Welcome to Emma’s Bucket List

I decided to start writing a blog today, one that would remind me (and hopefully inspire others) to live a little bit more, and start ‘ticking those boxes’ on our life’s ‘to do list’ that we all ought to make a little more time and effort to do.

What inspired me you might wonder? …Well, Back in April last year (Good Friday to be precise) I lost one of the 2 men that I was blessed enough to call ‘Dad’.. He was an amazing man who raised me from the age of 7 as his own, having never had children of his own. He passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly of a massive heart attack. I tried in vain to revive him using CPR when I realised, but I failed. He was only 64, and had been as strong as an ox, and who worked and lived to excess right up until his final day, but died far too young… It came as a massive shock to me.

Then, a few weeks later, I learned that the other man I was lucky enough to call Dad, the man who brought me into the world, was terminally ill with chronic heart failure, and probably had less than 2 years to live.  I spiralled into a negative cycle of depressive thinking and barely functioned.  I remember barely getting through each day and living almost without hope.

My Dad in fact died not 2 years, but just 9 months later.  He slowly ebbed away in front of my eyes and died in a hospice in January of this year having spent his last Christmas in hospital in a dellusional state from lack of oxygen to his brain. His loss affected me in a profoundly different way. It was not so much of a shock, but equally sad, if not more in many respects, because at least my step father had his mental health and no idea of what was about to hit him!  I vowed to be with my Dad and to support him through until the end, and I did. He too was far too young to be taken-at only 61 years of age.

Losing these two amazing and inspiring men so young, made me realise something extremely important.

Growing old is not a birth right… It is a Privilege!

This has since become my life ethos, and has driven me to make profoundly positive life changes… Far too many people go through life in this world assuming (either arrogantly, naively or romantically) that they will one far off day in the very distant future, spend their afternoons rocking in a chair, silver-haired and twinkly eyed, as they tell their great grandchildren all about the adventures of their rose-tinted youth.

Well, the truth is, that if your luck is out, you may just get run over by a camel tomorrow!  Ok, perhaps not, but the sad truth is that for many people tomorrow may never come-so why are you so certain it wont be you?

I don’t see this view as jaded, pessimistic, or overly negative, it’s just that if we allow ourselves to live with the assumption that bad things only happen to other people, it might just stop us from actually living

Imagine how differently you would (or could) live your life if you knew when your time would be. Now that would be scary, but just imagine how inspired you would become to achieve your goals if you knew your deadline?! This (to some degree at least) is the rational behind behind my new view and how I have decided I want to live.

I don’t mean to ‘live each day as though it were my last’… If for example, I *knew* that today were my last living day, then I might go out and eat foods that I knew I’d never have to worry about exercising off, or I might lose sight of looking after my body, my health and equally I might not save for my future or make long-term plans… This is not my wish.  I like having plans, and things to look forward to, and I want to believe I have a bright future ahead of me for my children and I… What I wanted to do was to stop saying to myself

“One day, I’m going to…”

Because if we live blindly to that assumption, then even if we do live to be little frail, silver-haired, old-age-pensioners, then you can guarantee that most of the dreams and ambitions people aspired to would never get ‘ticked off’; they’ll simply be pipe dreams.

We’re all aware of the concept of ‘our list’ you know: the list of things you want to do in your life, places you want to see and ambitions that you want to achieve. I remember that a very good friend of mine once starred in a TV series called “99 things to do before you’re Thirty”, they then changed the name to ’99 Things To Do Before You Die”. I remember watching her, and a number of other youngsters doing a bunch of crazy things that would never have made it onto my personal list, but none-the-less did make me think I wonder what would be on my list?

Some time later I remember watching a film called “The Bucket List” which starred Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman who played two terminally ill men who decided to create a list of all the things that they wanted to do before they ‘kick the bucket’, and then systematically tick them all off before their respective times came.

This is a trailer for it

After losing my biological father, of course I morned and cried, and then cried some more.  However, this time, I decided not to follow the same path of self-indulgent, pity-party wallowing that I did after losing my step-father.  Not only was it not productive, but my Dads would not have wanted me spiralling downward into some twisted swan-song of misery and mourning for the rest of my life.  I am still only young (well, I consider my early 30s to be young at least).  

I decided that all those things I want to do in my life would stop being dreams in my head and start to form actual plans!  In particular, I made a decision to jam pack this year full of new experiences and start ticking the boxes immediately so that I would have lots to look FORWARD to in an effort to help me be positive and not just wallow in regret over the ‘what ifs’ and grief of the past year.

Basically I wanted to start being pro-active, pull my finger out, put myself in the driving seat of this thing called life and actually make my future life happen as opposed to just being carried along by it as an unconscious passenger!

Now I should say at this point, that I dont expect to get everything on my ‘list’ all done at once;

– For starters, I can’t afford to get them all ticked off in one go, and

– Secondly, I do genuinely hope that I’ll live a healthy long life, even if I dont assume I will!  …So it would be nice to continue to have things to look forward to after the next year has passed, and not obsess about ticking every item off against some crazy-short-deadline like one of the terminally ill characters from the film, and then spend the rest of my life twiddling my thumbs, whilst I wait patiently for d-day to come…

This blog will be the journey of me, my bucket list and my plan to achieve my hopes and dreams… PLEASE feel free to inspire me along the way, as I hope to inspire you!  I would feel privileged if, thanks to you, my list were to become longer and I had more things to look forward to doing before I kick the bucket.

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2 Comments on “Welcome to Emma’s Bucket List”

  1. August 10, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    Really glad you have started this list and managed to take something positive from a horrible situation – looking forward to following your adventures with you 🙂

  2. August 11, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    Thanks so much Jen! Your comment put a smile on my face 🙂

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