My Chronic Illness Bucket List

A Goal is a Dream with a Plan and a Deadline

We all have dreams: things we want to do, places we’d like to go, people we’d like to become. Humanity has been gifted with the inordinate capacity to dream about becoming something more than they already are. People who deal with chronic illness share in this too. We’re not as discontent as we might sometimes feel; instead sometimes we’re simply wrestling with the craving to reach out and touch the stars, to experience life to the fullest.

Dreams are amazing. But if our lives are only spent dreaming and are not also spent doing, we will end our existence with a pile of regret. Anyone with chronic illness familiar with regret? Most of us are likely too cozy with this feeling. So this year, I challenge you to make a bucket list. You know, that list of dreams you want to accomplish before you “kick the bucket” and you no longer have the chance. Why not take a few minutes and think about what’s really important to you? (Can’t leave your bed? Check out my post about a bedside bucket list.)

Personally, I’ve always been quite goal oriented. It’s super important to me that people in my family, on my work team, and in my life are all headed in the same direction, working together to achieve the same goals. And every year I set personal goals. Some of them are short term desires, and a few are long-term dreams. I find what’s written down and reviewed regularly will receive a ton more attention that what’s simply floating around in my mind.

To be honest, though, I’ve never created a dream bucket list. I’ve had ideas of things that are important to me, but when I got sicker, I sort of stopped dreaming. And a bucket list seemed extravagant to me. For a while, I stopped doing too; I only had the energy to attend to the “must do” list. Certainly anyone with chronic illness can understand what that’s like. Some days, some weeks or some years are simply difficult, to say the least.

But now…now it’s time…time to fight for my dreams.

Today, I start my bucket list. I’m going big.

  • Item #1: Visit Paris. It’s always been my dream to visit France. Time to make a plan?
  • Item #2: Own a house on a lake. Well, at least on water. This one might happen soon. It might be a pond, but I’ll take it. It’s so exciting!
  • Item #3: Become a magazine editor. Wow. That one just happened. I’m the new editor for the Mastocytosis Chronicles. One edition down, lots more to go.
  • Item #4: I don’t know…

My personal assignment to myself: finish my bucket list. Dare to dream. Chronic illness is NOT an excuse for giving up on the human search for life at its fullest!