Thursday, May 9, 2013

Die Having Lived

Everyone these days has a 'bucket list'. They are filling up a torn sheet of yellow legal pad paper with a list of the things they want to do before they kick the bucket, putting in physical form a list of what they want to experience in life, and in writing this, they put into motion a series of events leading to reaching their goals. As long as they can cross some items off the list before some horrible illness or accident befalls them, they can feel like they squeezed the life out of this trip on Earth.

This idea never occurred to me to implement in my own life. For many years, I simply felt that I was too young to worry about such things. I also got into the cycle of working and sleeping and figured that putting those things down on a list and crossing them off was tantamount to cheating. No bucket list for me, I'll be happy to go on a vacation that involves a flight in the next five years. Why do I want to make a list of things I won't have the time or money to do?

Then I became interested again in the idea that you have to put out into the world what you want and how you see things happening and I realized that I was making a list. Not on real paper, but definitely with real intentions. I saw myself in the cycle of work and exhaustion, of not taking time for myself, of not going on vacations. And I reflected that right back out. No wonder I got what I was most worried about. No wonder I didn't understand the bucket list.

So what I really want is to die having lived. No one wants to die, but let's be can put that intention out there all you want and you will find yourself disappointed. If you keep talking about your fear of death, you will unwittingly but with quiet intention put yourself into a mindset of only being able to see that end. Why not shift your focus? Look at what is right in front of you. One day the curtain will close. What will have been your show?

A bucket list is a reminder of what life is all about. Life is not work. Life is not getting more things, or eating more food or being thinner or sexier or having the shiniest hair. Life is not bragging or gloating or owning. Life is living. How is it that we cannot get that simple concept? Why do we refuse to live? Maybe because we are afraid to die.

I am taking it back. I am going to die either way. I have no terminal illness and I see no hooded figure behind me with a scythe. Nonetheless, my day is coming and I am taking back my own life. I am not afraid to die, not as long as I can do it after I have lived. My bucket list was empty, afraid to exist, lest it put out into the light that I am not immortal, but no longer. My bucket list is full, filled with adventures of skiing and sailing, traversing the oceans and watching the wonders of the world first hand, as well as experiencing the most mundane of moments, but experiencing them with intention. With purpose. Being present in their moment and not in any other moment. My list is long, with items I may never reach. I will not regret it if I don't live to see them come true. I will only regret it if I never even tried.

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