My bucket list isn’t

Bucket with empty paper hanging from front, signifying bucket list

List empty, bucket full.

I refuse to make a bucket list. Why lay out all the goals you set for yourself before you die? Isn’t that kind of morbid? I understand why the overused term, along with “spoiler alert” and others, was on the banished word list in 2013.

If I’m honest with you, I’ll admit that since my cancer diagnosis a few years ago, I did start thinking about all the things I had left to do before I died. I refused to come up with a bucket list, though, because I figured once I had accomplished everything on it, I’d die. I know I could always extend the list, but is it really a bucket list then?

Lunch got me thinking about this. J. made me an excellent unbuttered grilled ham and cheese on my bland low-sodium bread. It’s been a very long time since I’ve had a ham sandwich. In fact, I can’t remember the last. Ham is not high on the sodium-restricted person’s list of appropriate foods. But today I felt like ham so we bought a very small amount of the good stuff, and I went for J.’s full-sodium cheese to complement it, so I almost didn’t notice the bland unbuttered bread. I’m sure I could have bought a better sandwich at a diner–butter-laden, a lot more ham, salty sourdough bread–but this sandwich was pretty good. Is this the last ham sandwich I’ll ever eat? I sure hope not.

The other thing that got me thinking was my current novel, a whopping 771 pages. I can’t put this book down because: a) it’s good; b) I am a slow reader; and c) I have to return it to the library in a few weeks. I sometimes think about how many more novels I’ll have a chance to read before I die. I don’t have a particular list of novels I want to get through, but sometimes I ponder whether this one will be my last. And considering I couldn’t read much of anything after my hospital discharge a few years back–I had the attention span of a fruitfly for a while–I’m pleased to be able to read anything longer than an article in a trashy magazine.

Maybe I scorn bucket lists because I can’t think of much to put on mine. It’s not like I’ve travelled everywhere I wanted to or climbed some major international peaks (polycythemia breeds altitude sickness) or become a gourmet low-sodium chef, but I don’t have a lot of pressing gaps in my life thus far. If I focus on what I haven’t done yet, won’t I just be depressed?

I’d rather focus on being happy with all I have accomplished, even if it’s simple stuff like solving the odd 5+ star sudoku in the weekend newspaper or finding out I’ve helped someone in a therapy session or two. And since I’ve had cancer, I’ve even made a few new friends. Who’d have thought anyone would want to befriend someone with leukemia? I know there will always be stuff left to do, but I choose to focus on the good things that have already happened.


2 thoughts on “My bucket list isn’t

  1. I love love love your approach to the bucket list. Whenever anyone tells me that they just scratched something off their bucket list, I vomit a little bit in my mouth.

    I am truly inspired by your words.

    Thank you so much for sharing. xo


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