What would you do if you knew you had twenty years to live? How would you
live the rest of your life?
I recently realized twenty years could be all the time I have left to live with a sound mind. Both my mother and grandmother were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when they were about 70. My mom was 68. I am 50 — you do the math.
If the Alzheimer’s clock is ticking in my brain and the timer goes off in 20 years or so, I’ll still be alive but . . . . what kind of life will I have? I’m not saying I will get Alzheimer’s in 20 years, I’m saying the odds are not in my favor.
What would you do if Alzheimer’s was staring you down through the barrel of a gun?
Would you wait for the trigger to be pulled? Or would you start running?
After being dazed for a bit by my realization — I started running — figuratively and literally. I began Racing Alzheimer’s by learning everything I could about healthy living and Alzheimer’s prevention and then I started doing one of the best things I could do for my brain — I began exercising. And yes, running.
I learned that it might be possible to prevent Alzheimer’s disease — or at least delay it until I’m 90 when I won’t care so much. But while I’m focused on prevention I also want to talk about intention — as in living with intention, and being present and grateful for every minute I have, whether the gun goes off or not. I want my eyes and my heart to be wide open and I want to say YES more and NO when I should. I want to be mindful and present in my life because twenty years can go by quickly and I don’t want to miss a thing. I mean, I thought I was paying attention during the last twenty years, and they still went by in about 20 seconds.
“How will you live the rest of your life?”
It sounds a bit cliche, but the “Bucket List” is an invaluable tool for living with intention. I didn’t have one before, but I do now because it’s an effective way to laser in on those things I’ve always thought about doing but sort of shrugged off. It’s kind of like my 20 year plan. I’ve included some things I’ve already done because they were awesome and they would have been on my list anyway. (Plus, I like having some things crossed off already.) The most important item is at the top of my list and everything else is random.
Here’s to PREVENTION and INTENTION. And to crossing things off.
What’s on YOUR Bucket List?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Play with my grandchildren
Plan/Attend family reunion
See the Grand Canyon
Become a Master Gardener
Be a Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator
Volunteer at a wild life refuge
Volunteer at a local Hospice
Meet Jane Goodall
Go on a Scandinavian cruise
Attend Tom Petty Concert
Climb Machu Picchu
Traverse the Rain Forest canopy
Hike in Nepal
Go to New York City
See Broadway Show
Go to major concert with children
Help build a home or school
Write a Book and/or Blog
Create a websiteLearn to speak Spanish
Take a photography class
Hold a “Free Hugs” sign in a crowd
See “A Prairie Home Companion”
Go to Italy
Attend Marriage Retreat with husband
Write “Letters to my Children”
Run a 5K
Attend U2 Concert
Create art to display
Participate in Alzheimer’s Research
Participate in the D.C. “Walk to end Alzheimer’s”
See Saturday Night LIVE!
Run a 10K
Run Twin Cities 10 Miler
Do 5 (real) push-ups
Take a writing class
Attend Van Halen Concert
(Really) learn yoga
Ice Skate in Central Park
Drive across America
Run around Lakes
Nokomis, Harriet, Calhoun
Go to MN State Fair
Attend Meditation Retreat
Participate in Protest or March
Bike Minneapolis “Grand Round”