Life is short. Sure everyone knows this, but how many people really know this?
How short life can be really didn’t fully hit home for me until a few years after I lost someone in my life when we were both at a relatively young age. My husband died of malignant melanoma when he was just 38 years old – and it took only 2 short, rapidly debilitating months – from diagnosis to death. At the time, I was 37 and our son was 3 1/2. There were still things in life that he hadn’t yet been able to see or do, but he (we) felt that we were young – we had time. However, we blinked. And for one of us, time ran out.
For several years after my husband passed, I was so preoccupied with unexpectedly becoming a single mom, working full time and going to university part time that I didn’t really have time contemplate the shortness of life. At that point, life was more about survival and getting things done. And while it was extremely rewarding to care for my child and to continue with my university classes, balancing those joys with working full time to pay the bills, left little time for much else.
Fast forward a couple more years and yes, life was still busy. However my son was now older, I’d graduated from university (bucket list item!), and being in my mid-40s – it was then really starting to hit me: Life here on earth is short. We are here one moment, and then gone in the blink of an eye. And for a moment, I felt small and insignificant. What have I done with my life? I obviously hadn’t cured cancer or single-handedly brought about world peace. But aside from a global perspective, I wondered, have I done all the main things (big or small) that I’d hoped to do, personally in my own life?
So, like so many others before me, I decided to make a list – my own Bucket List – of things I’d always wanted to do, see, experience, accomplish, etc…over the course of my life. I wanted to see how many of my heart’s desires I had already accomplished vs. how much still remained.
My list wasn’t overly grandiose; and I still don’t view it as a ‘race to the finish line’. I even occasionally add something else to it, as I think of it, and I work to accomplish what I can, when I can.
But I can happily report that a good many of the items I had hoped to accomplish over the course of my life, I already have. However, there are obviously still many items to work towards and cross off! (And if you’re a bit OCD like me, you know the tremendous satisfaction that comes from crossing something off a list!) Some of my remaining list items are the more expensive/difficult things to accomplish for a variety of reasons such as money vs. responsibilities; (ex. visiting the pyramids of Egypt or the catacombs of Palermo, Italy) and some are small, even silly, by another’s standards, (ex. singing Karaoke or performing in public) – a personal sheer terror. But, in the end, whether crazy, silly, difficult or near impossible, the list is mine and mine alone: my experiences to have, my goals to achieve, and my fears to overcome.
For when it’s all said and done, only we, ourselves, can truly measure our life well-lived.
Stay tuned for more pseudo-mediocre adventures on The Bucket List…