Things I Did Before I Died

Housecoat Diaries

One thing Iím glad to say I will have done before I died is to write a column about how ironic it is that the guy who wrote ď100 Things To Do Before You DieĒ died before he did all those thingsÖ

Now, I can tell you that I never needed a book to figure out that itís a really excellent idea to do a lot of cool things during the course of your life. But, at the same time, itís certainly a good thing to assist people with great ideas about living. Hell, it worked for Martha Stewart (kinda sorta).

Anyway, the guy who wrote the book about all the things you should do, well, he died by falling down at home and hitting his head. I remember reading in the paper not that long ago that falls at home are actually a larger cause of death than cancer. Thatís scary, and it makes me think that we should be looking at life with maybe a little less focus on the future, and more celebration of the past.

I think itís too intimidating to expect people to feel their life is lacking if they donít go land diving in Papua or eat pickled python testicles in Peru (actually, I made that up - I just liked the way it sounded). I think we need to take stock of what weíve already done, and spend a little more time regularly telling ourselves that if we didnít do anything more, weíd still have lived a damn good life.

Letís face it, as 20th century Canadians (a bit of a generalization, I know, butÖ), we already have it better than 99.99% of everybody who will ever live. Life may be far from perfect for many of us, but our realm of possibility at least exists, which is more than most humans can say.

Why not, then, take a moment to organize a list of interesting things youíve already done in whatever categories and sequences you want - best things youíve done that most people will never know about, embarrassing moments that actually turned out to shape you into a better person, all those little things that make you smile and then disappear as quickly as they came. Guess what? The life you always wanted, you may be actually living.

And take a moment now and then to compliment other people on things youíre really proud of them for having achieved. Sometimes, thereís just as much pleasure in seeing someone else accomplish something as there is in doing it yourself.

Here are 10 things I did before I died:

Went on a game show and won. Lived in another country. Went to Africa, Ireland (with my mom), and Churchill, Manitoba. Fell in love with more than one person. Planted more than 100,000 trees. Learned to play a musical instrument. Got a hole in one golfing with my dad on Fatherís Day with the clubs my dad bought me for my birthday. Wrote a book. Created my own job. Created jobs for others.

Not bad. Not bad at all. Oh, yeah. And I also made you smile.