When a person only has five years to live, it is important to get to some of the things that people put off in our hectic, rat-race world. It is important to be fulfilled and to strive to do the things that you wanted to do. Without being trite, take inspiration from a movie like “The Bucket List” and put a plan in motion for what to do and how to do it.
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The first thing to do would be to research your “death sentence” and find out everything about it. There is always the possibility that with experimental treatment or new technologies, one may not have just five years to live after all. The important part here is to discover whether there are options available and to be open to explore these options.
In finding out what we want to do with the remaining five years, it is important to clarify values in order to decide what is truly important. Therefore, we should spend some time looking at values clarification material or talking to someone who really asks pointed questions about our lives, in order to determine what is truly important. There is a difference between beliefs and values. “One significant difference between a value and a belief is that a value is typically chosen with intentionality and is therefore prized, cherished and publicly affirmed when appropriate. Beliefs, on the other hand, generally operate much more outside of our awareness. We acquire them almost by osmosis from the culture in which we are reared. Prejudices (agism, racism, sexism, and classism, for example) are products of unexamined beliefs” (Global Change Seminar). It is important to know the difference in that clarifying values will help determine the next steps.
After figuring out what to do, the next step is to do those things. Some will contain action, like going places that one has never been or meeting a famous person. The key here is to figure out the really important ones so that funds will stretch to cover these. Others will be about cherishing the things that are right in life, like spending quality time with family and making sure that they feel recognized and loved. Finding the things of most importance and setting an action plan to make these happen will also provide a sense of peace and fulfillment. Rather than waiting around for death, this person is going into himself/herself first and then going outside of oneself in order to make the things happen that truly matter. These ideas that one walks away with will be different for every person. That’s the beauty of values clarification.
My steps personally would be spending quality time with my family and giving them something to remember me by. I would create a project of what I remember about each person to warm their hearts and leave some sort of legacy. I would also do some traveling in Europe and Central America. I would learn to play the guitar. I would spend my time doing the things I wanted to do and working as little as possible. If I didn’t have enough money, I would find ways to do them a cheaper way. I would try to be relaxed and believe positively that these things would come to me.
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