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100 things to do before you die

23 November, 2010

Have you noticed how every bookshop has shelves full of book advising you what you simply must do before you die? There’s: unforgettable places to see, unforgettable journeys to make, unforgettable walks to take, and even unforgettable places to have sex … before you die.

(By the way, why must they all be unforgettable? When you’re dead, the chances are you won’t have the ability to remember a single thing. But I digress…)

My question is: could we devise a more meaningful set of suggestions: 100 things to do so you know you’ve really lived”. My idea would be that the book would suggest experiences that would put readers in touch with their true humanity, their true selves, without buying into the belief that the only way to really feel alive is to hit the tourist trail, or even leave home: these should be things you can do wherever you are, and however rich or poor.

Here’s a few of my suggestions; can you add more?

  • look into the eyes of a good friend; really see the person they are; let your friend really see you;
  • cradle a new-born baby in your arms; let yourself be touched by his or her newness and inncence; you were like this – you still are like this inside;
  • on a day when it’s warm and there’s a strong wind, get close to trees; see how they bend and sway in the wind; feel the power of nature;
  • be with a dying person; let yourself really know that you, too, are dying; let this deep knowledge inform how you live from now one;
  • do a kindness to someone else, for no reason;
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