It has been a hard eighteen months for some of us at our college. Four of our current and former colleagues have died, two of complications from advanced dementia, one from a quick but vicious cancer, and one from a totally unexpected moment during what should have been a routine surgery. I suppose that the death of a friend always causes some soul searching, reminding one that life is short and should not be wasted.
It would be presumptuous to think I might know if my friends and colleagues had achieved their goals in life. I’m pretty sure that they wanted to have more good years left, to spend time with their families, read good books, and laugh with friends. I think most felt they still had contributions to make to the world. But I also think that they made pretty good use of the time they had.
Still I thought of them when I saw a post on Facebook; it was close to New Year’s when people tend to share optimistic and motivating ideas for the coming year. This one, which I liked and then promptly lost track of, said something along the lines to make sure that you do something on your bucket list every day.
This made a lot of sense to me. Bucket lists are often made up of big items. (Trips seem to be a popular item.) And there is nothing wrong with having big goals and dreams. But while we’re waiting for big things to happen, a lot of life can go by.
So think of the things that you want to do while you are still alive and still healthy enough. And then think about how you can make them into daily activities. Maybe you can’t go on a trip today. But you can make sure that your passport isn’t expired, you can put a few dollars to your trip fund, or you can jot down the places you want to go.
Maybe your bucket list includes leaving money for a charity in your will. That’s great. But go ahead and give away a little money today. Take advantage of that impulse to help someone now.
Life is indeed short. And plans can go awry. And that’s why we need to keep our eyes on them and do a little something to make sure our lives are happy and meaningful each and every day.