I am a girl who loves a good list and had a bucket list until someone I knew wrote of living lists while she battled terminal cancer.

As this friend valiantly fought to make memories for her young children who were being left behind, she talked of not being caught up in marking things off lists just for the sake of doing it. Kara fought to live a meaningful life while dying in her last years. 

The post snagged my attention because I have a list, and I love marking things off it. I am a girl who loves lists. 

My list started after Mom got sick.

As I watched my amazing 50-something mother slowly become unable to do the things she loved and wanted to do, I began to look at my own life. I’ve always had a bit of fear lurking around in the dark corners of my life. Fear of failure, success, or living the wrong life. Fear held me back through the years from truly living and experiencing life.

If my mother had fears in my formative years, she never let on about them. As an adult, she revealed one of the fears she fought against. She didn’t let it stop her; she lived as it came and worked through it. She loved and nurtured us and continued to be there for us.

I want to be that kind of a woman.

When Mom got sick, I began to make lists that some people would call bucket lists. I’ve never liked the term. A bucket list is about everything you want to do before you die. My list focuses on everything I want to do as I live.

I like to think of my list as the Living List—these are the things I want to do to live my life to the fullest and not just eke my way through it.

My list encompasses great things like visiting Paris and climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower. It includes little things like learning to use seasonings in my cooking so that Dad will enjoy the meals I make for us. It’s about all those things that ensure I live and impact others while on this journey.

At the end of my life, if I haven’t seen the world from the top of the Eiffel Tower, I don’t want to know that fear held me back, but there was just too much living going on to get there.

Basically, it’s not about having people look at me and say, “Gosh, Tammie has a great list, and she does amazing things.” It’s more that I want to get down to the end of my life, whenever that may be, and say, “I lived, loved, experienced this world, and I made a difference.”

I loved reading Kara’s blog because she was genuine and honest. Cancer didn’t beat her; it made her a better version of herself. She didn’t have a list; she focused on living life to the fullest in the time she had. That’s what I want to do.

Let’s chat: What would be on your living list?


Image by Towfiqu Barbhuiya