A List for Living

There seem to have been many references lately to ‘Bucket Lists’ – a list of things we would like to achieve or experience before we die (or kick the bucket!) What would be on yours?

 When Helen Fawkes (a BBC correspondent) was given a life-limiting diagnosis, she considered compiling her own plan but did not like the term, ‘bucket list’. She preferred to compile her ‘List for Living’. Helen’s ideas included: seeing Stonehenge at dawn; pulling a pint in her local pub; being driven around a racetrack in a sports car; glass blowing; hot air balloon flight; and drinking a mojito in Cuba!

 When life revolves around tests, treatments and appointments, and trying desperately to be well and feel well, Helen found that her list gave her something else to focus on; helped her to take back some control; and gave her back her identity. Her list also provided some kind of structure for her, “There are no excuses anymore. You have to get on and do things rather than thinking you must do it someday. It’s almost like giving pleasure a priority”. However, her aim was not just to be able to tick off activities as she accomplished them but to be left with a whole bunch of happy memories of spending time with loved family and friends.

 There is a danger that lists such as these can create a sense of pressure by trying to cram everything in, and also possible disappointment or frustration over activities not accomplished. Helen believes it is not about going through the motions but about being alive. She found that taking part in something enjoyable made her feel so much better and gave her a real boost.

 It seems to me, whatever our health status, we could all do with having our own, modest or ambitious, List for Living, to celebrate life.

 What are you waiting for?

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