five great things someone else said, vol 13


In the last week, I joined in celebrating the 90th birthday of a man who has lived a truly remarkable life. I also learned, via twitter , of Alice Pyne, a fifteen year old girl in England with terminal cancer who created a blog to post her bucket list, which included trending on twitter.

And so, at times throughout the week, my thoughts have traveled back and forth between what it might be like to live ninety years and what it would have been like to have only lived for fifteen.

I thought of the bucket list that Alice has created. All the things she wants to do and has posted to her website. And I thought about the 90th birthday party I’d attended and the discussions amongst people, of all ages – what they’d done, what they were up to and what they were planning to do next. Weren’t we, in fact, creating lists of our own right there at that beachside restaurant – talking about movies we’d love to make, art grants we’re hoping to receive, the best and worst times of year to visit Cairo/Paris/Istanbul? (#firstworldproblems, I know.)

Shouldn’t we all be making bucket lists but calling them life goals instead? OK, maybe not life goals because that totally sounds like high school counselor-speak, but you know what I’m getting at. (Just saw a website that calls them life goals. Must find a better name. Oh, who cares what you call it, as long as you do it.)

Why must it take some earth-shattering, senseless news to make us stop and smell the roses, start saving for that trip, writing that book, planning that Thanksgiving when we’ll skip the feast and go volunteer at the L.A. Mission. It isn’t all trips down the Nile and training for the New York Marathon. There are so many small things that somehow slip between the cracks, too. We need buckets to scoop them up as well.

Oh, how I hope that Alice is able to do all she wishes for on that list, and more. I hope that she knows that her very first to-do on the that bucket list, To make everyone sign up to be a bone marrow donor, is already bringing hope and joy to so many. Around the world. Bringing some sense to a senseless reality faced by so many. That she placed it tip-top, above all else, well, it just goes to show that Alice is wise beyond her fifteen years. Perhaps wise beyond ninety.

Smell those roses, everyone. Inhale deeply. Today. Everyday. xo a.

And now, five great things someone else said about living life to its fullest:

When you write down your life, every page should contain something no one has ever heard about. – Elias Canetti

The remarkable thing is that it is the crowded life that is most easily remembered. A life full of turns, achievements, disappointments, surprises, and crises is a life full of landmarks. The empty life has even its few details blurred, and cannot be remembered with certainty. -Eric Hoffer

He who breathes deepest lives most. – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. – Mae West

You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life? – Rumi


3 thoughts on “five great things someone else said, vol 13

  1. Denis Wright

    This is a thought-provoking posting. I remember communicating on Twitter with Alice and her mother last year, because we have one thing in common; a very aggressive brain tumour.
    Our circumstances were quite different, in that I had experienced many of the world’s joys, though could reasonably have expected to live another 20 years or so of active life.
    I feel very deeply for those whose young lives are cut short through illness like this or seriously damaged in some other way through war, or accident, or some other traumatic event. I can understand that I can expect to live for a very limited time now, as all the avenues of treatment are exhausted except what keeps me alive now.
    The hard thing is for the young to accept their approaching death without the anger of ‘Why me?’ and the thought of the life they will miss. I am grateful for what I have had, the treatment I’ve received and the love of family and friends, and for being reconciled to death shortly. I just don’t know what words of comfort I could give to one so young, even though I feel so keenly for her and what she has yet to go through. She, and far too many others. All I can hope is that what time she has left she is able to do some of the things she wants, as well as successfully trending on Twitter. While it’s the last thing I would want to do for myself, I can well understand what it would mean to her.
    For everyone else, there is just one message in all of this – Carpe Diem, and be grateful for what you have, especially that you take for granted each day.

    1. alexandrawrote Post author

      Denis, you see the world with an amazing perspective. And, given your life adventures and experiences, I think you have seized the day far more than most, well before your dx. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if in school we were taught to have as strong a gratitude ethic as a working one? What we could achieve!

  2. Vee

    True, true, true! Beautifully said Alexander. We tried to cram everything in the short time Alex had. I certainly learned a lot from that.x


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