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How Your Bucket List Changes After a Cancer Diagnosis

Being diagnosed with cancer or any terminal illness can seem like your life has suddenly halted. The routine of the everyday is re-evaluated to focus on the things that really matter. Creating or rewriting your bucket list after diagnosed with a terminal illness can be the first way to organize your thoughts and prioritize certain life plans or personal goals that have fallen by the wayside.

A bucket list comprises of things you’d like to accomplish or experience during your lifetime and can often take a backseat to more immediate priorities, but setting goals and dedicating time to creating value in your life has been proven to be an important part of palliative care even if the process of setting goals and defining what you’d like to accomplish/experience is up for interpretation and has not been standardized. This study from the Progress in Palliative Care journal defines that “goal setting has been identified in health policy and clinical guidelines as a mechanism to achieve [living as actively as possible].” If you’re having trouble finding inspiration for reprioritizing your bucket list, consider starting with these preliminary ideas so you can get at the heart of what really matters to you.

1. Family

Most people find that family comes first and no matter what the life stage, this doesn’t change. Our relationships make us feel connected, loved, and supported and after a diagnosis, emotional support and uplifting relationships can arguably be the most important thing. Spending time with loved ones is an excellent way to keep in high spirits and maintain the normalcy that people often want.

For those who are somewhat estranged from family, reconnecting often becomes a common addition to the bucket list as to establish understanding and connection to ones we grew apart from over the years. If undergoing treatment, bringing family members to keep you company can alleviate the negative feelings sometimes brought on by the routine and grueling treatments. Just having the accompaniment of a loved one can fill you with support and strength. Are there any things on your bucket list that would be made better if a loved one was included? Share your bucket list with those closest to you as some of the most enriching experiences are often ones done together.

2. Personal Goals

Many people lose sight of personal goals due to the routine of work and other responsibilities that seem to leave no free time. We tend to work so hard to accumulate wealth that we sacrifice other aspects of our lives as a result. While a career is fulfilling in many ways, a diagnosis can put those long-term financial goals on hold. Shifting from financial and career goals to personal goals can be much more fulfilling as the time is spent doing what you actually love to do. Things that you never seemed to have the time or energy for should be prioritized such as learning to play an instrument, taking up a skilled hobby, or even tending to and building the garden you always wanted.

3. Travel

Traveling more, vacationing abroad, and revisiting places on past trips seems to always be on our bucket list…and it seems to be always out of reach due to finances, schedules, and timing. Traveling doesn’t come easy and requires effort to coordinate, but it’s worth it. Without the responsibility of work holding you back, take the time to figure out where you want to go and how you can best enjoy your time once there. Whether that’s sailing on the River Seine in France or taking a weekend trip to that beautiful beach town a few hours away, you won’t regret setting aside time for it.

Need Financial Help Completing Your Bucket List?

No matter what your desires whether it be traveling the world or learning to play an instrument, your finances shouldn’t hold you back. Contact Fifth Season Financial to find out more about our Funds For Living financial assistance program and how we can help you access funds from your life insurance policy so you can do what you love.

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