By Louis De Lauro
I am overdue for a Tattooed Buddha blog. So sorry. This is short and imperfect, but it might help somebody. It might make somebody ponder or smile. It recycles some familiar ideas, but we all agree it’s good to recycle.
Yep. I tell myself this at least two or three times a year.
“Next month I will be dead.” Even though I am not terminally ill and the truth is I don’t believe I will be dead next month, I still tell this to myself. I know it’s a bit morbid, but it’s a simple wake-up call that works for me.
The title of this blog is insensitive because some people are truly near death. I hope if any people who are near death read this piece they find the words below uplifting. I hope they feel my words are helpful to others who might live for many more years.
If I am a month away from death—or a year away—or lucky enough to live a long life, here is my new bucket list.
Aww crap, another bucket list blog is what a few Tattooed Buddha readers are thinking. I hate bucket list blogs. Bucket Lists and Bucket List Writers are narcissistic and dumb.
Hmm. Am I narcissistic and dumb? Yes and Yep, I think. And clearly, insensitive too.
Okay, I’ve got this. Sensitive, smart, and centered on you, here’s a bucket list of eight things to do before you die. Again, sorry for being so morbid.
1. Tell people they are important to you. Use the words in quotes exactly and tell everyone who needs to hear it. “You are important to me.”
2. Be gentle with yourself and others. Try it for one day. Then try a second day. I live in New Jersey. New Jersey people are kind and loving, but rarely gentle. If you are from Jersey, yes, I am talking to you. Be gentle. Kind words. Kind actions. Less drama. Less sarcasm. More empathy.
3. Ask the oldest person you know to tell you three life lessons that they think might help you. Listen to them and repeat what they say back to them. Then tell one person younger than you what you learned.
4. Hold every hug (with consent) eight seconds longer. Or maybe 38 seconds longer if necessary. If you are not a hugger, squeeze someone’s hand when you say goodbye to them.
5. Practice your instrument with passion. Or sing with passion. Or dance with passion. Or climb steps two at a time with passion. Give yourself a pep talk, and tell yourself it’s time to do things with a bit of passion. That 8-second hug (with consent) should be passionate. Squeeze that hand with passion, but be gentle. That’s not easy, I know.
Hey, we are both still alive. Cool! Let’s do three more of these.
6. Travel! But make it a short walk or maybe don’t leave your couch. Just sit still for a few minutes. And in your mind revisit all of the best places you have been. Maybe you have been to Rome. Try to remember what it felt like to be there. What did it sound and smell like? What did Rome taste like? Yum! What did you see that changed your world?
But if you haven’t been to Rome or Hawaii or even Topeka, Kansas, simply remember playing sports or games with your friends when you were kids. Remember bowling a strike at the bowling alley. Remember staring at the ocean or staring at the cows in the pasture. Remember small beautiful moments. Remember that day you played with a puppy. Remember that upside-down roller coaster ride from hell. Remember that book you read that lit up your mind. Remember places you forgot all about. Travel. Travel like this daily while you walk around your block or rest on your couch.
6 was long, let’s make 7 short and sweet.
7. Bring someone a sweet treat. I like gummy bears, hint, hint. Thank them for being sweet.
8. Read 1-7 again and now write 8. Heck, maybe write 9 and 10. Think clearly about what you are doing right and wrong. Do right. Avoid wrong.
I want you to know you are important to me, but more importantly, you are important to others. I hope you live a long, healthy life! When I meet you I hope to bring you some gummy bears or your favorite sweet treat and I will squeeze your hand when I say goodbye.
I plan on being alive next month. I will embrace this list. And I hope you embrace it too!
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