80’s.


John September 17, 2011 at 3:18 am

Strange, when I learned to practice what I so wholeheartedly preached at others. “Learn when to pray and when to shut up and listen.” Appplied to myself as well, a change began. Cranks began to appear in the wall I had so carefully constructed for 45 years. I saw what I had become a mean, greedy BULLY. The very thing I had thought that building the “wall” would protect me from! Now I have to rebuild all the damage my self imposed exile has caused.
Any sugestions onwhere to go from here will be greatly appreciated!!


SFrench May 13, 2012 at 8:58 pm

It takes a lot ofcourage to admit such a thing. It would seem that taking your own advice about prayer has worked. I trust it will continue to guide you as you heal yourself & your relationships. Heartfelt remote & attempting to make amends will go far.


SFrench May 13, 2012 at 9:00 pm



Y8 October 24, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Don’t even know what to say on this topic. So much ideas are mixed in my head after reading it. Very problematic article I think


Amy Sue March 16, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Problematic…? Some people just dont get it do they Steve? So sad, I’m sobbing into a Kleenex….of course I’m not. I love you more every time I read your posts man, keep em coming!!


Aldous Wright April 10, 2012 at 6:23 am

Hi Stepehen! This is probably the biggest slap in the face I’ve gotten since graduation college a year ago and just in time! Thanks!


alanc230 May 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm

When I’m lying on my deathbed, I will be glad that I spent so much time feeling embarrassed by silly or thoughtless things that I’d said or done. It was much better than apologizing or making amends and getting on with life.
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