Last week I was having a leisurely walk around Kuala Lumpur during my short stop-over before I went back home. On my way to Little India coming from KL Sentral, I saw this post near a hotel:
As if my life realizations while in Bali and India were not enough, I was reminded once again of how fleeting my life is. I suddenly remembered what I wrote months ago on my Facebook page “10 Things You Should Do Before You Die.”
I want to share this again and this time with more explanation and examples too. Hope the list would help is reflect on how fleeting life is and how we should conduct ourselves.
1. Plant a tree.
We always her the importance of trees. As a Filipino it pains me to see a lot of our forest being denuded everyday but thanks to socially concerned companies and government agencies “Tree Planting” has become a norm and annual activity for a lot of them. Have you joined in one of these activities? I tell you there is so much fun when you roll up your sleeves and start getting your well-manicured hands dirty, placing that seedling on a small hole before putting back the soil that will nourish it. Ohh and btw don’t forget that not all tree planting activities are good. Especially when you plant a non-endemic tree like Mahogany (Read more about this: Dead Forest is Bohol). Also tree planting doesn’t stop there. We should do the necessarily steps to nourish it and until it becomes a mature tree.
If you haven’t or still want to plant, consider planting mangroves or instead of mahogany plant an endemic Molave.
And when your seedling becomes a full grown tree don’t forget to talk to it and give it a huggin’!
2. Memorize a poem.
Poems are eternal. So when you memorize a poem you bring this with you in eternity. Why not start with Joyce Kilmer’s
By doing so, you have something to recite while doing number 1. Or if you are the traveler type, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost would be a perfect fit. Or E.E. Cumming’s “Seeker of Truth” if you want it short and sweet.
3. Climb a mountain.
There is something about the mountain that only those who have seen the summit can experience. Time and time again man have been called to the mountains. And every mountain experience is no joke- the excitement during your preparation, the thrill of the trek, the cold of the night and the dew melting as the sun rises up, the calm of going down and camaraderie of friends.
Whether you are climbing Mt. Everest or Taal Volcano remember that when one is on the summit, he/she conquers not the mountain but himself/herself. Conquering oneself is tougher than conquering a mountain (actually it is foolish to think that someone conquers a mountain).
4. Make a pilgrimage.
I believe that all the major traditions of this world put an emphasis on making a pilgrimage. Christians want to see Jerusalem, Catholics visit Rome, Muslims’ fifth pillar of faith is to Mecca, Hindus bathe in the Ganges and Buddhists meditate at Bodh Gaya where Gautama obtained Enlightenment.
Common people love spending on physical needs- clothes, car and expensive coffee why not do something different. Spend something for your spiritual need- start saving for that Camino de Santiago trip you’ve always dreamed of. (I’m actually talking to myself)
5. Travel solo.
Traveling solo makes one vulnerable. What? I don’t want to be vulnerable! Vulnerability is actually a good thing- you begin to learn more about yourself- your weaknesses, pains, needs, frustrations and fears. Traveling solo is more of an inward journey. Traveling solo has taught me to trust strangers and that there is good in every human soul. I can’t learn this by watching a Youtube video or surfing Facebook the whole day. So if you have trust issue going solo flight is definitely for you. And when you come to know yourself you arrive back home a changed man. Ask everyone who has come from a solo journey and get some inspiration.
6. Defy gravity.
You can’t! Well just for a few seconds- do something that will blow your mind and charge those brain cells of yours- bungee jump, sky dive or maybe a hot air balloon. You know what I’m talking about. Something that of the movie “Bucketlist.” Do it now as you are younger now compared tomorrow.
7. Stand up for something.
Living for yourself alone is a unfulfilling and sad. Selfish. The truth is selfishness pervades so much in a society that is hungry for personal success and accumulation of wealth that you can’t bring with you when you die. So you want to follow the society’s norm? Never you say!
When you stand up for something, you begin to see your life connected to others. You might want to fight for the rights of the unborn, the malnourished, the 3rd sex, the handicaps, the poor, the tribes or even the endangered sea creatures. Whatever it is standing up for something is like saying to yourself that you care about others because others are connected with yourself.
8. Run a marathon.
There is nothing more fulfilling when you begin to understand the limits of your body. A 42km training improves your lifestyle- healthy and vibrant. No one runs a marathon without proper preparation. Running a marathon develops patience and self-discipline.
9. Forgive someone.
Forgiving should be easy when its seen like this, “When I harbor a grudge on someone I am just drinking a poison that will eventually kill my spirit.” And do you know that our world is overpopulated with people that harbors grudge. Day after day people are committing suicide- letting the pain kill them slowly. If you are that person start letting go and heal your spirit. Forgive you parents, your employer, your ex or your friend. Stop harming yourself and be free.
Someone said that, “Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free and realizing that the prisoner is you.”
10. Inspire a kid.
One of the truths I learned early in life is that all die. But “inspiration” that you pass on to someone can be there forever. It is so easy to put fear or control to a kid, try something harder like giving words of encouragement or telling your little brother, “You can do it!”
This is not to say that you limit yourself with 10 things. This is more of a personal list. I encourage you to make your own list- it doesn’t have to be 10, you can write 3 or 300 it’s up to you. What’s important is you fulfill the purpose of which you are here on earth.