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Make time to tackle bucket list

Make time to tackle bucket list
Make time to tackle bucket list
Dr. Wayne Willis

When he was barely a year old, Anthony’s mother, Elizabeth, and his little sister, Muriel, died, victims of the 1918 flu pandemic. Anthony believed that he was forever after resented by his father for surviving when his mother and sister did not. His father Joseph sent him away to be raised by a maternal aunt.

Many years later, Anthony Burgess, of Birmingham, England, took a teaching position in Brunei, Borneo. While teaching history one day in 1959, he collapsed in front of his students and was flown back to London. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor that was inoperable and was given one year to live.

He didn’t have much money, so he wouldn’t be spending his terminal year traveling. He decided that, to support his future widow, he would write. He wrote at a furious clip. He wrote five novels in the next year.

As it turned out, Burgess outlived his wife. He died 30 years after being given one year to live. A heavy smoker, he eventually died of lung cancer. In 1962, he published his best known novel, “A Clockwork Orange,” which he wrote in three weeks. It made Time Magazine’s list of the 100 best English-language novels written in the last 40 years.

The experience of Anthony Burgess can illustrate a couple of truths about life. One, experts cannot “give” you a week or a year or two to live. They can give you their educated guesses. Sometimes their predictions are prescient; sometimes way off.

Two, we should fill up whatever time we have left with reading, writing, golfing, meaningful work, entertaining ourselves, serving others or some combination of meaningful activities.

Time may not be on our side. It may be later than we think.

What’s on your bucket list?

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