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  • What is on YOUR bucket list?

    Posted by Charlene Marshall on May 9, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Even before I was even diagnosed with my life-threatening illness (IPF), I was a big believer in keeping a bucket list!

    What is a bucket list
    , you might ask? Well by definition a bucket list is identifying experiences or achievements that someone hopes to have or accomplish in their lifetime (thanks Google!). Some people, like me, physically write down their bucket list ideas, while others keep note mentally of the things and experiences they want to have someday. I’ve always loved the concept of a bucket list, although I’m not sure why. That said, the idea of keeping one seems that much more important to me now that my life has the real potential to be cut short due to my illness.

    Not only do I keep a bucket list, and actively add, cross-off, change and try my best to achieve the tasks on it; I also love hearing from others about what their bucket list items are! I think I am so passionate about keeping a bucket list, and find it so interesting, because everyone’s list can be so very different and unique.

    I am genuinely interested in hearing from the members of our wonderful forums: What is on your bucket list? Have you achieved anything on your bucket list that you are particularly proud of? Please share!

    I think one of the things I am most proud of that I have already achieved off my bucket list was climbing to the peak of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia. This was an incredible experience, and allowed me to see a full 360-view of the Sydney Harbour, which was stunning! Having done it just before my IPF diagnosis (although I didn’t know I had this disease yet) now makes me cherish the experience even more.

    If you’re interested in reading more about my particular time-sensitive bucket list, please feel free to read below.



    When talking to others about things they would like to do someday, it is common to hear people respond with, “That’s on my bucket list.” Whether it’s traveling around the world, seeking adventure in another country, or trying a daredevil-type activity such as skydiving or bungee jumping, people often have certain things reserved for their bucket lists. Some of those things may be easily obtainable, while others may be once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.


    What I think is neat about bucket lists is that they are all unique, customized to the person holding the list. No items are too large or too small.


    I have had a bucket list since I was a teenager, usually adding things to it as I travel throughout life and learn about new opportunities. I often share this with people, and they are surprised that I have an actual bucket list where I have been checking off items, as opposed to it just being a common response to people when we are talking about activities we’d like to do someday.


    Although I am glad that I have had a bucket list for a number of years, I feel the importance of it now more than ever since my diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). If you are reading this column, you likely know that IPF is fatal without a lung transplant, and the prognosis of those diagnosed with it is around 1,500 days.


    Stating this is not to evoke sympathy, nor is it to scare those new to this disease. However, these statistics certainly highlight the importance to me of achieving things I have always wanted to do. Now more than ever, it seems that my bucket list is important and time-sensitive.


    Instead of leaving items to achieve “someday,” I am actively trying to cross them off my bucket list regularly. These do not have to be large, exuberant items. Many are normal things with special people. For now, visiting the many destinations on my bucket list by traveling is off the table because of my health. But I know it might not always be this way. Therefore, the focus of my bucket list items is definitely about quality vs. quantity right now, and I am OK with that.


    I was talking to a colleague about my bucket list recently, and she made a good suggestion that left me thinking about the things I want to achieve while my IPF is relatively stable. Instead of a bucket list filled with many items, she told me she divided her list up into decades: what she wanted to achieve in her 30s, 40s, etc.


    And she called them just that, her “30s list.” Items that she didn’t achieve in that decade she moved to her 40s list, recognizing that she still had time to complete what she didn’t get to in her 30s. I love this idea, but my fear is that I will not be awarded that time due to IPF.


    As I approach my 30th birthday this year, I have been thinking of identifying the quality things on my bucket list that I can do with my current abilities and of focusing on achieving the items that are most important to me. I wanted to share some of those things with you, and write them out so that I can be held accountable for achieving them:


    – Take a drive up north with friends to see the spectacular colors of the leaves in fall.
    – Pumpkin picking!
    – Cutting down my own real Christmas tree and decorating it in my new house.
    – Celebrating my 30th birthday in New York City this winter.
    – Taking a drive to see Christmas lights and decorations on homes and parks around the city.
    – Watching my puppy play in the snow for the first time this year. She is hilarious at the beginning of every winter and the first snowfall of the year.
    – Revisiting my desire to learn how to play the guitar and practicing it more often.


    Just for fun, some of the grander items on my bucket list include:


    – Visiting the Maldives and staying in one of their ocean villas.
    – Returning to Australia to visit friends who have become like family, and snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef before it dies.
    – Riding on the Nevis Swing, which is the world’s biggest swing, in New Zealand.

    What are the items on your bucket list? It brings me comfort to review these things and happiness at the thought of achieving them. If you don’t have a bucket list, I’d highly encourage you to start one. Thanks for reading!

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