Bucket Lists

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By Nina S. Custodio

Doc@XXLarge

Saturday, March 22, 2014


LAST weekend, I was able to cross one entry on my bucket list.

I went kayaking!

Yes! :)

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It felt so good to be able to be able to do it considering the fact that I honestly thought that I would never be able to actually get my big butt to sit on a kayak without toppling the contraption over! It was one of those “issues” that I had in relation to my morbid obesity. Really, being fat is more than a battle with the bulges, the battleground is really within your mind. In the year or so since I had my bariatric surgery, I slowly was able to realize how the mind is really a very powerful tool for survival.

But that is another story.

So back to kayaking.

It was one of those things I had always wanted to do but never even considered trying just because I thought that it would be awkward and any attempts at it would probably end up in utter embarrassment. But, I did have daydreams about slicing through calm waters on a kayak. To be able to admire nature around me at my own pace and effort would be a great experience, I thought. Finally being able to do it was such as exhilarating experience I did not even mind the muscle pain I got from all the rowing that I did (although I actually only kayaked for 20 minutes).

In my life experiences, one thing that I have learned is to be mindful of things that are happening around me and to always show appreciation for everything that one has gone through. Whether it was good or bad, it certainly will have its impact on your life and that you learn from it because it helps you make wise decisions about how to continue your journey. I have learned to be thankful for the things that I am able to enjoy. I know we are more likely to be thankful for new experiences than the ones that we’ve experienced before but honestly, we should really thank god (or whoever your divine being is) for the opportunity to enjoy it.

My kayaking experience was a milestone because it just proves that nothing is impossible. I guess it is true what they say, “when you dream it, you can be it” depending on certain circumstances, perseverance and maybe luck too. Sometimes I just want to think of it in a cosmic way, that the elements of the universe has somehow conspired to grant me a wish to encourage me to keep on going despite the challenges that I continue to experience post-cancer, post-diabetes and post-bariatric surgery.

In this life we are bombarded with so many challenges and sometimes it is hard to appreciate everything that happens. We all want just the good things and yet it seems that we can only remember the awful things that happen to us. Argh. I know, one can only take so much of those and when you are stretched to thin you would really come to the point when you just want to give up from exasperation! I for one never even thought of making my bucket list until I was faced with death seven years ago. Why would I even think of dying? I was young and I was at that point when I could really start to see my life unfolding before me. But you never really know how life can take an unexpected turn until the cards are dealt and so it would be a good idea to have an occasional “what if’ exercise in mind once in a while. It does change the way you look at life once you have had that chance to look Death straight in the eye. Believe me, it changes priorities and even the guidelines that you live your life by. Of course after a while (especially if you survive the challenges) things can pretty much return to normal BUT you would have become a different person. Hopefully, a better one.

And so, my bucket list (also known as your ordinary life to-do list) has one less entry. I am superhappy!! For the past week I have been confetti parades in my head just because I was able to go kayaking. Some people may laugh at my recent triumph but it means a lot to me because it proves that hope is never-ending for those who keep dreaming and trying to make it come true! Just to be able to comfortably sit on that flat contraption makes me smile! I am still tickled by the fact that I was able to row without cutting off the oxygen supply to my brain (from all the bending at the waist)! It just makes me feel fulfilled! Oh how the price of small victories can be so underrated! :)

I hope you are able to find and appreciate the small things because they mean more than just its small parts bunched together. Being able to find the joy in the simplest, even mundane things may just be the thing you need to survive a terrible time in your life. May you constantly have the opportunity to cross out entries from your own bucket list because it will really make you feel good that you did. Apart from that sense of accomplishment comes that feeling that you have exerted the time and effort for your own good. It will really make you feel proud and giddy that you did something for yourself because you deserve it! (Saves you from a multitude of regrets and whys that you can be asking yourself in your twilight years too!)

So just continue to live. To be a man for others but not to forget that you deserve humane treatment too! Treat yourself to some ‘me’ time and always appreciate and be thankful for the blessings and the trials that has made you a better, stronger person!

Happy Sunday Everyone! :)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 23, 2014.

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