If you’ve been given 6 months to live, what would be your next steps?
Recently I had been listening to a podcast on a health food summit that brought up this very question. The woman being interviewed had been diagnosed with stage IV epithelioid hemangioendothelioma cancer affecting her liver and her lungs…fifteen years ago. There is no cure, but fifteen years after the diagnosis she is now an author and advocate for healthy eating, healthy relationships and healthy living. She has a right to ask this question. At one point she had to answer it for herself.
As an advocate of bucket lists and chasing those deeply held dreams we stuff away and lose track of, this interview gripped my heart. After all, I wrote and published a stinkin’ book about this very subject (Life Before the Lottery: Living Beyond the Bucket List). Mulling over this subject matter once again, I loved the raw questions this interviewee asked her listeners.
If you were given six months to live…
- Who would be the first person you tell?
- How would you spend your time and what things would you do?
- Who would you open and share your heart with?
- Who would you spend time with?
- Who would you not spend time with?
- What would be your “must do’s?”
- What are the memories that still need to be made?
- What are the words that still need to be said?
Today I had the opportunity to visit an annual health fair put on by the county that offers affordable blood work and health testing for less than most people pay for a copay that would normally cost thousands of dollars if done in a regular doctor’s office or medical facility. My family’s been attending these public health fairs for years and it’s been fun to have an ongoing track record of numbers as talking points for when I do see my doctor (which thankfully, isn’t very often.) As the tech was drawing my blood, I sat there and pondered this exact question. In this exact moment everything is fine. I am blessed and healthy. But what if this test comes back and tells me I’m not? I know people who have gone through this very scenario and are living out this exact nightmare. I also know some dear hearts who have lost their battles and no longer have to fight the hurt and pain of this world.
These are the questions we don’t want to think about but these are the very questions that matter. With pen to paper, I intend to revisit my Next List with a vengeance and with gusto. Chances are these tests will be fine, but if for some reason they are not, I’m already armed. I’ve got my bucket list armor on, my heart wide open trusting God for whatever’s next in my story and my arms stretched ready for hugs and high fives. Life is short friends.
Let’s do this thing called life together.
Ashlee Bratton – author of the book “Life Before The Lottery: Living Beyond The Bucket” is a professional photographer, freelance writer, and (when she has to be) a speaker-of-the-tough stuff with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and master’s degree in business administration.
Along with completing 29 of the 30 things on her 30×30 bucket list, her writing contributions include numerous publications such as Vail’s EAT magazine, creating a 56 page Visitor Guide for a mountain ski town, blogging and guest blogging, being featured in multiple newspapers and e-zines, and various other projects.
Currently, she keeps her camera in hand in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, is a complete and total foodie, and takes plane rides for fun. She likes things that go.