John Steinbeck once wrote, “It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure on the world."
I am fatalistic. Or at least, I think I am.
I like to imagine the various ways I would die. Sometimes when I lie in bed at night, staring at the plain white ceiling, I can even see my soul hovering over me - looking down at ME - looking up at my soul. It's freaking eerie.
Heck. I even have a grand plan for my funeral.
Then I start ticking off the things I have done in my life. Things I have not done. Things I should have done. Things I must do.
Sometimes the list changes - depending on what I am going through at that point in my life. But it does not differ too much from this not-so-exhaustive list. Unlike Suspicious Bastard - I don't wish to be God. It just takes the fun out of everything because being God gives you absolute power to do whatever you want.
Then what's the point of having a wish list?
The sado-masochistic streak in me love the long, agonizing, torturous process of getting what I want - so that I can ultimately die a truly gratifying death.
After staring at that ceiling for quite some many years, I figured I can finally settle for this list (for now at least).
10. Visit Jerusalem. I'd see it as the most humbling experience of my life to retrace the final steps which Jesus had taken before his crucification - on the rugged stones of this ancient city .
09. Write Memoirs of My Freaking Life - Vols. I - III. Trilogies and beyond get readers hooked as proven by Rowling's Harry Potter series, Tolkien's Lord of the Rings epics and the most recent James Lee's Mr Midnight teenage horror trash. It's about time to exhume those skeletons in my closets...
08. Publish A Magazine. I ought to do this before they hammer the final nail into my coffin. I figured a magazine not only fulfils my insatiable appetite to write, it offers a channel for the remarkable writers that I know a chance to pen their works too. Another dream? Possibly....but not entirely impossible, is it? Success comes to those who dares to dream, or so I was told.
07. Chill out in Maldives. Appallingly extravagant but absolutely de rigueur. The magnificent sapphire, glistening bed of waters beckons to me, and stirs up a yearning so deep that I can almost taste the sea on my lips.
06. Teach. Something I have always wanted to do. The kids I have taught in the past awakened a part of me I never thought existed. They are always eager to please. Perpetually attention seeking. Their innocence sometimes almost makes me feel guilty about being an adult. If I can choose to make a difference, I would like to make a difference in their lives.
05. Volunteer. Too often, I convince myself I have much more important work to do. I have been greatly blessed and have yet to pass these blessings along to someone else who needs it more. There's no excuse and there shouldn't be any. For I have eyes, but yet my heart's blind.
04. Keep a pet. A dog preferably - I prefer wagging tails to feline claws anytime. It will probably be my only best buddy left when my human companions are snugly six feet under.
03. Backpack. That means to explore the world with the clothes on my back, stake out budget hotels, snare cheap exotic buys and make new friends on my travels. How about a travel blog to immortalize those breathtaking landscapes and grandiose infrastructures, and record unique happenings, if any?
02. Aging gracefully. The worst thing about growing old is watching yourself waste away. Nothing can be more depressing than to allow yourself to decay physically, and meekly accept the inevitable deterioration of the spotless mind. The best revenge against the sands of time is to age beautifully - by living an unconventional life, honing our skills, developing life's wisdom, enhancing our body, mind and soul - and most of all, continuing to believe in love.
01. Complete the Bible. There's a reason why this book is the bestseller of all time.
Fiction has it that the moment before you die, your life is played back in 8x rewind speed. History cackled to live and in those flashbacks, you'd wish there are some things you haven't done, and some that you have. If only there is a formula to determine when our time will come. Then we can plan on a timeline the stuff we need to get done before the "deadline" (no pun intended).
Death rolls out no red carpet for anyone but rather - wields a cold, menacing scythe over your head like an impending thunderstorm. I could never dictate when I am going, but I can decide what I want to do before that.
With this list, I am hoping that when my life is being rewound, I would not feel that stabbing pang of guilt which eats into you and makes you feel you have just wasted your time on earth.
I'd say, weave your own red carpet - so that when you hit that rewind button, there will be no regrets.