Maybe I watch too much TV, but I've often asked what I would do if I were given a diagnosis of 6 months to 1 year to live. To me that makes you define your bucket list. Mine is truly macabre (although heartfelt) so I will only answer after others do . Hint: what do you care about most in life?
World Cruise on the QEII, and get the best cabin, Queens Deck. Get the pictures out, along with the WI-Fi, and hand write a note to all the fine people that have been so good to me! Remember Neil Young's song, "One of these Day's"? There would be much wonderful food and wine, and a whole lot of praying, primarily asking for forgiveness!
Since I am such a cat lover (yes, I happily admit to being one of 'those people'), I could never leave my beloved one for that long. But after my short Greek cruise (but absolutely wonderful), I would be ecstatic about taking another cruise, esp in the eastern Mediterranean (Greece and Turkey). Although three days was too short it was the most I could afford, and I absolutely needed to see Knossos on Crete, which few tour boats take you to. It was amazing.
Never been to Greece, but have never heard a bad word about the beauty there. My world cruise would take it in!
Last night I had a wonderful dinner at the best place to dine in Missouri, Tony's and the Manager was showing me pictures of Greece, fantastic! Ken, is a wonderful host and if you get to town, enjoy a meal there.
I'd liquidate all assets. I'd get a big (well big for me), bag of cash. I'd try to visit everyone that went out of there way to me nice to me and hand them a nice stack. They would be sworn to secrecy ( especially from the gov't ). I'd do that for five months. Then I'd take my wonderful wife and two great kids to Hawaii.
'What do you care about most in life'?
A great question to answer anytime, but certainly one to make sure is answered before time is up. Of course, most folks who get the news that there is six months left don't generally have a quality of life that lets them do 'whatever', but it does bring to bear what life legacy one would want to leave if they could.
Here's what I would do.......family is set (just the wife, no kids) because there is guaranteed monthly income for life created from my working days. So, that leaves...what do you do with the rest? Since I have such an affinity for animals (our three little dogs are our kids) I would build a new veterinary clinic (we don't have a good one here in FL like Tufts Animal Hospital in Boston where we used to live) with a day care and leave an endowment that would require a certain amount of free care be given on a yearly basis. Animals are totally dependent on the people who care for them (whereas people are free to make the choices they make). Animals, at least mine, give us unconditional love and never complain. What we do for them and with them IS their life. I want to, in some way, make a better life for those animals who don't have that quality of life for whatever reason (folks don't have the money to care for them, they treat their animals badly...whatever).
Sorry, I'm not in the camp of giving money to people who don't appreciate what it means and during my years of work it made me sick (but gave me a career) to see these second and third generations of family run businesses who thought that they were entitled to be rich and ruined the business (that's where I came in) because they didn't think they had to WORK to make the money they were getting from an earlier generation.
Anyway, that's what I'd do. I'll help those (and do now) who can't help themselves. The four legged ones can't help themselves. I do. Sorry for being long winded.
I'm with you -- in fact my will already specifies that my life insurance and TIAA CREF retirements funds are to be split between four animal groups -- Cornell Feline Center, Morris Animal Foundation, Best Friends, and my local humane society. There is nothing that makes me happier or smile more than seeing a happy animal!
That is such a great thing to do. My neighbor in FL is doing the same with a Vet Hospital in Texas. We have decided pretty much on the same direction. It truly is a great experience when I come home and have those 12 legs run to the door and start jumping up and down around me to give and get love and attention. I never get tired of it.
I once had a pet parrot that didn't like to fly (except when it got scared by the vacuum cleaner) and would walk everywhere. So when you say 12 legs, my mind went to: would that be 1 cat, 1 dog, 2 parrots? Or 2 cats and 1 penguin, or.... a centipede that had been in an accident and had to have 88 legs removed? Noah's Ark would have meant a lot of tough decisions for me . SS would be the first to say that I have proved that he is not the only space cadet (his words, I think) out here.
That's a great idea! Maybe you could consider setting up a fund for free spaying and neutering, to keep so many unwanted kittens, puppies, and the like, from being brought into environments where they are not wanted, and ending up suffering needlessly. You know me, Im not trying to stir up any political issues, it just breaks my heart when pets have to be put down because nobody wanted them and they just have a miserable life and ending
I already do it....and you're right...it's so sad to see pets put down in that manner. It's why we work with and support a 'no kill' shelter where we live now. It's also very gratifying to see when a pet we had a hand in saving gets adopted. Kinda makes ya sad to see 'em go though when they are adopted! But, it's a very happy occasion to know they're getting a good home.
You've hit that proverbial 'nail' on the head. There are far too many places where the money doesn't go to the real 'cause' for a multitude of reasons. The vet clinic I now use is strapped for cash to get better equipment because the owner has to take care of a significant others 'jewelry and shopping' habits, ergo, the profits are siphoned instead of re-invested for new stuff. So, the place survives on antiquated equipment. When an emergency arises, we have to go to Auburn, Alabama (a couple of hundred miles away). That's why, when I contribute to a situation, I get a call from one of three vets (other than the owner) and a specific descriptive and I fund exactly what the issue is for the entire benefit of the animal.....and I'm glad to do it.
I do the same, and there are now multiple ways you can check on charities online. The four in my will are all very well known to me and since I'm a regular donor I get their magazines, if applicable, which show how the money is spent. I love the parrot story!
Because my family (nuclear and extended) was so dysfunctional and most are now gone, I grew up with my cats and my books. Not much has changed, but I went through 2-1/2 husbands that totaled 18 years by 1993. My beloved Kitikat who died in 2009 was 18-1/2, and so that says something about love. I now am madly in love with my cat Leelee. (And I still have to read books a lot of the time.)
PS - And no, I won't answer the question that some of you might have about something I just wrote.
Up by Laconia! Nice country up there, just a little quiet this time of year. Winnipesaukee and Winnisquam (the lakes) are a beehive in the summertime. Roads get jammed to impassible. There's a big turkey farm restaurant and gift (trash and trinkets as I call them) shop in Meredith just north of where you are. Harts Turkey farm & restaurant. Always had great food but not sure if they're open this time of year.
Enjoy the area!
You bet she does, and she curls around my arms when I'm sleeping! The short, edited version of the 1/2 is that like the others he lasted 6 years and in his case we weren't officially married.
Yep, Maine and NH people are nice. Don't believe all that uptight nonsense you sometimes see portrayed on TV. While it takes forever to become a Mainer, it's a really nice place to live. Not to mention our lobsters...
I know your question is meant to be a serious introspection....but my immediate thought just happens to be the punchline of an old joke.
I would research to find the best doctors and all alternative treatments!
( I know from personal experience that a 3-month left diagnosis took place six full-quality life years after.) So I would enjoy each day but wouldn't deplete my money immediately because you just never know.
In terms of simplifying and travel (at least in some cases), I have my medieval church history students read a book on pilgrimage then do some sort of pilgrimage (it does not have to be religious) themselves. The main requirements are that for at least a short period, they go somewhere slightly outside of their comfort zone, take along no electronic devices (except maybe a camera to document parts of it), and practice a series of exercises that the particular book uses: e.g. listening and isolating every single sound you hear -- interesting to do on an airplane; forcing yourself to walk very slowly and observe everything around you; sit down on the ground somewhere outside in a natural setting for a few hours and stare at what is right underneath you ; and more. Some are more adventurous and do either a religious pilgrimage or something like a hike on parts of the Appalachian trail (one student took a whole year off from college and hiked the whole trail -- his idea, not mine -- then presented it as part of Religious Studies Honors' Project). Many think it's hokey when they start out but often come back with great stories (I only let them write it down when they are back).
I have done a number of pilgrimages myself (not including the travel/research trips to places I've always wanted to see), walking through large swathes of France and smaller parts of Spain. The more you get out of your comfort zone, the more amazing (albeit perhaps simple) the experiences become. Once in Figeac, France, I had exhausted my ability to walk and decided to take the bus to the next town. Since it was unclear to everyone I asked when the bus actually arrived and where, I got there about two hours earlier than the best guess. An elderly woman was sitting in a bus shelter on the opposite side of the road. She got her cane and came over and sat down to me and when she realized I spoke French, she started telling me the story of her life. (If this had been on an airplane, my reaction would have been entirely different.) So I listened as she told me that she had to take the bus to Figeac once a week to get her medications, but she didn't mind waiting 4 hours for the only return bus. I then learned her husband had died of cancer in the past year and she lived in a small apartment in a tiny village, but it was all she needed. She then said her son had moved to Paris and she didn't see much of him anymore, but instead of complaining she smiled and said that he had his life to live and in any case, young people 'today' like the big cities. She asked questions about me, and the two hours flew by. Her bus came first but before she crossed back, she held her hand against my cheek and said "vous êtes une femme de bon coeur" ("you are a kindhearted woman"), then was helped on the bus by the driver and waved to me till it was out of sight.
It was a small thing, really, but it was one of the great experiences of my pilgrimage because I felt blessed at having met her. I've had so many experiences (although very different) like that that it has changed my life over the past fifteen years.
Professor, have you read the French novel, The Elegance of the Hedgehog? Written by a Normandy Sociologist it tracks the lives of people who are both mundane and rich, especially a Concierge, the protagonist. It reveals that we have interesting live, and narratives about this. One of the values of travel is that we met very fascinating people everywhere we go, like the former Broadway singer dancer and actress now tending bar in Plantation FLA.
We have only to listen to these stories, and allow them to enrich our lives.
The kindness was all from the elderly woman -- we never even exchanged names. But we didn't need to.
I hope this doesn't come across as preachy (because I should be the last person in the world to do that), but I think that there is a real beauty in simplicity and in rejoicing in and appreciating what we have - rather than worrying about what we don't). Of course that's an over-generalization, and some situations are truly untenable. But I think I oddly have my parents, the ones who hated each other so much and finally divorced when they were both 75, to thank for that. Because of how things were, I got to live in books and feel the unconditional love of an animal. So despite no one else in my family ever having gone to college, my public school education and those books (while my cat sat lovingly or playfully on my lap) made all the difference. I also don't mean we can't aspire to more, but yet at the same time we should seize each moment to find a kernel of truth that speaks to us and changes us.
I had so many, many more wonderful experiences during those pilgrimages. Another was on a train (yes, my bodily aches and pains made sure they were not ALL walking experiences) between Lyon and St-Etienne then to the pilgrimage site of Le-Puy-en-Vélay. I boarded a car filled with high school soccer players. My immediate reaction was to change cars, but I didn't. As I mentioned, no one ever thinks I'm French except (thanks only to living there for extended periods) when I talk. So even though I was reading a French paper, I could understand everything that was being said about me. If you're a certain age (I was about 48 then) and blonde, most French people assume a woman traveling alone is American. So there were more than a few discussions about 'what I was' (I have come to love it when that happens in France because I always understand and now have more wisdom with age -- as well as some witty repartee). Then there was a discussion of American politics, American movies, etc. But the kids (all male) had been drinking, so I admit to having been nervous.
Finally, about 20 minutes in, after another "what nationality do you think she is," I turned around and said to the guy who asked "je suis américaine." SILENCE. DEADENING SILENCE.
They all suddenly became properly behaved teenaged French boys and addressed me as Madame and started talking to me. They asked me what I thought of different things, including France. We (trust me, I couldn't make this up if I tried) -- the rest of the team had gathered near their spokesperson, but I was no longer at all fearful -- then started talking about anything and everything, but I was always now, Madame, no longer 'what is she'. They were stunned that as an American I spoke French, but then all they wanted to talk about were things American (movies, music, entertainers, politics).
And then again the wave. Not in our football sense, but they all got off at St-Etienne, while I was continuing on. They actually stood there as a group and waved to me -- I was now alone in that car of the train.
I think if I have learned anything in my later life is to recognize what I would call moments of grace (or what a non-religious person would call a special or memorable moment). The elderly woman in Figeac was my favorite example, but having these slightly drunk soccer-playing teenagers turning into conversationalists and 'wavers' was another such moment, for they turned in a couple of seconds from a perceived (not real) threat into briefly-met friends. I had other such experiences in places like Lourdes, which I expected to hate (because of the over-glitz) but instead loved because of two other such situations.
That's why I am pretty much unafraid to go out there and experience things. I would rather really live (even though I do so as a hermit at home) than not take some chances, especially when traveling. There's always got to be good judgment and some trust involved, and had I sensed real danger I would have left that train car. But something was telling me they were just 'boys being boys.' (No offense to boys.)