Is It Time For A Bucket List?

Photo from SlimSculptedSane .wordpress.com

Welcome to More Cowbell! Today is Thoughty Thursday when we examine whatever topic is kicking around in my brain for the week.

Since I’ve been parked in bed all week with a bad cold, it’s natural for my mind to wander to other times I’ve been ill.

Note: If you’re unfamiliar with the near-death crazy blood clot story in my past, click here. With a health history like mine, I really need to just say “thank you” every day I wake up and get on about my day.

Usually, I do.

Except when I’m sick.

I get kinda cranky  when I’m sick because I  just don’t have time to be laying around. (Sound familiar anyone?)

For all of us who have Mono, flu, blood clots, migraines, or WHATEVER, it’s hard to be grateful and relish the down time. It’s hard to stop and take time to consider all the things we rush around for, and evaluate whether those tasks are important or just “busy work.”

Being sick gives us a moment to contemplate our Life Lists, or “Bucket Lists.”

The awful truth is that everyone does not survive all of the above health issues. Plus, none of us like to change our ways unless we HAVE to. Most humans need a good kick in the something-or-other to change the way we spend our time.

Obviously, when I tested positive for a blood-clotting disorder, many things had to change in my life to prevent future  blood clots.

  • I sit a lot less and put my feet up when I do sit.
  • I take baby aspirin every day.
  • I drink a ton more fluids than I used to
  • I’m aware of foods that are high in Vitamin K (a vitamin that thickens your blood).
  • I know what thins the blood and which foods make your platelets more slippery
  • Flying SUCKS now because, rather than nap, I have to walk-walk-walk and drink 20 oz bottles of water before I get on the plane.

Though patience has never been my strong point, I’ve become more patient with my friends and family and less patient with bad behavior in general (my own and others).

I’ve worked hard to become less of a procrastinator, though I do still struggle with it.

In this time of taxes and Spring Break, and the never-ending flu and cold season, I’ve got a short memo for all of us (yep, I’m in need of it too) who get twitchy over the “lost time” associated with illness.

This memo applies to anyone who feels time breathing down their necks for whatever  reason:

APPRECIATE TODAY and DON’T WAIT.

  • Don’t wait until you have more time.
  • Don’t wait until you get the nerve.
  • Don’t wait to share your love.

Whatever “IT” is you’re waiting for, try to put it on the front burner.

We’re given two huge gifts in this life: the gift of love and the gift of time. Although love lasts forever, time slides by quickly and runs out when you least expect it to.

A word about fear, the #1 impediment to “Don’t Wait.”

Bob Mayer tells his students to look closely at the things that make them angry or generate a strong emotional response…those are the things we’re most afraid of.

Write the fears down, as many as you can, and see if they look as scary on the paper as they did in the dark closet of your soul.

I’ll bet they don’t.

Final Jenny Note:

The ancient Egyptians believed that upon death they would be asked two questions and their answers would determine whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife.

The first question was, “Did you bring joy?” The second was, “Did you find joy?”

How would you answer these questions? Do you have a “Bucket List?” Are you willing to share some of it with the rest of us? What is the ONE thing on that list you can start on today? Equiring minds LOVE to know these things here at More Cowbell!

Jenny

p.s. Speaking of “don’t wait,” hurry up and send those Dirty Fighting Contest entries in! The deadline is midnight of St. Patricks day (you’ve got NINE days and counting…)

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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54 Responses to Is It Time For A Bucket List?

  1. Don’t wait. Wise words!!

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  2. I have a Bucket List noodling around in my brain. I know many things that are on it — in my brain, a dangerous place to store them.

    Make a Bucket List hit the front burner.

    Write FIRST — no more once-I-get-this-and-that-done behavior. And, visit Carter Blood Center to donate blood AND determine where I test and register as a bone-marrow donor.

    Get well soon, Jenny!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Gloria, I’ve found that if writing doesn’t come first for me, it doesn’t get done. I usually do it at night though, before I go to bed, since that’s when my brain is the most creative. Your Bucket List would make a great post! (Plus, it would make you do it.)

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  3. Sherry Isaac says:

    Rather than a list of things to do, I have a list of places to visit. Like Gloria, my list is in the vault. Too bad I keep misplacing my key. But I digress…

    Your Bob Mayer reference is what strikes the chord and makes it sing this morning, Jenny. Specifically, I’m thinking of people in my life that make me lose my patience. I know I’m not afraid of either of these individuals specifically, but their behaviours represent fears I have. That shot of perspective is… Wow.

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  4. Ryan King says:

    So if you were egyptian, yours would be “Did you bring cowbell?” and “Did you find cowbell?”.😉 Good reminder.

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  5. Ginger Calem says:

    Love this:

    The first question was, “Did you bring joy?” The second was, “Did you find joy?”

    I’m working to answer yes to both of these when the time comes.

    Hope you feel better ASAP!

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  6. KM Huber says:

    Such a good point about appreciating the down time as it gives us so much, frankly an ability to say, “I could do this or that or both.” Before you know it, you’re at joy! Appreciate the reminder and feel better.
    Karen

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Karen! I’ve got joy most days, but I get hard pressed to keep in touch with it when my head’s stuff up. Trust me, I needed this reminder today too.🙂

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  7. Don’t wait… Love it.

    Did you bring joy? Did you find joy? Brilliant! I think I’m going to post those questions in every room of my house.

    I’ll have to go over the Bucket List and see if there is anything I can implement today. Great post Jenny and I hope you feel better soon.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I think that would be excellent for you, that man, and the four beasties. It’ll be interesting to see if it’s something they remember as important when they grow up.

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  8. Words to live by…a friend of mine will often sign her posts with “Seek joy, y’all!” Always a timely reminder, as its so easy to let joy slip by. Hugs dear, and feel better SOON!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Ooooh, that’s a lovely sign-off, Christine! I never stay sick for long, but I hate that a cold has to just run it’s course. Couldn’t it HURRY UP??! The big goal right now is to keep it from my daughter.

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  9. Laura Drake says:

    I got the ‘found joy’ part – in spades!

    Now I need to work on the ‘give joy’ part.

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  10. Stacy Green says:

    After losing two brothers in the last six years to a car accident and cancer, I completely agree with what you’re saying. Life is way too short to waste time sweating the small things, no matter how big they seem in that moment. Thanks for the reminder!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      OMG, Stacy…I didn’t realize you’d lost TWO. That is so wrong, and it’s a lot to deal with. I’m so glad you have Hubby and Grace (and all of us) cheering you on. *hugs*

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  11. Wonderful post Jenny! Hope you feel better soon!
    You know, it’s funny because I’ve never been one to have a “bucket list” per say until I started thinking about it this week. I started realizing that there are things in life that I want to do and experience like learning Spanish, having a cottage, writing a book etc. So I started to list them out so I could keep my dreams and wishes at the forefront.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Yes, but your in that mid-to-late 30’s bracket where you start wanting to get your stuff done while you feel great. I can totally see you learning Spanish and whipping it out on your vacations to tropical Spanish-speaking places!

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  12. Since I had Mono thirty-six years ago, I have lived in a state of perpetual CFS ever since. So when I’m up and have the energy to go out amongst the living, I relish in it! Like today, it’s a beautiful SoCal day! And whether we’re sick or not, we can be happy watching the sun as it shines outside our window or the birds that sing early in the morning, always remembering that Life is Good!🙂

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  13. Fabio Bueno says:

    I had this epiphany a few years ago. I am already halfway through my bucket list. But if I keeled over right now, I’d be satisfied🙂
    For reasons that I’m not sharing today, I feel like all my time is borrowed time, that I’m playing with house money. So, it’s all good!
    Loved this post, Jenny. I hope you feel better soon.
    (BTW, your notebook picture touched me because #1 is still top of my list)

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That is fantastic to hear, Fabio! And yes, I chose that picture because of #1. It’s completely at the top of my list. She is so dang funny right now too.

      I’m glad you appreciate your time – it is so, so precious!

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  14. I wrote a blog post about this too and concluded there’s a huge difference between a life list and a bucket list. To me, a life list keeps growing as you do, but a bucket list has only one or two items on it. Out of all your dreams and aspirations, which one or two (if you don’t get to them) will cause such regret and yearning on your death bed that you’d do anything to have your life over again?

    Great post, Jenny! Love the ancient Egyptian reference and will use it daily. Here’s the long answer to your question, if you’re curious🙂 http://www.laterbloomer.com/bucket-list

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Very good point, Debra! There are 20 things on my Life List that I expect to get done this YEAR. Whereas, the rest of them are the biggie MUST-DO’s.

      I’m going to go look at your post, and Julie’s…they sound fantastic.

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  15. Julie Glover says:

    Did you think of me when you typed “mono”?🙂

    Loved this post! So very true. I definitely have a bucket list — which I call my “40 After 40” list because it includes forty items that I wrote down after I turned 40 years old. In fact, I wrote about it in a blog post (http://julieglover.com/2011/06/13/monday-musings-facing-forty/). It includes taking another family vacation, shooting a real gun, hosting a costume party, and singing at a karaoke bar. Items I’ve already crossed off include starting a blog, writing a novel, and reading WAR AND PEACE. I’ve checked off shockingly few overall, so I need to get busy. It’s so easy in life to get buried by the laundry and to-do’s and forget that part about bringing and finding joy in life!

    Hope you heal quickly, Jenny!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I was absolutely thinking of you when I typed, “Mono!” Did you feel it? I’m gonna go read about your 40 over 40 – that might need to be a trend I get after, even though I’m 3 years in.🙂

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  16. Get better soon, Jenny. I actually ticked off the first item on my bucket list last month. I had a moment when I realized that if I was going to do one of the things I wanted to do, I had to get busy and do it, since this event only happens once a year. it was so cool. and also almost sad when I finished.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Louise, I’m so happy for you!! That’s awesome that you got the “once a year” event done (and that you get to do it again next year if you want).🙂

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  17. educlaytion says:

    Hope you feel better soon Jenny. I was down for the count a couple weeks back. Not fun. Good post from a sick bed!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Nope, not enjoying this. However, it’s just a cold, and not whatever amazing thing I had in November (ALL of November). I’m about 4 days in and ready to be done. Nothing like a little tea and Mucinex, with a cocktail of Nyquil in the evening.

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  18. ktlee says:

    “Did you bring joy?” “Did you find joy?” What a couple of powerful questions. Really great thoughts! Enjoyed finding your blog via David Walker’s blog. Look forward to keeping up with you!

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  19. Jess Witkins says:

    I fall into that trap where changes only happen when there’s a big change in my life. I’m trying to focus this year on making more small changes to impact life overall. Slow and steady wins the race right? Although, my “bucket list” items involve travel, so I do tend to pick places on a whim and dive in. I love going anywhere new!

    Definitely want to try that trick of Bob Mayer’s. Think it’ll be a great journal entry for me. You sure have given me lots to think about lately, Jenny!

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  20. Oh Jenny, I’m sorry you are sick again! Ever since the movie “Bucket List” that term has had a negative feeling to me. I absolutely believe we should all have lists of our wishes and dreams ( as Natalie said) – it’s important to have special plans for the future. Every day is a gift … make the most of each one.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Yep, I’m a bit irritated with this cold. If I find the person who gave it to me, I might have to pinch ’em.

      Do you know, I never actually saw that movie? I’ve seen the trailers and read the Wikipedia but did not see the film. Perhaps I’ll need to. I didn’t realize there was a negative slant to it.

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  21. Oh, feel better soon, Jenny:-)

    I have to admit – I got way too many to-do lists. I need a list to organize my to-do lists!!! Yikes.

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  22. I didn’t know that foods high in Vitamin K thicken the blood. My husband suffered a stroke at a very young age (in his mid-20s, resulting in his medical discharge from the Marine Corps and basically changing the whole course of his life). The doctors ran every test they could think of and couldn’t come up with a single medical reason for it, so after a year he was allowed to go off blood thinners, but he was admonished to take baby aspirin and drink plenty of water. No one ever told us there were other things we could also do to reduce his risk of a future stroke. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that tidbit of information.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Marcy, you’re very, very welcome. The saddest thing to me about Vitamin K foods is that it’s all the stuff that gets pushed on you with a heart condition – green leafy veggies, spinach, broccoli, salad, cheddar cheese, oatmeal. The way my anti-coagulation nurses put it, “Just don’t have a party in it.” (unless you are taking some baby aspirin or drinking red wine.)

      The other things I do is shoot for 80-100 ounces of water a day. I usually fail, but it’s the optimum. Garlic and ginger make your platelets more slippery, which is also a help for us clotters.

      Email me if you need any more info: jennyhansensmail [at] aol [dot] com.

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      • Thanks so much for letting me know some of the Vitamin K foods (and that garlic and ginger are positive items). Broccoli and oatmeal especially were ones I wouldn’t have suspected and that we eat regularly because those are considered healthy for most people. I would never have thought they could be a problem for him. People who’ve had one stroke are at increased risk for a second, and we were very blessed this time that he came away with very minor damage–two numb fingers and a few problems sleeping and with memory. It could have been so much worse. I’ll be doing some research, and I appreciate the offer to email. You’ll probably be hearing from me🙂

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        • Jenny Hansen says:

          I tweeted you but feel I should explain further. He can eat those foods, he just wants to be aware of them. For example, don’t eat oatmeal in the morning, cheddar and crackers for lunch and a plate of broccoli for dinner unless you’ve been damn sure to balance the rest.

          – 3-4 baby aspirin and or a glass of red wine
          – 90-100 ounces of water that day
          – plenty of rest
          – lots of exercise

          You see what I mean? He doesn’t have to give up his greens, he just needs to be aware of them so he can balance them. I now eat all the ginger in a sushi bar and ask for more (though I’m going to have to check and see if it has gluten) or you can buy ginger root and grate it into your tea and salad dressing and such. We quadruple all the garlic in everything now and seek out garlic foods.

          I’m sure there’s more, but that DVT site to the right should have a list of platelet de-aggregating foods, or you can look them up.

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  23. M. Bowen says:

    Melanie here! I enjoyed this piece, please email me–I have a question about your blog. MelanieLBowen[at]gmail[dot]com

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  24. Hi, Jenny. I had a bucket list more than 3 decades ago, before we even called them bucket lists. But about 5 years ago, I realized most of those things either weren’t possible any more (ride cross country in the Olympics just isn’t going to happen), but there were four big things I still wanted to do. One of those is checked off (live in a foreign country), two are ongoing, and one needs to wait a bit. I like the “Life List” term much better than “Bucket List,” tho. I like the idea of listing what I want to accomplish in the next year, but that will take some thought.

    And I LOVE the “Did you bring joy?” “Did you find joy?” Like Raelyn, I’m going to post that in several rooms of the house! Thanks for a great post.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Jennifer, I hope you do pursue the Life List Club. I think you’d be a natural fit for it. Even if you don’t go after the blog hop, just make a Life List. It works wonders.

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  25. Fantastic post, Jenny! I do hope you are feeling better.

    I’ve had a few near death life moments and the epiphany that nothing is promised or given. So, like Gloria said, I’ve had a Bucket List tooling around in my head as well. I wandered back through it most recently when I became sick a few weeks ago and had some worst case scenarios as possible diagnoses. Hopped up on medicine, I kept staring out of windows and thinking about how okay I would be if that day or moment ended up being my last. I realized that there are some things that I would have loved to do (like more travel out of the country), but that I was good with where I am right now. The people I care about know how I feel, I try to live present and as an authentic person each day and I have faith in where I’m going after this journey. Also love the Egyptian questions. So far in my life, I’ve balancing both and that is something I’m way proud of. 🙂

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Barbara, I adore you. I have ever since our Rock the ROW party. You have such a zest and live-in-the-moment attitude, and I’m terribly glad that your prognosis did not end up being dire.

      You spread a TON of joy around the blog-o-sphere, whether you know it or not. THANK YOU!!!

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      • Did you say par-tay? *waving arms* (Sorry, flashback.)

        Ah, Jenny. You’re gonna make me tear up. Thank you for the kind words. It means so much to know that just being myself is enough. Now that was a progressive life lesson to learn. I now get how everything in life leads us to our present moment…the happy, tragic, terrifying and joyous. I’m glad to be on the mend as well, though a tad bummed since I’d mapped out how I was going to spend the extra time with my wicked smart, smoking cute neurologist. What? Nope, no shame. 😉

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  26. Such an inspiring post, Jenny. Health conditions have a crazy way of showing us how much we take for granted and how precious our wellness and daily lives—including the “little things,” are.

    Years ago my mom pointed out that I was busy joy-bringing to others, but lacked it myself. Since, I’ve learned the importance of my own happiness, both for myself and its impact on others. This is one reason I am taking half of the day off to have fun with my Macy’s gift card… I’m also bopping around to catch up with fab bloggers and posts like this.😉

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  27. Oh geez Jenny, I love you! So sorry to hear you were sick (again!) last last week. Get better Sweetness and stop lazing around. Haha. Don’t kill me because I’m funny.😉

    Took me long enough to get here… yeah I’m still working on that time chasing me thing.

    I have finally learned how to have joy in my life and it’s super fabulous. Bringing joy? Yep, I’ve got that one down. Peeps like you bring me joy every single day. Love you honey! Feel better for good, okay?

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