To have a bucket list as an Autoimmuner, you need to have several personality traits. Unlike a healthy person, we have serious limitations that dictate the ability to complete the list. More so than ability, personality dictates who accomplishes this. Just the challenges of being sick and living life require someone who is basically a stubborn horses arse. I am that arse. So here is my big Na’ smaoinigh fui’oll feisthe a dhe’anamh di’omsa to Autoimmune Arthritis!
Autoimmune arthritis presents a very unique challenge to the notion of a bucket list! We are all at different physical levels and disease severity. Unlike a healthy person, we don’t have the ability to do EVERYTHING. Some get to climb mountains (Jeff G. – Google him!), but a good many of us are past that point in our disease. That is the one thing I truly miss, and know I won’t ever get that back. As a kid, I used to rock climb and lived an athletic, outdoor existence. But, if I focus on this one desire, I won’t get anywhere but depressed! So we have to focus on what we can do. I still have a good bit of physical ability. I am walking (though xrays show I should not be able to), but have a botched knee PKR and ACL reconstruct. Eventually, I will have to get a TKR to fix it, but now it not the time. I feel like I just recovered from the PKR. So my mobility is flat, slow, and short distance. We also have to consider flares and medication. Some medicines keep us very close to home, and some even make the disability greater. Anything we do, must be flexible to accomodate our illnesses. Even with these limitations, there are tons of things I can do! Fortunately, I am a nerd with no attention span, so I find all sorts of things fascinating.
Now that I have stabilized a bit, time to get on with living life! I never created a bucket list because there were so many things I would love to do, that I could never accomplish them! My philosophy is this: what ever comes my way, take the opportunity. It may never come again! However, these are things I would certainly like to do in this life!
- Visit Machu Picchu. I don’t know why, but I really want to see this! However, I think this opportunity may have passed. This is the one I will jump at if I ever get a chance. This would totally be worth the flare and damage!
- Learn a dying or dead language. I have always had a fascination with ancient cultures. Wouldn’t it be cool to learn a heritage language or one that few people know about? Even better, wouldn’t you love to mess with telemarketers by speaking a language they have no translator for?
- See all 50 states. I am actually pretty far into this! As a kid, my Mum was a travel agent; so we traveled! I have also lived in 3 states, and 2 countries – so that helps! I got to see all those neat, free, historical sites all over the east coast and southern border! Last count, I am on 32! Only 18 more to see! The great thing about this one, is it can be done in bite size chunks. I can travel then recover.
- A heritage tour. I would love to see the homes of my ancestors, and my birthplace. It spans 3 countries, but would be really awesome to see. My family has always been steeped with genealogy, so I am thankful to know a lot of our history. This again would most likely make me sick – they all will really – but I would really cherish this experience and memory.
- Do a zipline. I can’t skydive, so this is my next best option. Since my small bones in both hands and feet are hollow, no high impact anything! This will have to do for this life!
- Read the Tibetan Book of the Dead. I have been fascinated by the Buddhist philosophy and this is something that I would love to explore. In the past, all life was seen as cyclical and that is where I tend to lean. It definitely helps me cope with the things I CAN’T do a lot better!
- Learn as much about my new home state as possible. Just because it is local and something I can do in segments!
So that sounds like a good list! I will edit it occasionally as my attention span shifts, and I accomplish things! So CHEERS to being a stubborn horses arse. It is the only way to truly enjoy life as an Autoimmuner and is the first Autoimmuner Life Lesson I can impart.