As most of you know, each Wednesday, I attend a group called ‘Life 4 Living Pontypridd.’ The group is a social one, which promotes positivity and friendship among its members. The focus of the group is to promote people’s strengths and enjoy life despite one’s own personal circumstances. One such way, to promote a positive outlook, we have been asked to devise a ‘Bucket List’ – a wish-list that one would like to achieve before they ‘kick the bucket’, or in other words die!
It is thought that the phrase derives from the Middle Ages, when execution by hanging, consisted of a noose being tied around the neck whole standing on an overturned bucket. When the said bucket was kicked away, the victim would hang until dead, hence the phrase “kicking the bucket”. The term has recently been popularised, by a film starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, of the same name, about two terminally ill men meeting at a hospital, and devises a wish-list of to-do’s before dying, which they attempt to complete together on a road trip.
Initially, the idea of a such a list sounds morbid and depressing; seems to be planning the end of your life, instead of living life whilst we still have it. It suggests a “check-off the boxes” approach to life; sitting round waiting to die. However, isn’t the phrase more to do with living than dying? Wouldn’t completing items on such a list make life more meaningful and memorable. Those memories, are not only positive and meaningful for the terminally ill person, but will also live on after they have gone, by those left behind who were also part of the experience.
Now, the condition with which I live, is obviously is not terminal, and more than likely be around for many more years to come. In this case, the phrase ‘Bucket List’ is misleading. How many of you, have such wish-lists? Would your imminent death, really the main motivational factor in creating one? The majority of people, I am sure would say no. Perhaps, it is important, however, for people with chronic illnesses to create such lists in order to accomplish personal ambitions, before the illness prevents them from doing so. Perhaps, by creating such lists, would provide those with chronic illness with experiences that they can look forward to, whilst they are dealing with horrible, debilitating symptoms, and through treatments that can feel worse than the condition itself. Whilst studying Psychology at University, I learnt about the importance of goal-setting. Such goals can motivate us to accomplish items on such wish-lists; and furthermore the most motivating goals are those which are hard and specific, although it does need to be coupled with steps to achieving said goal, but writing a ‘bucket-list’ is the critical first-step.
One of the things, that is on my personal ‘bucket list’ is to someday visit Italy, and I am pleased to say, that my parents and I have booked a cruise for next year and one of the countries we will be visiting is Italy!! Of course, there is much trepidation on my part surrounding the trip, especially giving the deterioration in my symptoms. However, it has also given me something to look forward to in the future; even on the days where I have been confined to my bed due to uncooperative legs, it has given me something to smile about and aim for. It has given me something to think about other than illness, and hospital appointments.
It has really put a pep in my step!
What are your thoughts regarding ‘bucket-lists’? Are you for or against? What would you put on your bucket-list? As ever, I would love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to comment below!