10 Things I Want To Achieve Before I Die

by Paul on June 12, 2012

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...]

{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

Meredith Gould June 12, 2012 at 2:14 am

I’m adopting your list.

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Fran Rossi Szpylczyn June 12, 2012 at 11:11 am

Me too, especially the first one!

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Paul June 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Fran,

Ah, yes, that first one’s a toughie, isn’t it?

Paul

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Paul June 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Meredith,

I can think of no higher honor.

Paul

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Lynda June 12, 2012 at 2:44 am

I agree with Meredith – this is a list of wisdom! And, of course, there is a lot of Ignatian Spirituality in the list.

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Paul June 12, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Lynda,

As usual, you are too kind.

Paul

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Simon June 12, 2012 at 6:23 am

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 :-)

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Paul June 12, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Simon,

Now, why didn’t I put Wales winning into my list? What an oversight!

Paul

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Tim June 12, 2012 at 9:27 am

Ditto to all, but going the way of Simon, I would like to see the Indians win the World Series :-)

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Lynda June 12, 2012 at 11:38 am

Tim and Simon, I will add that the Toronto Maple Leafs would win the Stanley Cup!

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Paul June 12, 2012 at 12:58 pm

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?

Paul

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Lynda June 12, 2012 at 1:33 pm

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!

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Tim June 12, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Paul,

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.”

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Maura June 12, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Tim
Have hope I think they used to tell that joke about the Red Sox too

claire June 12, 2012 at 9:49 am

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.

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Paul June 12, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Claire,

Good luck with #4. In the meantime, I love your “deepest dream.”

Paul

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Fran Rossi Szpylczyn June 12, 2012 at 11:12 am

Lots to think about here…

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Paul June 12, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Fran,

Glad to be of service.

Paul

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Katy June 12, 2012 at 11:30 am

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!

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Paul June 12, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Katy,

I’ll see your 20 and raise you 20!

Paul

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carol June 12, 2012 at 11:37 am

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

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Paul June 12, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Carol,

If you have trouble sleeping then, indeed, we do have a lot in common!

Paul

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annette June 12, 2012 at 11:58 am

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.

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Paul June 12, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Annette,

And if you get there with the yeast bread, I would like to eat some of it!

Paul

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Jim June 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm

I’ve got a heck of a recipe for a rustic Italian bread.

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Michelle June 12, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Jim — will you share?

I’ve got a family recipe for hard rolls and a recipe with local Jesuit roots for bread that I’d share, Annette!

The best part about learning to bake bread from my sons’ perspective is that eating the test batches is rarely a chore. Fresh bread with butter or jam or cheese is hard to beat, even when it’s not “perfect”!!

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annette June 12, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Jim and Michelle! Yes!! Let’s do…I have no idea why but there is something sacred to me about preparing yeast bread…the whole process I think would help me in my lack of patience with life sometimes. Will Paul let us share?? :)

I am salivating!

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Jim June 13, 2012 at 2:43 pm

I found my recipe on the internet, so I’ll just post the address and hope that’s not a problem:

http://www.cookography.com/2008/rustic-italian-bread

annette June 14, 2012 at 11:31 am

Thanks Jim!

Kathy June 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm

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.

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Lynda June 12, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Kathy, your friend, her family and you and your family are in my prayers.

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Michelle June 12, 2012 at 6:05 pm

My prayers, as well, Kathy, for you and for your friend and her family.

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Paul June 12, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Kathy,

I will remember your friend at Mass this evening.

Paul

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carol June 12, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Kathy, I am sorry for your loss.
Each of you will be remembered in my prayers.

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Simon June 13, 2012 at 11:48 am

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.

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Kathy June 13, 2012 at 1:07 pm

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.

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Jean June 12, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Father Paul, you spread joy with these posts that reaches far and wide!

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Paul June 12, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Jean,

You are too, too kind.

Paul

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Josephine Pace June 12, 2012 at 2:15 pm

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,

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Paul June 12, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Jo,

You sweetheart you!

Paul

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Meg Mannix June 12, 2012 at 2:47 pm

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.

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Paul June 12, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Meg,

Wow! A son who played for the US rugby team. I’m seriously impressed.

Paul

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Simon June 13, 2012 at 11:45 am

Meg, I fear we both may have a while to wait :-(

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thanush June 12, 2012 at 3:04 pm

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

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Paul June 12, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Thanush,

Happily, we all have a lot of work that we have to do together.

Paul

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Jim June 12, 2012 at 3:24 pm

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.)

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Paul June 12, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Jim,

Well said.

Paul

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Maura June 12, 2012 at 3:50 pm

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.

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Paul June 12, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Maura,

Lovely. Can I steal these for myself?

Paul

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Mike June 12, 2012 at 4:02 pm

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.

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Paul June 12, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Mike,

Yep. Woody has the answer, or at least the quip, for most situations we face.

Paul

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Michelle June 12, 2012 at 6:13 pm

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.

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Paul June 12, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Michelle,

“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.

Paul

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carl June 12, 2012 at 6:22 pm

1. Live very day.
2. Take my son fishing.

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Paul June 12, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Carl,

Congratulations on getting the list down to two key points.

Paul

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Maura June 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm

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.

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Emma June 12, 2012 at 7:30 pm

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 :)

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Lynda June 12, 2012 at 7:48 pm

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.

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annette June 13, 2012 at 12:28 am

Emma, you are such a love. There is a massive spiritual embrace coming your way….feel it?? :)

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Paul June 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Emma,

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.

Paul

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Emma June 13, 2012 at 6:20 pm

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. :) :) :)

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Monica June 12, 2012 at 9:14 pm

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

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Paul June 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Monica,

I am honored to have you share it with others.

Paul

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patrick June 12, 2012 at 9:37 pm

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

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Paul June 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Patrick,

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…

Paul

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Sasha June 12, 2012 at 9:39 pm

#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.

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Paul June 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Sasha,

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.

Paul

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Sasha June 13, 2012 at 6:10 pm

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.

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Denise J June 12, 2012 at 10:06 pm

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.

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Denise June 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I like the “banquet list.” It’s a better perspective on why we’re putting together a list, anyway.

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Michelle June 13, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I vote for banquet list, too!

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Paul June 13, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Denise,

Me, too. Banquet List is appropriate and delightful.

Paul

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Nancy June 13, 2012 at 6:07 pm

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

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Paul June 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Nancy,

No, thank you for adding to it!

Paul

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