Bucket List versus Bucket Full of Good Deeds

Author - Anil Chawla

Two Alternatives – As one ages one faces two alternatives.
Alternative A

I must enjoy the maximum before it is too late. Let me draw up a list of fun to have, places to visit, foods to eat and things to do that I must do before I kick the bucket (die). This is called a bucket list. In the USA, almost everyone has a bucket list. Every other day there is some program or the other on TV telling about the place or activity that deserves a place on one’s bucket list. Typical bucket list items include visiting Switzerland / Mauritius, having food in a Michelin 3-star restaurant, doing paragliding in the Alps and so on.

Alternative B

Death is a passing into a different world. I have spent my life eating, drinking and enjoying all sorts of physical pleasures. Let me do some good acts before it is too late. It is high time that I did something for which at least a few will remember me fondly. Earning and spending money has been my focus so far. Now is the time when I must realize that none of my money is going to travel with me to the other world. The focus of my life must shift away from earning or spending money to doing good deeds. My body has already started withering. Pleasures of the body must now give way to something worthwhile. While my body becomes weaker by the day it is time to grow and strengthen the real me which is beyond my body.

Please think over the above two alternatives from your personal perspective. Are you with A or with B? No, it is not possible to choose both or have a middle path.

Your choice determines your life in more ways than one. As a Hindu, till a few years ago I could not even imagine A. The philosophy underlying B is the fundamental foundation of operating system of my mind and heart. However, in recent years I have become aware of A as I keep getting bombarded with suggestions for my bucket list. I find the idea of a bucket list abhorrent. I do not need to visit picture postcard places or eat at fancy restaurants to celebrate life. For me celebration of life comes when I bring smile to someone’s face. I feel that I have spent a worthwhile day in this world when my work helps someone.

Yes, I am preparing for death by living life to the fullest. It is just that my definition of living life to the fullest does not include any of the items that usually make to a bucket list. I cannot draw a list of things to do before I die simply because life throws up a new challenge and opportunity almost every day. Meeting the challenge head-on helps me to be a better human being and to live my life to the fullest.

Each one of us has to face death. Option A is based on the notion that body and its pleasures are the only reality and all talk of soul and life after death is nonsense. Option B treats this body as a temporary abode of a continuing reality. Option B looks at death merely as a transition or as someone said – change of clothes. As a believer of B, I am preparing to face death with a smiling face. I do not know how the believers of A face death.

Choosing between Bucket List and Collecting Good Deeds for after-life is something intensely personal. You have to make your own decision. Of course, it will be good to hear what you decide.

Anil Chawla

21 May 2017

ANIL CHAWLA is an engineer (B.Tech. (Mech. Engg.), IIT Bombay) and a lawyer by qualification but a philosopher by vocation and an advocate, insolvency professional and strategic consultant by profession.
Please visit www.indialegalhelp.com to learn about his work as lawyer.
Please visit www.hindustanstudies.com to know about his strategic research.
Please visit www.samarthbharat.com to read his articles, mini-books, etc.
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Anil Chawla

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