Live like you were dying

What comes to mind when I mention the words “bucket list”? Is it someone who has just been given a terminal diagnosis and thinks of all of the things they never have or will have the opportunity to do? Is it an older person with dreams of youthful adventure? Is it all of those “should’ve, would’ve, could’ve” regrets? Why does the very mention of a bucket list make us think of the end? In all actuality, your bucket list is the beginning of the rest of your life! Imagine that!
There are a few Hollywood bucket list moments that come to mind, such as the movie The Bucket List with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson meeting in a hospital, each given a dire prognosis. This event was the catalyst that lead to the adventure of their lives! Queen Latifah learned this lesson in Last Holiday when she felt stuck in a retail job, just daydreaming of the life she wished she could lead. It was not until she was given a terminal diagnosis due to faulty equipment that she took charge of her life. She cashed in all of her assets and set out to spend her final days living how she wished she had lived all along. She ate the decadent cuisine, enjoyed the spa treatments, stayed in the finest suite. She went skiing, skydiving, and bungee jumped. What an adventure! She was already “dying,” so she gave herself permission to really live.
Tim McGraw has a song called “Live Like You Were Dying,” which plays along the same story line. The man in the song was given a terrible diagnosis and asked, “What would you do?” It was in that moment that permission was given, permission to be a little selfish and really live out his remaining days. All of those things he had been putting off until “someday” suddenly slid to the top of the priority list. He began to really live his dash. You may ask what it means to live his dash. When we pass on, we will have two dates on our headstone, which are of particular significance: the day we were born and the day we left this Earthly home. Both of these dates are important, yet the dash between signifies the life we lead. You see, it is not about the arrival nor departure dates but all of the moments in between.
Bucket lists are for people who understand the importance of a tiny dash. Your bucket list does not have to lead you all over the world or to try exotic cuisine. The beauty of it is that it should be perfectly reflective of you! Your list can consist of big items and small ones, filling your days as you fill the pages. I met an amazing lady at a women’s conference this year, and she told me that this conference was her “new thing” for the day. She tries something new every single day. The joy on her face reminded me to slow down, focus on the things that matter and always make it a point to live my life like the adventure it was meant to be!
None of us are promised tomorrow, so we should strike the word “someday” from our vocabulary. Eat the cake, dance the dance, book the ticket, be foolish, take the class, ask the important question, say those three little words… For today, we live! It was credited to Abraham Lincoln that, “In the end, it is not the years in your life that count. It is the life in your years.” My mission is to encourage everyone to take a moment and add some life to your years. Do it with friends, as a family, on a solo adventure around the world. Live your dash! If you are looking for permission, please do not wait for someone to remind you of the brevity of our time here. This is your permission to live the life of your dreams, the one you deserve. I will leave you with these words by Mary Oliver: Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

~By Taffy Hawkins (as published in Focus on Fabulous Magazine Summer 2016)

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