Ever since I received the happy results of “no malignancy found” from my June 8 bronchoscopy, I’ve been walking around feeling like I’ve won the lottery. Rather than winning piles of cash, I’ve won time I didn’t know I was going to have. Just as lottery jackpots come in finite amounts, it seems to me that the time I have left feeling healthy and energetic is also limited. Unlike winning cash, one can’t gauge how much time one has left by checking an online bank statement. The balance listed on my imaginary “healthy time” statement may be followed by weeks, months or even years. Whatever that figure might be, I don’t want to just blow through it and be left with nothing to show.
In the spirit of this, I’ve made a list. Rather than a traditional “bucket” list, I call this my “what it takes to make me happy” list:
- Making a point of hanging with friends who emotionally reciprocate; with whom it’s safe to share and who choose to to share their feelings and experiences.
- Being kind, honest and helpful.
- Walking away emotionally from angry, negative people rather than trying to fix them.
- Learning about other cultures, both contemporary and historic.
- Being a fair, tactful but frank mentor to my staff.
- Documenting beauty; through writing, photography and art.
- Refusing to run away from uncomfortable feelings or memories, yet also refusing to become stuck in them.
- Learning to accept people as they are, not as I want them to be.
- Refraining from self-righteousness and judgmental thinking; focusing on how I can be better not how others should be better.
- Really listening.
- Slowing down enough to enjoy the details of every day living.
- Taking delight in my wife and family.
- Giving back to the universe.