I started writing a bucket list of 100 things I want to have done before I’m on my deathbed. A hundred things to live for, to add to all the others that I’m sure I won’t think about until they happen.

It’s easy to start…

There are things that are easy to list — clichés from films that we want to become part of our reality, just like so many of the world’s population. Seeing the pyramids, celebrating New Year’s Eve on the other side of the world, test driving a racing car, taking a hot-air balloon ride or even kissing someone in the rain. Bucket list classics that never go out of fashion and that aren’t hard to realise.

Of course, everyone is different and once the clichés are out of the way your own dreams gradually come to the fore, attached to memories or childhood dreams. Sky dining, reading all Victor Hugo’s books (and why not…), spending the evening at a drive-in movie in an old convertible, owning a car from 1912 (the year the Titanic sank), and many others. But the further down my list I got, the more my disability started to challenge these ideas. Because going to the Venice Carnival seems fairly achievable. Crossing Mongolia on horseback, not so much (it’s not a mode of transport on which I’m very stable as a quadriplegic, even if I’m not fully quadriplegic).

So I start to ask myself whether I include wishes in my list which — today in a wheelchair — would be impossible to achieve. Do I have to limit my dreams, my slightly crazy goals, to my current physical state? Or can I let myself imagine all the things that could thrill me, taking the risk that it may never be possible for me?

My disability… over and over again!

If I decide to ignore my physical disability and write “explore an abandoned submerged city” or “walk across the rooftops of a city”, what does that mean? Sceptics will say that I’m giving myself false hope, that I’m fooling myself and that it may harm my mental health. Optimists will tend more towards the need to dream without boundaries, to have hope — an emotion that can move mountains.
Hope — simultaneously so powerful and so fragile, so life-saving and so dangerous. It seems to me that there are two possible solutions.

The first would be to finish my list without taking my wheelchair into account, giving free rein to my imagination and my desires, with no limits. This would let me put aside many “What ifs”, placing my trust in the future — the future of medicine, mechanics, and technology which might one day enable me to walk again — while being aware that disappointment could await me at the finish line.
The second would be to stick to today’s facts. What I am and what is. Of course, I could create a new list in case of a miracle. But I can’t help but find this slightly… pessimistic, and therefore the easy way out.

So maybe I just have to find a compromise…

So, what 100 things would be on your bucket list?


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