It was with medical matters on my mind that I watched the film, The Bucket List, this week. The premise was that two men (Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson: the character’s names are instantly forgotten when you have those two in the starring roles), finding themselves with only six months to live, take a trip together, ticking off everything on their final To Do list.
Sitting on top of one of the pyramids, Morgan Freeman tells Jack Nicholson a little about the Egyptian concept of Heaven. On arrival at their equivalent of the pearly gates, you are asked two questions: Have you had joy in your life? and Have you given joy to others?
This idea seems preferable to carrying around a long list of negatives, one that encourages us to spend the time we have far more productively, whether it is 6 months or 60 years. Always something of a worrier, over the last couple of days I have acknowledged the times when I have felt joyful and have appreciated those moments for what they are: stopping to stroke a dog in the park; dancing my way through a keep fit class; singing along to the radio behind the wheel of my car; receiving an email from a good friend; choosing tulip bulbs to plant in the garden. Instead of wishing for things I don’t have, I have discovered something amazing – I already have quite a lot of joy in my life. Now I just need to go out and spread a little of it around, and that’s me done.