Whats Your Bucket List?

I just finished watching The Bucket List, a Rob Reiner film featuring the brilliant veteran actors Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. Both play characters with cancer, who have a few months to live. So the idea of the “bucket list” comes about: a list of the things they’d want to do before they ‘kick the bucket’. It is really a philosophical question: what are the things you’d want to do if you knew you were dying?

Also, in the film, when Freeman’s character is told he has less than a year to live, his voice over says that they once conducted a survey where people were asked if they would want to know the exact day they would die. 96% answered “no”. I never loved surprises, but then again I’ve never been great with deadlines either. So I don’t know where I fit in with either demographic.

But I wonder now, if I did know the exact day of my death, what would I be doing right now? Would I do I always wanted to do? Would I say what I always wanted to say? And once those big philosophical questions are answered, what would I do, and what would I say?

This of course inspires more questions. Questions like why do the majority prefer not to know? Is it because of that fear that we won’t ever get to do the things we want to do, so why depress ourselves about it? Is it because we don’t know what to say, or to whom to say it, even if we had the chance? Is it because we’re scared of those two variables, more than the inevitability of death?

Every New Year I used to write these lists. Resolution lists. Of course, like most people, my resolutions never seem to work out. They usually last until February, if that.

But I figure now, maybe it’s because of two things.

One. There’s no great motivation other than the “desire to change” or “be different”. Arguably, death, or rather, the inevitability of an approaching date with death, is a much greater motivator.

Two. The lists are small apples. They include the best-of, standard, conventional things like losing weight, reading more books, learn a foreign language, try to travel more. There’s no grandness to it. Nothing like “experience something majestic” or “build a house” or “write a book” or “get a tattoo” or “create something in the world that people will remember you for”.

If I did get a tattoo it would read “Memento Mori”, latin for “Remember Death”.

Just to keep me focused. On what’s important.

Meanwhile, I think I have some writing to do.


  • I’d rather not know, and that’s why I’d pray it be a sudden death..
    But if I knew, I’d quit my temporary life over here and go home to die there.

  • Well, if I knew when I’m going to die, many things I will do (randomly):
    – Ask everyone I know to forgive me if I ever did anything wrong to them.
    – Pay all my debts (if any).
    – Do the most I can for my mother and pray for my father’s soul as much as I can (I already do, however, I could give it more dedication).
    – Ask our great god “Allah” to forgive all my sins.
    – Pray to our great god “Allah” as much as I can.
    – Ask our great god “Allah” to give me the gift of dying while praying.
    – Do as much good work as I can to our community.
    – Fast every day or at least every Monday and Thursday.
    I guess that’s the most important to me. Maybe I forgot some thing, but I won’t when this is real!!!

  • a conversation this morning …
    me: what!! you have cysts in your bones?
    him: ya so says the MRI, check it out
    me: (much later after googling bone cysts and stuff) ya3nni inta mawaat (as he is about to leave the house)
    him: yes.ma thalesh min el 3omor gad ma matha (a sentence i say or hear everyday my mental memento mori tattoo)
    me: you should clean your room then, and maybe up your life insurance so i can cash in, i’m still your beneficiary
    him: why would i worry about my room being clean when i die
    me: I’m not cleaning after your dead a$$
    him: well how about you clean THE HOUSE so you’re not dead when i come back home
    me: whaTeverrrrr 6ayeb yalla roo7 bye

    so this morning it was established that before anyone kicks the bucket in this house their room and earthly belongings should be clean organized sorted and spoken for (i kick it tomorrow my DSLR is my sister’s, she will take pics of my funeral playing “good riddance”). This is important stuff though it might sound silly. Think about it if people knew when they will die they will have no excuse for the mess they leave behind hence the 96%…
    p.s. it’s almost 4 am

  • 7aki: yeah, im familiar with that poem. the question is…what would you do after quiting your job?

    secratea: you wouldn’t want to do one memorable thing that you always wanted to do, before going home to die?

    awartany: a lot of people might have a similar list to yours, but while death might make someone like me think heavily about the afterlife, i would still be entranced by the dunya i’ve hardly seen. in other words, there must be a way to fulfill a life and an afterlife.

    maha: lol, it’s almost 4am and your excused 😀

  • OK here’s what I would LIKE to do cos you know usually plans don’t pan out:

    – After I quit my job I am not telling anybody but my husband that I am going to die because peoples sympathy might irritate me and my family’s sadness will depress me, cos life is too short, literally

    – I will take my Mom, brother, sister, husband and daughter on a vacation somewhere that is relaxing and spend fun time with them, soak up the fun and the sun and the food. Thailand most probably, I LOVED it and people are nice and cute and the food is out of this world.

    – Just get together with all the people I love.

    – Have as much fun as I can basically.

    – Oh, like that movie I watched once I can’t remember what it was, I would make tapes for my daughter to remember me by 🙂

    – So bottom line Naseem, it will be family and fun.

    But hey, wait a second, you didn’t tell us what YOU would do.

  • Okay guys…. why don’t you live your life as if you’re going to die any minute … live every moment…. never mind the cliche sounding words…but seriously, what is stopping you from living your life naturally and to the fullest? My many many experiences with death ranging from losing close friends in the most random sudden manner, close family members to illness, colleagues, friends of friends to passing by those shrines almost daily reminds me that I should always live each day as if it will be my last … that’s why I try my best to not miss any prayer…that’s why if I am utterly disappointed and outraged at a friend, I learned to let it go … that’s why if I call a friend and they don’t return my call, I don’t have a problem picking up the phone and trying again…that’s why if I am bitchy at times and I feel that I may have over-reacted, I don’t have a problem saying sorry… that’s why if I am convinced that, at the time, I am attracted to someone, I don’t have a problem initiating the ‘first move’ ….and that’s why every night, as I fall asleep I have a ‘ my day in review’ ….and that’s why I almost always don’t go to bed mad at anyone…and that’s why I treat myself to anything and everything I have in mind … even if I have 10 pairs of boots …

  • I’ve always wanted to have a child (a daughter is more preferable) before I kick the bucket, but if I know I’m dying even before ever achieving that, I’d just want to perform haj and die after going back home…
    And sa7, I second 7aki… you haven’t let us in on your bucket list 🙁

  • Iman: We don’t live it like we would like to live it because there are responsibilities that always hold us back. It would be nice to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted or buy myself anything I want whenever I wanted it but it’s just not possible.

  • 7aki Fadi: (that name is just so not fitting of you, since your 7aki is contrary to fadi ;d) I think we can still do it without having to compromise our responsibilities … a natural, balanced, fulfilling life is possible … we just have to try and not really hold back and waiting it out for the tomorrow that may never come!

  • 1.go skydiving
    2.parasailing over a clear blue ocean.
    3. go ziplining.
    4.go to new zealand.
    5. fly a plane
    6. learn how to do a back flip.
    7. climb a large mountain
    8. go camping with lindsey
    9.paint my room and do a good job
    10.hug a kangaroo in australia.
    11.get a puppy for christmas
    12.pet a monkey.
    13.learn the thriller dance with aj and katherine
    14.have jordan teach me to lond board
    15.ride an elephant in africa
    16.hug a lonesome person, in need.
    17.save someones life.
    18.give a poor person $100
    19.go to spain and italy
    20.go to whitecastle
    21.walk through a car wash
    22.paint myself black
    23.live on a beach
    24.ride a camel
    25.walk to cpk
    26.live to be 100
    27.be pimp at rugbee
    28.shoot a duck
    29.surf in hawaii and new hampshire
    30.go of a bike jump wit out fallin
    31.cook a egg on the sidewalk
    32.go on a roadtrip with karli
    33.make a diffrence
    34.be in 4 places at once
    35.kiss a turtle
    36.swim wit sharks and no get bitten
    37.adopt a kid
    38.go to panama
    39.donate blood
    40.be batman
    41.get a tatoo
    42.witness a miracle
    43.steal someone’s heart
    44.kiss in the rain
    45.run away from the right thing to do
    46.fall asleep on the beach
    47.buy something that i desire but can’t afford
    48.take the first step into something dramatic
    49.speak my mind to a strong extent
    50.swim in a fountain
    51.jump off of a waterfall
    52.let my curls show
    53.ride mr. freeze in six flags(texas)
    54.fly to greece
    55.run back for one more kiss
    56.sit on a cloud
    57.touch the sky
    58.lay in the street with no fears
    59.sit in a dark closet and laugh until i cry
    60.wear pearls
    61.be a hero
    62.help an elderly across the street
    63.create a friendship with the man that sits
    on the “green box”
    64.bake cookies for the elderly
    65.read to someone with eyes no longer able to
    66.read the bible and look in between the lines
    67.give flowers to a lonesome soul
    68.wave at a stranger and run to create conversation
    69.write a letter to a vip of the world
    70.go to the ellen degeneres show
    71.keep a live vegetable garden(maintain)
    72.shave someone’s head(with permission)
    73.fix a motor
    74.go on a trip with no luggage
    75.backpack in a foreign country
    76.run in a field of sunflowers
    78.dance in the rain with the man i love
    79.tell my father how much he really is my best friend
    80.sleep in till noon
    81.heard sheep
    82.dance in my underwear to bob segar
    83.go through a week of no time (no clocks)
    84.drive in the middle of the night to “his” window
    85.visit nana’s grave(eat cake & listen to bob marley)
    86.sing to a crowd of people
    87.fall asleep in the grass
    88.fire a sniper
    89.go to europe and eat”brownies”with robin
    90.buy a star in the sky
    91.wait for a sign

  • I just want to make a difference and help towards a benefit
    it doesn’t event have to be the cure or answer right away just knowing that im making the little step towards the answer like run a marathon for cancer or donate all of my life savings to the benifit of others before i die
    Im sixteen years old and i don’t look at like the way my friends do
    i see a jem that has a time and you have to show everyone how beautiful the jem is before it is gone
    you have to make every day worth living even if its with just the little stuff like making someones day or giving blood i just wanna make good of my jem and help anyone with theirs too.

Your Two Piasters: