I have had some time to think about this and I’ve changed my mind: my anti-bucket list should be things I don’t want to happen to me before I die. It makes more sense and gets at my fears a bit better.
- Deliver a baby. Never do I want to be put in a situation where I have to bring life on this earth. Cut the umbilical cord. And whatever else there is to do. It is for this very reason that I did not enter the medical profession: if your life is ever in danger, I don’t want it to be in my hands. And you don’t, either. I simply don’t have enough faith in myself to do it.
- Get mugged. At gunpoint or knife point. How do you respond in that scenario? I’m not so worried about getting shot or stabbed – I would cooperate with any request. I just…I don’t want to experience my will and courage draining out of me through the soles of my feet. You have to live with those memories the rest of your life.
- Die of some slow, wasting disease. I’m not the kind of person who would asked to be killed. I wouldn’t want to offend God. I wouldn’t want to sign my own death warrant. But, dying in pain, in dribbles and bits, practically pinned to a hospital bed, with nothing left to accomplish in my life but a good death…for weeks, months, years… Give me a quick death. An accidental bullet to the head or heart. A peaceful death in my sleep. Slip and hit my head on the edge of a table or counter and instant death. That is how I want to go, not watching the creeping approach of Death.
- Be attacked by a wild dog or an attack dog. You know, the kind that are so strong their jaws have to be pried open. I don’t always think logically and quickly under pressure or stress, so I always wonder and worry, when passing stray dogs and barking, frothing yard dogs behind shaky, cheap-looking fences and gates made of thin, dry wooden slats. Just don’t let it attack me. If I run, will this dog give chase? Can this mutt break through this gate? Can it catch me?
- Lose a limb/be paralyzed. These are old childhood fears, but they revisit me from time to time, I don’t know why. Being alive but unable to move and simply at the mercy of the rest of the world, hoping for one or two people who are willing to devote their lives to you – horrible. I don’t know how I would feel if I lost an arm or a leg, or how long it would take me to get used to it, or get over it. But, something in me recoils every time I think about it, truly frightens me.
- Have my apartment/house broken into while I am home. I’m not an action hero. I don’t have any of the moves necessary to prevail in a fight. I can’t sleep in my bedroom with the door closed some nights because I can’t hear if someone is at the front or back door of my apartment, and not knowing dries me nuts and keep me up ALL NIGHT. Then, I sleep in the living room, on the couch or even the floor. I sleep in fits, too, waking every hour or less to listen carefully until I am satisfied and feel safe enough to lay my head back down. Nothing makes me more paranoid than a closed bedroom door – or wearing my headphones for too long.
- Be homeless. Do I need to say more? To be on the streets, without a…the number of homeless in this country stuns me.
- Be in a sinking cruise ship. The Costa Concordia sank off the coast of Tuscany in 2012. I was watching a documentary on YouTube and I can’t stop thinking about it. To be on a cruise ship, racing for the life boats, as its compartments fill with water, one after the other. I would rather lose my job or a finger or two. I am afraid of drowning and an endless body of water around me, no land in sight, is the stuff of nightmares.
- Have my heart broken. Hasn’t happened yet. Maybe that’s why I don’t get into relationships. To be dumped, unwanted, by someone you love, must be one of the worst feelings, the worst experiences, along with a painful death, or the death of someone you love.
Image: Costa Concordia. Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)