Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Bucket List -- Part II

The idea of a bucket list has continued to run through my mind. While I am comfortable with what I am doing in my life, I’m still wondering if I should be actively aiming to do more.

This morning I heard from two different friends who have friends or relatives in my general age range who have recently had major illnesses: two cases of cancer and one heart attack. Hearing news of this sort is tough. I feel for my friends who are dealing with the illness of a loved one. But this sort of news is made personally tougher when the ill person is about my age. It’s as if I’m suddenly slapped in the face with a realization of the truly delicate nature of life. It’s hard to lull myself into a false sense of invincibility when other people, who have lived the same number of years, suddenly come down with a dreaded disease. In some ways, news of this sort, while difficult, can also be a blessing; it’s a reminder to take care of today, to make sure that the life I’m living today is filled with love, joy and appreciation. Maybe that’s what should really be in a bucket list. Not the grandiose trips or adventures, but the day-to-day realization of what a joy it is to wake up each morning, to have friends and family to love and to know that we are loved in return, to revel in the feeling of a warm bit of sun on our faces or to be glad for the clouds that bring the rain that makes a tree grow or a flower bloom. Sound a bit hokey? Sure, but feeling good about each day is easier when we aren’t afraid to be a bit hokey. So I think my bucket list, far from being empty, is filled with day-to-day goals: continue telling my husband how much I adore him, greet my children with a smile (even when they growl back), give my pets an extra bit of attention, take a deep breath and feel gratitude for the chance to live another day.

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