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'Bucket list' essential to living to the fullest

By Faythe Del Rosario, scene editor
On February 13, 2013

  • Faythe Del Rosario, scene editor. The Advocate

You never know when you're going to go. Life is uncertain and can end at any moment.
People should never look back at their lives during what may be their last few days on Earth and regret not doing something they always wished they could.
Some people say it is best to live in the moment.
But it can be difficult when doctors can only suggest options for illnesses that can leave someone depressed for a long time, such as radiation treatment.
It isn't healthy to stay depressed. It'll become difficult to accomplish anything after succumbing to those negative feelings.
It is not a good idea to live a stationary life filled with regret.
My boyfriend's mother has had cancer for several years now.
Her breast cancer went into remission three times before finally metastasizing into terminal bone cancer that also caused a brain tumor last summer. If it had not been taken out, she would have had only two weeks before death.
Her oncologist estimates she will only have until around the end of this calendar year to live.
Hard-pressing situations like these can be difficult to ignore, but it doesn't mean one should, for lack of a better term, "lay down and die."
The situation definitely doesn't keep her down.
In a recent conversation she said she's had a good run. After watching her sons grow into adults, she now has the time to focus on her well-being.
From knowing her, I must agree she's had a great life and done many things.
What's best is she is always smiling and enjoying the limited time she does have left being around the people she loves, regardless of the physical pain that comes with her cancer.
She always wanted to go to Africa on safari and is currently taking a two-week trip to Tanzania.
Other things in life kept her from actually going, like raising three kids, working full time as an elementary school teacher and worrying about her health.
Creating a "bucket list" provides people with the chance to plan out what they want to do before their time comes to an end.
This "to-do list" consists of the dreams a person hopes to accomplish before his or her death. The satisfaction of fulfilling these tasks is usually unique only to that person.
Ultimately, the things that are accomplished will allow the person with the bucket list to look back on the accomplishments with joy.
But I don't think nearing death should be an excuse to finally do the things you've always wanted to do.
A bucket list doesn't have to be something made up after hearing life-altering news.
It isn't necessary to decide to take on ridiculous or extravagant tasks after being diagnosed with a terminal disease, as in the movie "The Bucket List."
They should be lifelong desires a person has dreamed of or wanted to fulfill.
People who are healthy cannot imagine what it really feels like to have a potentially terminal illness unless it happens to them or to someone they love.
But most people do know their dreams and goals and how important some of them may be to fulfill before death.
So take the time to realize what you want in life because it does not hurt to know this years, or even decades, before death in order to start accomplishing them now.

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