Before I die I want to live. I don’t remember where that quote comes from, but it’s one I’ve lived by since I turned 21. Before then I never even thought about death, even though all around me people were dying every day. None of it really seemed that personal to me until I turned 21 and began having little aches and pains, signs that informed me of my own mortality.
In recent years a lot of focus has been given to the proverbial “bucket list,” a list of things people want to do before they die. It started off with a lot of older folk and their list of regrets. What didn’t they do that they wish they had done in their lifetime? They were regrets, though, because almost everything on their lists were impossibilities for people of advanced age. That’s when people younger and younger began writing out their own bucket lists of things they could conceivably do if they lived a nice long life.
Of course living a nice long life is not a given for anyone who’s young, and we can see more and more the stories of people who’ve died young, before they had a chance to truly live, before the things on their bucket lists could be successfully completed. I recall reading a book once about this woman who was involved in the death of a young girl who had a list of 40 things she wanted to do before 40. I could be massively reinterpreting the plot structure of the book, but it was intriguing, completing someone else’s list out of a sense of guilt or obligation. In a way it was even better because the woman felt compelled to go out of her comfort zone to try and get some closure on what she had done, accidentally or not. The idea intrigues me.
At first I wanted to stay as far away from a list as I could, perhaps as a way to rebel against what was popular, or to try and cling to the lazy ways of youth, but mortality began staring me in the face in a contest of wills until I finally blinked about 8 years ago. Coincidentally, it was around the same time the gray hairs in my head began to overpopulate each region. I realized those hairs were dying, and that if I wanted to do all the things I was able to do while I was able to do them, I would need to get going on it. Hence, the list was born, but instead of calling it a bucket list, I named it “Before I Die.”
Before I Die…
- I want to see the world from the top of the Eiffel Tower
- I want to write my name using Chinese characters
- I want to get my books published
- I want to speak before an audience of 20,000+
- I want to take photos of all my experiences
- I want to move to Dublin (Ireland, not Ohio)
- I want to record a music album
- I want to act more than I react
- I want to always give more than I receive
- I want to boldly go after what I want
- I want to write every single day
- I want to always be resilient
- I want to maintain and cultivate new friendships
- I want to drive across the United States
- I want to conquer at least five of my fears
- I want to live