Do CFers write their Bucket Lists?

Tim Wotton

New member
Recently being filmed for a BBC documentary about ‘Bucket Lists’ got me thinking how my CF motivates me to live every day like it’s my last day on earth…

‘Bucket Lists’ (what some people choose to do if they have a reduced or terminal health prognosis, before they “kick the bucket”) tend to be outlandish and quite expensive ideas, such as holidays of a lifetime, seeing wonders of the world or enjoy life events in exotic locations.

The BBC liked my variation of a Bucket List and wanted to give the programme some balanced opinions. My ‘list’, though never formally written down, is one that anyone can choose to follow, often costs nothing and can be achieved every day.

As a direct result of having been told I wouldn’t live past 17 because of my chronic CF, now at 43, I feel empowered to live every day like it could be my last.

Every hour of every day is important for me as I never know when I will run out of time. Having CF and type 1 diabetes drives my thirst for life. The way I see it, each day surviving my conditions is physically and mentally debilitating; but at the same time, every day is poignant and needs to feel special to counteract the harshness. Thus it has to be punctuated by magic moments which must be savoured to the maximum. These moments form my unofficial bucket list.

My wife, Katie, and seven-year-old son, Felix, provide the necessary motivation to keep on top of my survival battle and offer me a ready supply of life-affirming memories.

I’m around for them as much as possible, and give Felix quality time, coaching him to play hockey, taking my turn to get up early with him at the weekend, going on family days out and taking Katie out for dinner.

I dress each day like it’s my last day on Earth, and never leave my favourite clothes in the wardrobe waiting for that special moment. I don’t see the need to gripe about the small things I hear around the office, instead I take time each day to appreciate something natural like a sunset or landscape.

I also take full advantage of the windows in each day to fit in socialising, my business consultant job, and not forgetting my vital exercise in the form of hockey on some Saturdays and evening gym sessions.

But it’s more than this.

Living and leaving my legacy
I passionately feel that it’s crucial to cherish the life you have right now, not the life you hope to have in 10 years-time. Every extra day that I can wrench from my conditions gives me more time to create my lasting memory as well as leave a positive trace with people I know or meet.

Think of my scenario as a form of Groundhog Day, where I wake each morning to the wide-range of opportunities and moments available to secure my own legacy. The trick is to have your eyes and mind open and be ready to seize and appreciate them. As a sample, during the course of most days, I do the following:

Wear those meaningful items of clothing
Say something kind to a loved one
Do that thoughtful act for a friend in need
Make a stranger feel happy and special
Message someone I’ve not been in contact with for a while
Smile at someone who never usually smiles
Give my son an extra-long hug
Make my wife laugh
Stop still in awe to witness a beautiful landscape, sunset, cloud formation or the wonders of nature
Close my eyes and feel content about an aspect of my life

… as tomorrow may never come and I would have missed the chance!

As much as I despise my daily health battle (consisting of 2-3 hours of meds), it has given me a perspective on life that many people may never attain or will only encounter later in life. People with a life-threatening condition have a pronounced ability to not only identify, but fully appreciate magic moments, as they contrast so strikingly with the usual daily hardship. As I said, I find it liberating to look at each day as potentially my last day on Earth.

Why don’t you give it a try? Start your unwritten bucket list and see how it makes you feel?


See more on the Magic Moments blog post

Renee Vasquez

New member
This is a very nice post Tim. Thank you for sharing. I do many of these sorts of things too. I think people often take for granted the effect they have on the people around them. That simply telling a mother you admire how hard she works for her children, or telling someone you've taken notice of a change they've made. Simply stating things that you've taken notice of (as well as slowing down enough to actually take notice) can do wonders for both the people around you and yourself. The days I feel the best are the days I know I've said or done something that makes someone else smile from ear to ear or at the very least gives them the understanding that they aren't alone in their feelings. I think my mental bucket list has lots of experiences i'd just like to share with the people i love. I may have swam in an ocean, but at the time not had that person in my life and i know how great it felt and I just want to see that person's face as they experience these beautiful moments. Thats what I love most about children, they still have that sense of awe that we seem to lose sight of as adults. I've literally handed my child a piece of fruit hes never seen before and he'll stare at it for a second and say woooooooooow. And hes so interested in life and everything hes never seen/ experienced and getting to see him experience it is one of the best things in my life. I have more thoughts but I have to get back to work!

Thank you for this inspiring post. You've made me smile. :)


New member
I try to do this as often as I can. I search for what I call "butterfly moments" in every day. Butterfly moments because the lives of butterflies are extremely short, and they spend those lives looking for some of the most beautiful things in the world to sustain them during those lives.


New member
Tim, totally understand your post, thats how I try and live my life. When I read the title of the post "bucket list", my first thought was "naw, I dont write it, I just simply try and live it". Carpe diem. Moments and opportunities are all around you every day.


What a wonderful post. I have a physician friend at work who has suffers off and on with mild depression. On a stressful day at work he blurted out "life must be simple when you're suppose to be dead!" He immediately apologized and I just laughed. In someways he did capture my approach to life. I try not to let work or other things get to me. I try to treat each day as a blessing. My teenage daughters will soon be off to college as young adults. I've been blessed that I've not missed any of their formative years.


wow great post and great replies... I know I will get shit for this, for being vain and repeating but I am 60 and have a different kind of sense of humor.. I do most of what Tim suggested except smile because of my stained ulgy teeth. I wish I cld afford venears, but can't as I think they run abt $1000-1200 per tooth. I've done whitening 3-4x now but they go back to the same ugly pale yellow, and my gums are so sensitive the day after I feel like I was hit in the mouth with a hammer. But for that short period of time I smile at everyone even strangers. I once had a man take a second look and ask me do I know you ?? I said no just hvg a good day. I do dress everyday like I hv somewhere special to go, never feel I am gonna save that to wear for a special occasion. Which caused a lot of bad looks when I wld pick up my son from school. and a lot of other Moms wld say oh getting off from work. and I wld respond no I don't work. Which then wld give me the look, oh look at her, she thinks who she is LOL meanwhile I just spent 3 hrs.dry hacking after a treatment. I did get myself in trouble with Credit Card debt because I did hv that attitude so what how much longer am I gonna live ? big big mistake. That was learning experience. But with age comes wisdom, truly believe in that statement. Also hv to admit did not even know what the statement Bucket List meant until a few years ago. So Tim and I agree with all yr suggestions, as they don't cost any money, and practice many of them myself. I will close with live life to the fullest never feel like this disease is going to kill you, and I've had those feelings many times when I was at my weakest on IV's but I am like a rubber band I always seem to bounce back. Pat/60


New member
My wife has bucket list items for me (Europe, Hawaii, 50 years of marriage) but I try to keep my list fairly short term. Not because I don't think I will make it long term, but because I try to stay busy enough that my immediate time demands don't leave much time for dreaming. Repining for the future is a good way to waste the present. If I decide I want to do something I'll plan and get it done in short order (6-12 months). Some things obviously take longer (college) but I don't like spending much time thinking about things that I can't do something about today. My current projects are a summer vacation to LegoLand, and working with my scouts on the Cycling merit badge.

That being said, the one big thing that I really want is to be around (and hopefully healthy and active) until my kids graduate High School and launch into adulthood (hopefully those two things aren't very many years apart). I'd have a difficult time giving that up.


Ethan you will be...I thought abt this from when I saw it this morning and I came up with 3 actually to go to Italy but I don't like to fly so that's really a wash I'll get a big coffee table book instead 2nd was a lost one as well wish I got to see Elvis sit in the 5th row and wait for him to sing THE WONDER OF YOU.....last I wld like to see Stevie Wonder be in the 5th row again and wait for him to sing ANOTHER STAR omg at the end of the song there is a flute player that does maybe a 3 min. solo and it is magnificent. Now this cld be a possibility but I want to be up close and those ticket's are probably $300-400 so there goes that as well but I do own the CD and play often. Pat