Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Bucket List

When I was much younger, I remember staring into the darkness late at night thinking about death. The thought petrified me and it still does actually. One of its fears comes from not knowing what will happen after death. For religious people, the answer seems clear but what if you’re not?

Now, the fear has a lot to do with unfulfilled wishes. There are so many things I would like to do and basically, I am just not ready to die yet.

Many people firmly believe that when your days are numbered, nothing can change it. I am one of them. I’ve known several people in my life who have died in the most unexpected and inexplicable circumstances that it scares me to think that it could happen to me or my loved ones.

I had a childhood friend who was burnt to death while being locked in a bathroom that was set on fire by burglars. I knew this German girl who died in a car accident during her holiday in Australia. Another Spanish man who died in a fire in his hotel on holiday. My housemate in Kabul died of gas asphyxiation while he was sleeping and more recently another friend who was killed in a bus accident while she was travelling in Colombia. Tragic deaths which nobody saw coming, and yet they came.

Anyway, in order to expel all these morbid thoughts, I shall change the mood of the topic. I had a discussion with a friend last night. She told me that she is not afraid of death. I was shocked. It was not the first time I’ve heard someone said this but she surprised me because she is young, successful, happy and full of life.

I always thought that people who are ready to face death are either old because they have gone through life experiences and and they are at peace with themselves, or they are just miserable lonely people who hate life so much that there they have nothing to lose by being dead.

My friend told me that she is satisfied with her life and there is really nothing else she could ask for. I was not convinced and it was unfair of me to base my skepticism on my own life. After challenging her to a series of evaluative questions; what she has accomplished, so on and so forth, she stood firmly by her conviction that she is completely happy with her life that she is ready for death at any time; no regrets whatsoever.

I must say that this was a refreshing and pleasant revelation from my friend. I told her that I think she is the luckiest person I’ve known and in a way, I am envious of her.

I told her that I am so not ready and in a sense, perhaps I have too many expectations in life. If I know that I have just one more day to live, I wouldn’t know where to start. On top of my head, there are a few things and this may be the start to my own bucket list.

1) To make my parents proud,

2) To have such a huge impact on someone’s life that I will consider buying my parents a birthday card on my birthday  just to thank them for giving birth to me,

3) To feel dizzy with happiness,

4) To write a best selling book, which inspires millions of people and it becomes an Oscar winning movie,

5) To bring up a child who will become a good person and sees me as a role model,

6) To bring happiness, peace and love to someone,

7) To be a Nobel Peace Prize nominee (being a winner will be a bit too far-fetched),

8) To be known as a good person by those who know me,

9) To own a beach house by the Indian or Pacific Oceans,

10) To be in the Arctic with the polar bears.

So yes, I admit that I have too many expectations in life, but it does no harm to dream a little bit or a lot as I do. I think sometimes, it is good to have such unreasonable expectations because it gives you so many reasons to stay alive. The only thing is, when do dreams become a reality? Should I be content with just dreaming but never trying to achieve any of them? Perhaps, this may be the sole reason for my fear of death; dying without achieving anything in life.

So, I do encourage you to start your own bucket list and work towards at least one of them, so that when death comes knocking, you’ll be able to say, “No regrets!”

But if you are like my friend, then I wish to extend my most sincere congratulations to you.

P/s: If you have one more day to live, what would you like to do?


  1. ka ee,

    If I had one day to live, I would say good bye to every one, clear all the clutter at my home, make sure I do not leave anything embarrassing behind.

    Spend the last hours writing my own obituary, and preparing my own funeral. Wonder if anyone will come? Keke!

  2. Dear Meiyen,

    thanks for your input.

    You must be one of the most pragmatic person I've known!

    I guess I have been completely selfish that I never thought about my death being a burden to others; sorting out my funeral, etc.

    So, I'll keep this in mind. After all, the things you listed are way more achievable in 24 hours!

  3. wow. I'm so honoured.

    i have already told my mom to cremate me if i die so that the 'dispensing' cost is not high :o)

    if i have 24 hrs to live, i'll fly to italy.

  4. Wow, Italy sounds great. What would you do in Italy?

  5. to screw an italian stallion based on your advice.

  6. 888, I hope it will turn up to be a good advice in good time! :D

  7. i'll let you know when we meet in heaven