Was it a thing or a movie first? I don’t know. But everyone talks about their ‘Bucket List’ these days. ‘What’s on your bucket list?’ ‘That would NEVER be on my bucket list!’ ‘I guess I can cross THAT off my bucket list.’ There are even websites where you can create your bucket list and see others’. Usually it’s something that’s spoken about in half-jest, since most people don’t really think about their mortality unless it’s staring them in the face. Some people who are given a terminal diagnosis will live their last days doing some pretty amazing things – maybe things they’d always thought they’d never REALLY do. Given a finite time limit on their lives, however, they go for it. Some people really aren’t well enough to take that last grand adventure or they’d rather spend their time savoring every moment with family, so their bucket list may be more tame. Neither one is better or worse, bucket lists are very individual – stating the obvious – and I think it can be a way to take stock in your life and think about all of those things you might tend to put off doing for ‘another day.’
Faced with the possibility of my mortality – I think about those things I might like to accomplish while I can. I tend to think about my list in stages. Right now, I’m still mobile – I may not be able to run around the block, but I am physically intact; my mind is still working pretty well – I may not be able to remember things as well and I can’t multi-task, but I can write and ponder and express myself pretty clearly; my emotions are largely in check (Remember, frontal lobe tumor: memory, speech, emotion) so I’m still aware of others’ feelings as well as my own. But, if the tumor recurs or something else happens in my brain, some or all of that may change. The uncertainty and unpredictability of brain tumors is a constant source of anxiety for most of us living with them.
As I’ve thought about my bucket list (not without some resistance – I don’t really want to think about dying), I’ve done some segmentation. Keep in mind, I’ve never been much of an adrenaline junkie. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have seen and done a lot of really cool things in my life.
There are things that were never and will never be on my list:
- Jumping out of a plane – or honestly, jumping from any high location for ‘fun’
- Go spelunking in a deep, dark cave or hike a slot canyon
- Stand on the Visor or the Diving Board on Half Dome
- Eat strange foods or win a hot wing contest
- Pet an alligator or a tiger or any other carnivore with bigger teeth than mine
These are some of the things that matter most to me:
- Take a vacation with JUST my husband – anywhere
- Make sure my husband knows that I love him and he’s my strength
- Hug my children and make sure they feel loved and safe every day
- Teach my children healthy life habits and skills (nutrition, self-care, emotions, how to fight fair & forgive, how to clean, do laundry, etc…)
- Teach my children to fight for causes they believe in and do good for others in the world
These are some of the things that are on my list, and if I can get them done, awesome…if not, that’s ok.
- Visit every national park in the US
- Volunteer to cuddle newborn babies at the hospital
- Knit something with sleeves
- Speak another language fluently (pig-latin not included)
- Get a tattoo
These are some things that just don’t matter – granted they were never REALLY on my list, but I’m just sayin’:
- Fold a fitted sheet just like Martha
- Have a clutter free home
- Be less squidgy
- Keep an orchid alive and blooming
- Bend a spoon with my mind
What would be on your bucket list?