What are the top 5 things you’ll miss when you’re gone and how can you enjoy them before it’s too late?
Recent events in the world have left me rather dazed. From the shocking terrorist attacks in France, Belgium, Turkey and the US, to the out-of-the-blue earthquake in Italy, to the early deaths of cystic fibrosis (CF)* friends around the world, to hearing of the terminal illnesses of our friends’ loved ones, the sad death of my friend Rowena Kincaid, to chatting to a dear friend who tragically lost her husband early in their marriage.
This has made me reflect on the poor people afflicted and the knock-on effect on all their extended family and friends. It also reminded me that we don’t know and can’t predict the year, month, day, hour and minute that we will die ourselves.
It’s left me feeling ever more convinced by my desire to live every day like’s it my last – this has mainly been forged by a lifetime of surviving the chronic illness CF and Type 1 Diabetes and its daily challenges and extensive medication.
I’ve pondered upon the elixir of life and have distilled the main things which I would miss when my time is up. I reference them below with recent examples of how I appreciate them ‘in the moment’ so I will hopefully have less regrets.
Tim’s Miss List:
1. Partner / Children (Wife and Son)
– Pleasurable meal with my wife Katie in our favourite restaurant in Wimbledon Village (The Lighthouse) and the ubiquitous Face Book selfie!
– The pride of watching my son Felix get up from a fall on his bike and carry on cycling.
– The drinks Katie and I shared in the late afternoon sun on the gorgeous lawn of a lovely East Sussex hotel to celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary.
– The one thing most children want the most from a parent is your ‘time’. I have enjoyed some precious times with Felix this summer. In particular, a game of Top Trumps ‘Piece of Cake!’ (comparing cakes from around the world) was not only fun but made us both desperate for some Victoria Sponge!
– Being there with my wonderful mum for dinner on the eve of and morning of her June birthday.
– Every conversation (F2F, phone call or text) with my two brothers Chris and Jez. Especially sharing an Isle of Wight holiday memory and banter from our last family holiday about 30 years ago!
– Taking time out from our holiday in Greece to look out to sea and have a ‘catch-up chat’ with my late father, who I miss every day.
– Having some beers and laughing uncontrollably with my long-term hockey friends in the marquee at the Olympic Park in London while biblical rain halted the international hockey match we were supposed to be watching!
– Sending my most heart-felt wishes to Jerry Cahill, American CF legend, on the wonderful event of his 60th birthday.
– Putting into practice Maya Angelou’s wise counsel – “Be a rainbow in somebody’s cloud” – by helping friends and work colleagues in their hours of need.
4. Nature / Wildlife
– Being transfixed by two birds of prey majestically hovering overhead looking for lunch in my local park.
– Witnessing a sustained summer thunder and lightning storm (surely nature’s purest orchestra) from my bedroom window.
– Feeling hypnotised by the curious flights of fancy of a squadron of Swifts flying high to catch insects.
– Viewing a shaft of sunlight on the sea from the coastline in Lanzarote which looked like a gigantic green pond leaf in the middle of the ocean (see painting by John Brett of a similar image back in the 19th Century).
5. Contentment (Happiness / Joy of life / Living in the moment)
– Watching and celebrating with Felix England’s 3-0 series rugby union win over Australia!
– The last moments of sun on my face on a warm day before the pure relaxation of an evening drink and dinner.
– The sheer elation of having an invigorating session at the gym!
– The smell and glow of the local milieu while going for a jog following a rain shower on a sunny day!
– Combing my gorgeous ginger cat Charlie on our garden lawn. A mutual win-win; I find it therapeutic and he’s in ecstasy!
Living the list
I hope my Miss List and examples have been of interest. Do you have a similar list or something different? Do you ‘live your list’ rather than leave it too late?
I will keep you posted on my life-affirming moments, trials and tribulations as and when they happen. Please keep reading and sharing my blog and sign-up (on the right hand side tab) if you have not already done so.
Yours cup half full.
Tim Wotton (author of Award-Winning CF Memoir ‘How have I cheated death?’)
This blog is dedicated to the beautiful and effervescent Rowena Kincaid, who I met in 2015 when she interviewed me for her BBC documentary about Bucket Lists. Two hours in her sparkling company lasted a lifetime – I won’t forget you dear Rowie. Rest in Peace.
* Cystic Fibrosis is one of the UK’s most common life threatening inherited diseases, affecting over 10,000 people. The condition affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus. This makes it hard to breathe and digest food. Each week, five babies are born with the condition, however, each week, three young lives are also lost to it. There is currently no cure for CF. However, existing gene therapy trials in the UK are bringing people with the illness closer to a form of cure but CF is not that well known and would benefit from more public donations. For more information and to find out more view the CF Trust Website.