Every couple of years, my daughter Sabrina and I would watch one of her favourite movies, “A Walk to Remember“. It is a story of two high school students, played by Shane West and Mandy Moore, who are forced to interact with each other in a drama club. In spite of their differences and personalities, they begin a relationship. He finds out that she has a wish list and helps her make those wishes come true. As their relationship progresses, she confides to him that she has terminal leukemia He continues to fufill the wishes on her list, such as her wanting to be in two places at once and building her a telescope so she can see a comet. He also fulfills her top wish of marrying her in the same chapel her parents got married in. We eat a lot of popcorn when watching this movie to contain our emotion. And then we talk about love and wish lists.
And then a few months ago, I was flipping channels and watched another movie, “The Bucket List“, about two terminally ill men, played by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, who escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a list of to-do’s they want to accomplish before they “kick the bucket” (die). The movie made me laugh and cry.
Lately, I have been thinking about my own bucket list; of things I want to do with my life. I have found this a tough exercise, because I am not quite ready to “kick the bucket”. And then it occurred to me that it is healthy to dream big, whether you have cancer or not. There is something wonderful and satisfying about designing your life and living the life you choose.
Since today is my birthday, I will share my evolving bucket list with you. Some are practical and doable; others are wild and crazy. And I’m okay with that. Thomas Edison once said, “If we did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.” I intend to astound myself!
My bucket list:
- watch a baseball game at (1) Wrigley Field in Chicago, and (2) the new Yankee Stadium in New York
- take a Mediterranean Cruise
- write a book
- go to a B.O.B. concert (or Rihanna, or Bruno Mars)
- be on the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation Board of Directors
- be an ambassador for stem cell transplant and research
- watch Oprah Winfrey’s show in person
- learn to swim well
- skate on the Rideau Canal
- learn to dance the salsa and merengue
- record a CD of Qasidas (Central Asian devotional hymns)
- continue my experiment with cooking
- live in Florida for two months each year
- be a speaker at TEDtalks
- do my Masters in Organizational Development
- have the Property Brothers design my home
- go to Jamatkhana every day, mornings and evenings
- meet the personalities I so admire, starting with Michelle Obama, Dan Bylsma, Bill Gates, Ramin Karimloo, and others
- do impromptu 30 minute coaching sessions with people on the streets of Toronto to showcase the value of coaching
- organize an annual “Celebration of Life” day around the world for people to celebrate what’s great in their lives
- show my husband every day how he is the best thing that has ever happened to me
- redefine how people view cancer and cancer patients
- be a cancer survivor so that I can see my kids get into the master’s programs of their choice, get married and live happily ever after. I want to be around when Sabrina writes her best-seller book and when Shayne starts his own company, “Amani Capital”!
Upon reflection, I have always had a bucket list – just never called it that or committed it to writing. Some of the accomplishments from the past include: walking on the Great Wall of China; climbing half-way up Mount Kilimanjaro; getting my coaching accreditation; peering over the Grand Canyon; recording two CDs; starting my own business; auditioning for the Wheel of Fortune, and volunteering for causes that matter to me.
It’s easy to live the status quo and say that you don’t have time to create and do the things on your bucket list. I take inspiration from something I read in Life’s Little Instruction Book. “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Louis Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein” .
So go ahead. Create your own bucket list. I dare you to design your life!