Townsquare Media

By the time you get to an age where you start to figure out this life, you begin to think about things you would or should have done differently. Some people have no regrets or like to say they wouldn't change a thing because of the lessons they've learned.

I can understand learning the hard way. I've made my fair share of mistakes, and I can admit that I don't think I would have learned unless it was the hard way. But most of the time we do have the answers and know the feeling that we are going to be left with when we make a mistake. Sometimes I would bet it's out of convenience, loneliness or access that we choose to take the path we know we shouldn't.

You only get one life, though, so you get to choose carefully how you live. You are the general manager of your brand. You are in charge of how you act and who you are. You make the choices, and there is still time to shift course and live the life you want.

Consider the words of a palliative-care nurse, whose job is to sit with patients as they near the end of their lives.

"People grow a lot when faced with their own mortality," the anonymous nurse wrote in a post on

The experiences of the dying, the nurse says on the website, run the emotional gamut. But they break down into common parallels when it comes to regrets.

From what the nurse has seen, here are the five most common end-of-life regrets:

1. "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not how others expect me to live."

Everyone has expectations of you and when you liberate yourself from those expectations it feels good. A lot of time our own insecurities can prevent us from taking risks that we want to take. We all feel obligated in some way to someone, and you need to make the best choice for you, not someone else. That doesn't mean becoming selfish, it means making a decision based on what's best for your health and life not someone else's.

2. "I wish I didn't work so much."

We have all heard stories about the dad missing his son's first baseball game because of work. I get it -- we all have to work hard and make money to provide for our families. But we can also find the balance between work and family. Some family things need to be a priority, and when they are not, it causes you personal problems. You know exactly what I'm talking about — the disappointment and fallout from missing the most important events in your family's life. Find a job that works for your life and don't die with these types of regrets.

3. "I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings."

Many people keep their thoughts to themselves rather than risk stirring up arguments or hurting other people's feelings. But bottling everything up can stifle your potential and leave you feeling angry and disregarded. Better to be honest and speak your mind. But don't say things just to hurt people -- it's possible to be tactful and honest at the same time.

4. "I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends."

Real friends are hard to come by and you should try and spend as much quality time with them as possible. Randomly text your real friends, find a way to maintain the relationships and let them know that you enjoy spending time with them. Show some effort and it will go a long way. Don't always turn down invitations. Even if you don't feel like going out, you will most likely have a good time once you get out and start visiting.

5. "I wish that I had let myself be happier."

Choose happiness -- it's your decision. But don't wait until you're on your deathbed. Loosen up and let yourself be silly! Be spontaneous and unexpected. And, perhaps most importantly, laugh. My fiancee will love this one ... and besides, 5 is my lucky number.