I was having a conversation with a patient the other day about the things she wished she had done before she got sick. She talked about the places she wished she had traveled to, and the things she wished she had done. When her granddaughter was about 5, they used to play a game where she would bring out an old globe, spin it around and let her granddaughter pick a place for it to stop. They would create this imaginary adventure to whatever country it landed on and spend hours talking about what they ate, what they wore, who they met and what trouble they would get in together. She started to cry as she was sharing this story, and she said "we never went anywhere together. I never traveled anywhere. I wish I didn't just talk about the things I wanted to do".
I think we all have our own version of a bucket list; things we want to do in this lifetime. But most of us don’t see a deadline of time that these things have to be accomplished, and we tend to put them off until later. A few years ago I decided to act on my bucket list. Perhaps it was enhanced by the job I do and how fragile I perceive life, but however it was brought on, I benefitted from it. I bravely booked a trip to Spain and walked 210 miles of the Camino on my own. I talked, I laughed, and I cried with complete strangers, and I came back a better version of myself. It was the most amazing adventure of my life. The next year I went to Peru for a few weeks with my son and daughter; we took airplanes, busses, boats, and trains and we traveled through city after city learning about Peru and the amazing gifts it had to offer. One of my personal take-a-ways, was the way they celebrate life so fully. Again I came home a wiser, more enlightened person.
Then I hurt my shoulder and was unable to travel, and I felt a sense of loss because I couldn’t go anywhere. This made me think about my bucket list, things I want to do before I die and I realized it wasn’t just about traveling… my thoughts took me to things I don’t want to leave behind when I die… such as regrets, words unspoken, etc.
I took a class awhile back, taught by Shaman Linda Fitch; our first assignment was to write our Eulogy. Have you ever done that? Have you ever thought about what people would say about you when you are gone? I wrote my Eulogy that night and it occurred to me that I was not quite living a life that would make a really great Eulogy. I think I am kind, mostly honest, and I do good work in my world… but it’s more than that. It’s about the message I want to leave behind, the lessons for my kids and my grandkids. I want to make a difference, be a positive change and leave behind something big.
While there are things I could have done differently in my past, I have chosen not to dwell on that. Everything I have done, good or bad, has led me exactly where I am now and I really like where I am now. So I have no regrets. There are no do-overs in life, and we shouldn’t put our wishes in a bucket and hope some day we fulfill them… instead I think we should live a full, good life right now. Make memories right now. Say and do the good, kind, wonderful things RIGHT NOW. And yes, take trips and see and do amazing things…. But do them now.
What do I want to do before I die? I want to live a really full life. I want to see my kids live a full and beautiful life. I want to watch my grandkids grow up and blow my mind. I want to make moments matter, reassure my family and friends how much I love them, and I want to learn and grow and continue to evolve every single day. I want to make a difference, I want to encourage change and inspire those around me to do the same. I want to live THIS life, which is MY life, right now.
Don’t wish things were different. Don’t wish you could do or say things. Wishing doesn’t make them happen, YOU make them happen. Get out there and do it… this is it, at least in this mindset. This is your life…live it, enjoy it, embrace it. Make some really awesome memories!!! Don’t waste a second. Live your life right now!!!