Bucket List

Authors note: This is a topic that’s seldom discussed amongst those of us with a potentially terminal disease. It may not apply to everyone but probably to more than you’d imagine.

We’ve all heard of the Bucket List. Popularized by the 2007 movie of the same name. You make a list of all the things you want to do before you die, or “kick the bucket.”

That was a good movie and the concept of accomplishing specific goals and desires before your ‘D’ day is great. But... you knew there was a ‘but’ coming, right? We need to be careful about what we include on that list.

Skydiving, bungee jumping, sailing around the world, all of these and more are fine. There is one thing we need to be cautious about though. I call it the I-have-a-right-to-do-that-before-I-die syndrome.

Bucket list considerations

Being faced with a possible early demise becomes a fertile ground for rationalization. Temptations that you may not have seriously considered might suddenly seem justified in light of your cancer.

They say there is a fine line between sanity and insanity. The same goes for intelligence and stupidity.

What is it that drives us to accomplish great things, or to destroy what we have? I guess it comes down to what we focus on, what we decide really matters to us.

If we’re not careful, things can take a dark turn. It goes something like this:

I have cancer. Why shouldn’t I enjoy life? Why shouldn’t I do what I want for a change? It’s not going to hurt anybody, especially if I don’t tell anyone. I mean, I’ve only got one shot here and my time is getting closer. I don’t know when I’ll die but when I do I don’t want to regret not doing exactly what I want.

Okay, in reading this I can see I’ve not really made myself clear. I guess I’m finding it difficult. But here it is: Is your disease driving you closer to your faith, to your loved ones? Or, is it driving you towards an affair or other desire that, if realized, could hurt those you love and destroy your legacy?

Keeping your resolve

I’ll be honest. This writer has had some close calls, so I know what I’m talking about. I say close calls because somehow I managed to avoid stepping across the line into stupidville.

Life is full of temptations. But living with death knocking at your door makes those temptations all the more real. So how do we avoid jumping from sanity to insanity, from intelligent to stupid?

For me, it helps to look around at what I have. I don’t want to lose it. And, even more important, it matters to me how people will remember me. In other words, I want to protect my legacy.

So, the next time my red-blooded-American-boy ego starts gnawing at my resolve, hopefully, I’ll remember that cancer, even the deadly kind, is no excuse for stupidity.

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