Saying Yes to Life, Yourself, and Your Dreams

Having a diagnosis of blood cancer, makes one begin to question priorities, life choices and future actions. What do I want to accomplish as a cancer survivor? I recently found myself using the term “bucket list” to describe things I would like to experience or accomplish.

I was interested in the origin of this term. I discovered the idea behind the term became popular after the 2007 movie of the same name. Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson starred in the film as terminally ill patients who become friends and decide to live life to the fullest in the time that they have left. The idea is to create a list of things you can hope to do before you “kick the bucket”. The list reminds us that life is a gift and we should live it now and not later. Another phrase used is “life list”, a contract with yourself describing goals to accomplish or a roadmap for your life.

Why does making a bucket list help?

Several recurring themes are noted in the literature. The law of attraction is the idea that our thoughts and feelings create our experience. What we think about and focus on is what we draw into our life. Some believe that the law of attraction aligns God or the universe with our wishes. Since energy makes up our bodies, we can change the frequency by using positive thoughts and focusing on our dreams. What we attract depends on where and how we focus our attention. Another explanation proposes that by focusing on a new reality, we may take more risks, see more options and open ourselves to new opportunities.

What are the benefits of making a bucket list?

A goal that is noted on your list can give you a new focus and more energy, both of which are beneficial. I made this list after my experience of chemo related fatigue. It gave me something to look forward to.

Your list can be a springboard for becoming more aware of what is important to you, finding your perspective, and determining what you value most.

The list provides an opportunity to “stop and take stock” of your life.

Creating a list can help you recapture the sense of adventure you had as a child. I cannot believe that I went parasailing with a friend, as I wanted to be adventurous. My family was most surprised that I did it!

A list will push you beyond your comfort zone and help you break through the perceived limits.

Having a list and working toward achieving it puts you in the driver’s seat. This is especially important because having cancer often creates a feel of loss of control.

Making your list

Anyone can start a bucket list. It is what a person would like to accomplish in his/her lifetime.

Common topics may include:

  • Travel plans
  • Learning a new language
  • Making time for family
  • Forgiving a past slight and making peace
  • Learning a new skill
  • Going back to school
  • Volunteering for a charity
  • Conquering a fear

The list is specific to each individual. There are no wrong answers. You can focus on goals for fun, excitement, or stress relief. Be creative and nurture your inner child. Checking items off your list gives you a sense of self-sufficiency and mastery.

From a personal perspective, I am excited to check off from my list:

  • Going on a family cruise with my children to celebrate our wedding anniversary.
  • Enjoying yoga as an exercise and stress-reducing strategy.
  • Volunteering at our church and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
  • Most importantly, never missing an opportunity to spend time with my granddaughter.

My list continues to grow as cancer does not mean life has to cease.Your bucket or life list is your vision. Creating a list is saying yes to life, yourself and your dreams. Now is the time to start.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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