10 Things I Want To Achieve Before I Die

Unlike some people, I don’t have an official “bucket list” of the places and things I want to do before I die.  But I did start thinking about things I’d like to get sorted out while I’m still breathing.  In no special order:

10.  Learn not to react strongly when I believe I am being slighted or treated badly.

9.  Believe ever more strongly in God’s love for me and for every single person on the planet.

8.  Never, ever judge another person.

7.  Become much more compassionate.

6.  Live each moment to its fullest.

5.  Listen to others with all my heart.

4.  Lose all worry and fear.

3. Take myself a lot less seriously — [related to #10, I guess].

2. Develop an ability to spread joy.

1. See myself more clearly as God sees me.

I’ll never get there, of course, but there’s no harm in trying, is there?

[Photograph, sadly, not of me…]


  1. Simon says

    Yes, to all of the above but especially 4 and 6. More frivolously though I would like to see Wales win the rugby union world cup too :-)

    • Paul says

      Tim, Simon & Lynda,

      I know all about identifying with one’s team but, really, you think if your team wins that you will have achieved something yourselves?


      • says

        Let me assure you that if the Leafs ever win the Stanley Cup, there will be many who will start believing that miracles can happen so perhaps there is a spiritual aspect in all of that!! You are right that I won’t have achieved anything myself except I will be able to participate in a great celebration!

        • Tim says


          To be clear, yes…if the Tribe were to win a World Series, I would be a witness to have seen the prayers answered of over 2 million native and transplanted Northeast Ohio sons and daughters, truly a miracle as Lynda mentioned above.

          Which reminds me of…

          Jesus had a conversation with God and asked, “Father, so many people keep praying to me for the Indians to win the World Series. What should I tell them?”

          God replied, “Tell them that the Indians will win the World Series, My Son… Just not in my lifetime.”

  2. says

    I like your list very much. #4 is so real to me. I will also make it my own and pray it. Thank you so much.
    My deepest dream (I think) is to learn to live every instant of my life, awake and asleep, in Godde’s presence.

  3. Katy says

    Numbers 10 and 9 resonate with me plus 12345678! Phew Fr Paul, you wrote MY list too!! I probably could add another 20 or so though!

  4. carol says

    We do all have a lot in common.
    I am printing this list off. This is so helpful
    #4 –if I could change these behaviors– I would get more sleep

  5. says

    I think if we focussed our energy on #1 and #9 the rest would fall into place.

    I would like to add, learn to make a really good yeast bread.

  6. Kathy says

    Thank you for this list. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I have just returned from RI from the funeral of my very very good friend who is also the mother of my daughter’s best friend. We have known each other since our girls were in preschool together. She was a second mom to my daughter and I to hers. She died suddenly of an aneurysm. She left behind her loving husband and two daughters. I am still in shock and missing her so much. The only thing that is a bright spot is that she lived with love, her faith, and enjoyed every moment with her family. Her life was cut so short, but heaven has gained an angel. Please pray for her family. Thank you.

    • Simon says

      Kathy, my prayers are with you and your friend’s family. I had a very close friend who died in similarly sudden circumstances a few years ago. The only way I could come to terms with it was by assuming that God felt his work here was done – and believe me he put in a full shift in the few years he was with us. God bless.

      • Kathy says

        Thank you all so much for your prayers and support and Paul for remembering her at mass. This online community means so much to me. All your kind words are such a comfort to me.
        Thank you and God Bless you all.

  7. Josephine Pace says

    As always so much to think about. This is my list as well. I would add letting go of resentment, and being more thankful for knowing good people for kn owing the pfos and especially you,

  8. Meg Mannix says

    At first I was expecting, “skydive, sail the Amazon…” but you quickly reassured me that this is a post to hold onto. A recipe for life, and one to pray with every morning and use as a tool for the Examen every night. Thank you.

    And Simon, my son played for the US rugby team, so I would want the eagles to win, someday.

  9. thanush says

    I thought I had #3 in control, but when I see it in relation with #10, I realize there is so much work to be done… thank you

  10. Jim says

    I was just listening to the reading about the most important commandments this morning – to love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your mind and all your strength, and to love your neighbors as you love yourself. That’s a list I can memorize, and a lot to think about all by itself. (Not to put down your list, Paul. It’s a very worthy list. It’s just that it strikes me that much of your list is an expression of those two commandments.)

  11. Maura says

    Worry less about what others think about me.

    Stop and ask the Holy Spirit for Guidance before answering other’s questions.

    Use my imagination to better place myself in other’s shoes

    Don’t over think the impulse to respond to other’s needs… just do it.

  12. says

    Yeah, they’re all good all right but at this stage in my life I agree with Woody Allen who said, I don’t mind dying as long as I’m not there.

  13. says

    As my teen-agers would say: Best. Bucket. List. Ever.

    I should print out this list and tack it behind my desk. I could use work on all these fronts…

    I used to look at houses when I was younger, and think, maybe when I’m older I’d like to live in a house like that one (old Victorian, on the cliffs, city apartment….). One day no so long ago I realized that the house I live in now, is the house I will likely live in under I return to the Father’s house. I had similar sense in reading Paul’s list. It made me more aware that I’m living in the life that I’ve got, rather than in the life I keep dreaming I might someday live.

    Desires versus daydreams.

    • Paul says


      “I’m living in the life that I’ve got, rather than in the life I keep dreaming I might someday live.” Such wisdom. Thank you.


    • Maura says

      Going Fishing is so wonderful. My husband does it randomly after work some nights and it is the best opportunity to catch Brian at an open stage to do some man talk.

  14. Emma says

    I would like to internalize the belief that “I have no control over outcomes.” You’d think that after lying in bed for weeks, recently pondering my own death that I would have done so. How very easy it is to forget that time. Most of my own obstacles arise from the belief that I have much more control over life than I do. I’m not talking about relinquishing choices, only control. I think most of our failings in relationships, our own anger comes from a need to control. I’d like to free fall through life.

    My second wish would be one heartfelt hug from each of my earthly parents. That being highly unlikely, I will share as many hugs with my own children as is humanly possible so that they never wish that they had had one heartfelt hug from me…………………………. Then, miracles do happen :)

    • says

      Emma, miracles do happen for sure. Each person is a blessing and I would ask you to accept a heartfelt hug over the net as you are certainly one of the blessings in my life.

    • Paul says


      Miracles do happen and perhaps in your case the best miracle is that you have a husband who loves you and a child whom you both can love.


      • Emma says

        That is a miracle! Funny how that turned out, huh? I was so hesitant to get married. Why? Because I didn’t want to lose control! Instead, I have gained my freedom!! Go figure. :) :) :)

  15. Monica says

    I love your list, and I agree with everyone it’s the best list to have, the list of wisdom. I’m resharing it. :)

  16. patrick says

    Hmmm. Looks to me like the Beautitudes restated in a modern framework. Thanks, Paul, for something more clear to work toward.

    • Paul says


      Zikes! I would never claim to have tried to restate anything as important as the Beatitudes. I’m just a simple Irish farm boy out here on the vast American prairies…


  17. Sasha says

    #8 resonates with me… I’m so far from it, but I know God can create in me what I cannot.

    Actually, for me anything I could think to put on my list could be summed up in two words: be grateful.

    • Paul says


      Tell me about it! How did I get to be so judgmental? What gives me the right? And yet it is so deeply ingrained in me. Let’s fight the tendency to judge together.


      • Sasha says

        I would love to! I was just talking to our priest about this yesterday… how easy it is to love the materially poor, and how hard it is to love the spiritually poor. That’s where my greatest judgements lie.

  18. Denise J says

    I love the idea of a “bucket list” that is not about acquiring and things and experiences — but about being and becoming.

    Maybe you should come up with a differnt name for this kind of list — based on something more meaningful than “kicking the bucket.”

    A banquet list? (Something to get done before we’re invited to the heavenly banquet? And something to talk about once we get there?)

    Meh. I bet other PFOers can come up with something better than that.

    Anyway — let me go get to work on coming up with one, now.

  19. Nancy says

    Beautiful list.
    My only addition would be – have I forgiven myself and others today?
    Thank you for this post.

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