An obsession with Death?

At dinner parties, kiddies parties, family gatherings and even funerals the discussion frequently turns to the Bucket List. These days during video meetings and webinars, chatting drifts to the Bucket List. It appears that most people have a bucket list. Many people boast about their Bucket List. They are expansive about what they want to buy or do and where they want to travel. They boast about their bucket list because they want to impress their friends with their grandiose plans. Mostly those friends hardly care because they are too busy boasting about their bucket list and trying to impress you. Often these bucket lists are imaginary or made up in the moments of musings. It becomes an exercise in the verbal acrobatics of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’.

Adults who have been motivated to have a bucket list might write it all down. At the top of the page they will type ‘MY BUCKET LIST’. How gauche.

Kick the Bucket – List

Kick the bucket‘ popularly means to die. It arose from the thought that a man standing on a bucket with a noose around his neck will die by suicide by kicking the bucket. That is why I detest the bucket list. This is a list of what we want to do before we die. Or before we kill ourselves? Hurry hurry hurry. Hurry quickly. Hurry faster. Hurry urgently. Death approaches. We know that death is a certainty. Whether we do it ourselves or wait for it to happen, Father Time and the Grim Reaper will arrive. Death is a safe bet. I checked with the S’Effrican Chief Statistician and he assured me that our death rate is 100%. He’s a civil servant and they have been known to be inaccurate on occasion, which prompted me to check seventeen countries on all continents. Low, middle and high-income countries. It is beyond doubt. The death rate in all countries is One Hundred Percent. Everyone dies. Why then be obsessed with death? Don’t kick the bucket. Kick the bucket-list.

The DREAM List

That’s what I have A DREAM List. These are things which I seek to achieve while I am alive. I am living and doing. Living and creating. Living and achieving. Living and Loving. I am living LIFE, ticking the boxes on my Dream list and sucking the marrow of joy out of every bone while I am A L I V E.

It is important that you write it down in order to give your thoughts some substance. You can then carry it with you. Some individuals create their bucket dream list on a Vision board in the kitchen. But you can’t carry that with you. Take a photograph and look at it periodically, preferably several times a day.

Now that we have decided to thumb our nose at death, what do we write down? Save the world? End poverty and hunger? End slavery? Stop abuse! Lofty goals, but we have to give them meat (substance) and create manageable chunks. To end world hunger start with your street, your suburb, your town or your province. You might not complete the task in your lifetime, but once you have the written it in the list, you will at least START.

You want to visit India? Too vague. It is a huge country with hundreds of interesting places and wonderful history. My list included ‘Visit the Taj Mahal to see if it is as beautiful as everyone says it is’. Notice that this is specific and there is an emotion attached to that dream which makes it exciting. Here’s the magic. A few months after I added that to my dream list I was invited to present a paper at a conference in Mumbai. That took me to Delhi, the Golden Triangle and the Taj Mahal. And it is beautiful, and I did pose for all the standard tourist photographs. And I moved the dream to the ACHIEVED column.

As I periodically review my Dream List I am surprised at the items which I move to the Achieved column. Sometimes it seems to happen simply because I wrote it down. It is wonderfully, enchantingly scary.

When you start, simply write everything down. Don’t judge. Don’t think. Let your mind and your heart race. Bear in mind what Og Mandino wrote in his little book – The Greatest Salesman in the World

Always I will Aim high. For is it not better to aim at the stars and strike only the moon than to aim at the moon and strike only a rock.

There is no death.

For you there is only life. Live it NOW.

Useful links:

The Greatest Salesman in the World – Og Mandino

It’s all in the State of the Mind by Walter D Wintle

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