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A million things to do before you die




Daydream By Diana G. Mendoza

Manila—If you were to die tomorrow, what would you wish you could do? This a strange question to ask at the start of the New Year, but I’ve seen this question multiple times when people share “resolutions” at the beginning of the year.

In more than a decade, the enumeration of things to do to make life better and happier has morphed into the “bucket list” and its myriad listings of books to read, places to visit and other stuff to do before you die.


One day, as I was drifting and meandering with friends at Christmas as there were a few days left to 2023, we ventured into thinking serious and outrageous thoughts about what to do next as the new year was about to unfold.


It turned profound and humorous with the rush to think of what to do if one has so little time left, such as dying tomorrow.


A friend who was about to fly to another country said she will do just that – leave a familiar place and journey to a strange one – even if, often in her travels, the many places she has visited have become her refuge. She said she wouldn’t mind passing on in any of these places.


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Another friend said he will have that infinity tattoo; another said he will finish his master’s degree. Other friends are “quitting.” One said he will finally leave Twitter and another said she will give up her dream job.


Then there’s this friend who instead suggested her death row menu of all the things she would want to eat in case she is about to be executed. To which a friend replied she will have sweet yellow mango and popcorn.


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And, in place of a bucket list –and this is jumping farther since we’re talking of dying—there’s also a list of what we want to be in another life, with one friend saying she will be an assassin a’la-Nikita; one wants to be a mermaid; while another, a stripper.


The thing about not being in your 20s and 30s anymore is that we can create ideas and go over experiences we wish existed if there was a need to start a new life or continue with the current one. We have past versions of ourselves that didn’t know any better, but we are happy with the things that we know now.


I discovered that asking questions about life adds happiness and— no matter how cliché it may be— meaning to life.


What have you always wanted to do but have not done yet? Or what experiences would you like to feel again?


So here goes – just a few of the things I want to do and stuff I will do again: I want to walk under falling snow, skydive, deep sea dive, climb a tree with my slingshot hung around my neck, and continue to love walking. And, if time will no longer permit, in my next life, I will be a criminal profiler by night and a panda cuddler by day. I will also remind myself to always choose to be awesome.


Diana G. Mendoza is a longtime journalist based in Manila. Send feedback to soltera2040@gmail.com.


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