Live a Little Before You are Too Busy Dying

Have you created a Bucket List yet? You really should; they are all the rage right now. That is, if you have had the misfortune of being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Two similar stories with very different outcomes caught my attention recently. Both involved individuals living out the last days of a terminal cancer diagnosis as they checked items off their ‘bucket lists’, yet only one individual was actually dying; the other was left alive and well, but deeply in debt.  British teen Alice Pyne created her list after learning her four year fight with cancer was coming to a tragic end. The online list garnered so much attention that a bill in her name has reached Parliament floor which it would require people to sign up for bone marrow donation. While down in New Zealand, a couple going by the always mysterious first name only monikers Frank and Wilma have been left $80,000 in debt after they began visiting exotic lands when Frank was misdiagnosed with a terminal form of cancer.

Bucket Lists are nothing new. Back in 2007, Hollywood reached out to aging baby boomers with a comedy starring boomer favs Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as two, of course, terminally ill cancer patients who are, of course, living out their bucket list before meeting their maker. So while not new, there is an expectation about the ‘bucket list’; it is something for the dying. Well, screw that.

Let me step back a minute and tell you a bit about myself and what I am doing here. Hi, my name is Kelly. I’m a woman in my mid-thirties – single, childless, working a terribly boring internet job that allows me to hide in my house all day and am generally frustrated with the stagnation of my life. This stagnation has much to do with the fact that I have hermit-like tendencies and a sometimes crushing bit of social anxiety, only sometimes crushing, because once you get me out the door, I’m impossible to miss. It’s just getting past that damn threshold.

I actually started my ‘bucket list’ this past September after memories of my time in New York City came flooding back during the 10 year anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. I was reminded of all the times friends invited me to the top of the towers for salsa lessons and drinks and how I said no each time. A year later, there were no salsa lessons and no drinks from up high because there were no towers to dance on top of. This thought lead to all the other things I did not do in my three years living in NYC, then on to all I have not done here in Los Angeles. Moving at the speed of a tortoise, I then set out to fulfill my list. So far I have visited The Viper Room just to say I went and I have taken on a Latin lover because every girl needs at least one of those in her life (seriously, ladies, you really do). To help pick up the pace a little bit, I am now going to publish my list for you right here and begin living it out while posting about it right here. What could go wrong?

Writing out The List was a bit harrowing. Seriously, I had to lock myself away in a tent in the high desert for a week to finally spit this thing out. Thinking about the big end doesn’t help out the vacation-mind much. It could be the idea that in a way I am courting death, but actually I think that it has more to do with the change coming to my daily life. I will be going from dependable, boring, predictable stagnation to learning, activity, socialization and growth without a five year plan. The only plan is to start doing these things and see how many I can accomplish before I kick the bucket. Ready to see my current ‘bucket list’?

Categorized, yet in no particular order I give you — THE LIST


  • Spend a Summer Tangoing in Argentina
  • Return to work in Haiti
  • Visit Cuba before the time warp ends
  • Climb Inca Temples
  • New Orleans in the Spring
  • See Alaska before it melts
  • Ireland and all that GREEN!
  • Enjoy a coffee & pastries after a visit to the Louvre
  • Experience The Holy Land
  • See a fireworks show in China
  • Scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef
  • Hike the Triple Crown


  • Learn to read and speak a new language every two years.
  • Learn gooder grammar
  • Challenge my brain with college level courses.
  • Get past my math related learning disability.

Sports & Physical

  • Learn to surf both long and short boards
  • Sky-dive
  • Bungee Jump
  • Get the fat sucked out of my gut.
  • Compete in the Olympics
  • Drop-in without falling on a skateboard
  • Take up boxing
  • Stop worrying about my weight
  • Race motorcycles

Family & Friends

  • Meet my cousins’ children
  • Teach my sister to laugh at my jokes, not at me
  • Create a family tree, visit ancestral lands
  • Adopt a child
  • Be a nicer person
  • Foster friendships
  • Send actual birthday cards
  • Talk to my Dad regularly
  • Forgive my parents
  • Forgive my friends – realize they are not your childhood bullies

Career & Art

  • Master the Harmonica
  • Rock out on stage with a band – complete set
  • Create Oscar winning horror film
  • Publish a novel
  • Sell a screenplay
  • Develop a TV series
  • Walk the red carpet
  • Finish my Aimee Semple Mcpherson project
  • Support my friend projects

The World at Large

  • Volunteer more – go outside comfort zone
  • Stand up for human rights – esp women’s rights
  • Spread community gardens
  • Buy a house
  • Buy a brand new car
  • Finish what I start (srsly)
  • Die with my eyes open

So there it is in all it’s impossible glory. It is my expectation that the list will grow over the years rather than shorten. I suspect that as I experience new things, I will discover just how very much more there is to experience that I cannot fathom at this time. I have started the ball rolling with learning to play the harmonica and learning Spanish as my first new language. What third item should I take on?

(Image via Shutterstock).

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