There aren’t many things that frighten me. But there is one thing I’m particularly scared of that stands out. I’m scared I won’t get to do everything I want to do before I die.
I’m the kind of person who takes a lot of pride in being able to face down my fears. So I’m a little uneasy about sharing this fact about myself. But I think it’s important for me to get this out there. I don’t think I’m alone in expressing this fear; I believe many others have similar worries.
Dying Without Really Living
Normally people don’t have to think about death. It’s pretty easy to ignore by just pushing it off to the side and carrying on with life as usual. But because I work in a hospital, I find it very hard to ignore. Like every hospital in the country, people occasionally die. Even though I only hear about it and don’t actually have to see it, I find it sudden and jarring.
Every time it happens, I just wonder if the person still had a lot of goals and accomplishments left that they wanted to do. Then I wonder if that’s how I will die. Will I leave a lot of items on my bucket list uncrossed? Instead of being a disturbing thought, I find it gives me a lot of drive to finish everything I still have left to do.
Fortunately I think people can make a big life list of things they want to do before they die and actually do everything on it. The process takes some time and effort, but it is possible.
Make Your Life List
I’m a firm believer in bucket lists. Everyone should make one, be active in crossing items off and updating them as often as you can. If you don’t have one, I suggest making one as soon as possible. Looking at everything you want to do on one big list puts your goals and the time you have to do them into perspective.
Making a list is extremely important. It’s a constant reminder of how far you still have to go and helps you remember everything you might forget about. Without my list, I’d probably forget that I want to appear in a film. After all, that particular item isn’t something I think about every single day.
Realize that no matter how extensive your life list is, there is a way to do everything on it. Your time on this planet may be short and your list may be long, but if you have enough drive, passion and determination, you can finish every single item you have.
You might be tempted to take off some items just to make the list a little shorter and easier to accomplish. Cutting things off your bucket list is something I like to call “bucket list triage”. But stand your ground and be bold. Only cut those things you no longer have any interest in doing. Just remember that even huge, seemingly impossible items might not be that impossible after all.
Find What Motivates You
Making the list is the easy part. The hard part is finding the drive and determination to work your way through them all. Personally speaking, the drive I get after hearing about a death at the hospital is enough motivation for me to do more items on my list. It’s like a wake-up call for me to make sure that I don’t end up missing out on some can’t-miss life experiences.
I know many of you probably don’t work in a hospital so you can’t use this to jump-start your own drive and determination. You’ll just have to come up with your own system for motivation that works for you. I’ve found having a few friends who are equally driven to do everything they want to in life helps. You can fuel each other’s motivation when the other is feeling a little discouraged.
Can You Finish It All?
All this reminds me of the story of John Goddard. He’s an adventurer, explorer and author. But surprisingly, he is probably best known for his bucket list. He wrote it in 1940 when he was just 15. It has 127 items on it and he has accomplished almost every single one (visiting the moon might have to wait).
His goals include climbing the world’s major mountains, traveling to all the countries in the world and learning several languages. One of the items on his list was to navigate the Nile River. Not only did he do this in 1951, but he was the first person in history to do it. Just knowing someone can do so much from one list is encouraging.
Do you have enough items on your bucket list? Do you have a bucket list or do you need to make one?
photo credit: kyle_clements