My F*ck-it List. ~ Kathleen Emmets

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

Views 10
Shares 10
Hearts 0.0
Comments 5.6
Editor's Pick 0.0
Total Ecosystem Rating 0.0
0 Do you love this article? Show the author your support by hearting.

I didn’t listen.

If I had to choose three words to sum up most of my life it would be those.

I didn’t listen when I was told having a child so young would be a mistake. Or when they said going back to get my degree would be too hard. And when they told me I had 18 months to live? I didn’t listen then either. Not listening is what I seem to do best.

So when I spread the word that I was creating my Fuck-it List, I waited for the inevitable naysayers to tell me I couldn’t do it.

“You’re still undergoing chemotherapy.”

“You need your rest. Are you sure this is the smart thing to do?”

I heard them all, but I didn’t listen.

On my Fuck-it List are all of the things I’ve always wanted to do, places I’ve wanted to see, but never got around to them. About two months ago I said, “Fuck it, what am I waiting for?”

Cancer is a tricky bitch and made me acutely-aware of the finite amount of time we are given.

I’m just going to say it: We are all going to die eventually. Yes, even you, the young, healthy person with the glowing complexion and bright eyes. It may be at 100, but 100 years isn’t that long if you’ve only existed and never truly lived.

I sent an email listing cities I wanted to visit all across this gorgeous country of ours. I figured domestic travel would be a better way of gauging my abilities.

I may be a bit reckless, but I’m not an idiot.

Of course, the kick ass group of friends I have responded immediately, picking cities and dates and the planning began.

Portland, Oregon would be our first stop.

Joe drove me to the airport. Like a parent watching their kid leave for camp, he stood and waved, waiting until I was lost in the crowd before he left. Knowing him, I’m sure it took every ounce of strength he had not to say I was out of my mind and put his foot down on the whole thing. I love him for that.

Six hours later, I met up with my friend in Portland and we began our adventure.

Oregon is an exquisitely beautiful state with beaches, mountains, waterfalls and gorges. Plus, they have the best fucking donuts I have ever had in my life. Without an iota of shame or guilt, I stood at the counter of Voodoo Doughnuts, ordered seven and had a bite (or two) of each one. Jesus, it’s a hidden gem of a place.

Every day we planned something else, renting a car for day trips or hanging back and walking around to see all that Portland had to offer. It had a lot to offer. I’ve heard that it is a town of hippies and hipsters and can be obnoxiously self righteous, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Every one I met was super kind and generous with their time. It is a very artsy area so if you don’t like artisanal cheeses or homemade goat’s milk soaps, this may not be your scene. But I was totally diggin’ it. Organic Shea butter body lotions? Yes, please.

During several points in my trip, I had to stop and take it all in. I would close my eyes and feel the wind in my hair, the sun on my face or the soft rain roll off my cheeks. I felt blessed and grateful. I wish I could capture it all in a jar like a firefly and keep it with me always.

I knelt down to pet every dog, smiled at every baby and chatted up whomever would lock eyes with me. I highly suggest doing any or all of those things. It is a sure fire way to bring a smile to your face.

We traveled up Mt. Hood and watched the snow fall from a lovely, historic lodge we stumbled upon. It was cold as hell and I was woefully under dressed but I said, “fuck it” once more and just went with it.

I warmed up by the fireplace with a drink and a slice of pumpkin bread that made me moan—yes, I really moaned. Don’t judge.

Sometimes in life you have to just go for it. Shake off the fear and do what scares the hell out of you. I was scared to travel alone, to be so far away from home and, more importantly, from Sloan. But I didn’t give in.

Call it what you want, Carpe Diem or Fuck it, but I plan on “YOLO-ing” the shit out of my life.

While waiting for my plane home, my friend and I spotted a man with no legs riding a skateboard around the terminal. We admired his enthusiasm, then went back to talking about the trip.

As I boarded the plane and looked for my seat, I realized I was sitting next to the skateboarding dude I saw moments before. I noticed that not only did he not have legs, he also was missing an arm. He smiled at me and we made idle chit chat: names, where we were from, etc.

He helped me with the crossword puzzle I was working on and we ended up doing the second one together. He was from Portland and going to New York then Orlando for business. I was so struck by his fortitude and kindness; the man just radiated light.

When once I saw a man who was overcoming his adversities, now I just saw a man, a sweet, gentle man with kind eyes, a great laugh and a killer lexicon. I wondered how many times in his life did he not listen.

What did I learn on this trip?

I learned to step out of my comfort zone.

I learned we are all trying to overcome something.

I learned we aren’t all that different from one another.

This is it. This is our one shot at this life. Go for it, whatever it is for you.

Get on that fucking skateboard and ride.

And don’t ever, ever listen when someone tells you you can’t.

Like mindful travel on Facebook.

Assistant Ed: Steph Richard/Ed: Sara Crolick


The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

Views 10
Shares 10
Hearts 0.0
Comments 5.6
Editor's Pick 0.0
Total Ecosystem Rating 0.0
0 Do you love this article? Show the author your support by hearting.

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

anonymous Sep 22, 2014 10:45am

WOW! Every once in a while, I read an article and don't want it to ever end. This was one of those articles. Truly inspirational! You go girl! Love your attitude!

    anonymous Mar 12, 2015 7:00am

    I’m saying WOW too! I’ve often felt that way and to know my writing had that effect on you just brings me the greatest joy. Thank you for sharing. Xo

anonymous Jan 2, 2014 9:09am

Wow you go girl. . Doors open here in the u.k. Oh and someone told me this story. An uncle was given a shorter life span than expected ok. It was 6 months. The thing is the family didnt tell him. . He passed 28 years later!!!! Guess on some level he said Fuck It!! Happy New Year. P.s. I also have a friend in scotland who lives in a castle. So if you come over we could visit them as well.

    anonymous Mar 12, 2015 6:56am

    A castle??? I’m so there!! Lol thank you for taking the time to read my words and reply on such a loving way. Much appreciated

anonymous Jan 1, 2014 5:34pm

You rock girl! Respect..

anonymous Jan 1, 2014 4:39pm

I am a cancer and heart surgery survivor, after which a new philosify of life became "if it's not fun, f*** it! I'm not doin it "

It has worked great for the last 19 yrs !!!

anonymous Nov 23, 2013 5:49pm

Well, I think you did an absolutely correct thing to do. Live your life to the fullest. Even if one has cancer, why should they be taking it easy at home, perhaps bored and anxious, while the "impending doom" thoughts linger on? Sometimes that doom can be taken away when positivity and excitement takes over an ill-ridden body. It's good for the soul and it is totally good for your body's health. Scientific studies keep coming out about the effects of positivity and happiness and as well of the effects of negativity and pessimism in one's life. A lot of cancer patients have survived their ordeals through optimism so many more patients should let positivity and hope ride the waves for them through a cancerous tsunami. Not only are they celebrating the time that they may have left in their lives, but it may just help them in the very end to survive cancer and live on.

anonymous Nov 10, 2013 8:16am

He is an incredible human being. So, so moved. Traveled around the US for three months? Rock on!!!

anonymous Nov 8, 2013 4:11am

Wow, I think I saw that same guy when I was in Portland a few months ago (I'm from Australia and was travelling around the US for 3 months.) I was getting on the BART and saw the most incredible sight – this guy on a skateboard, who had no legs – and his daughter, who I think was about 5 years old. Or was it a son? I don't remember so well now, but I do remember this guy, his skateboard, and his child who was walking along beside him… and then sat on the skateboard with him. I tried not to stare rudely but I was so moved.

anonymous Nov 7, 2013 2:10am


anonymous Oct 28, 2013 7:07pm

I'm so inspired by you all! Let's all make the absolute MOST of our lives! Our souls, our fire..can never be extinguished. I've seriously been floating since this posted. I'm beyond the beyond!!

anonymous Oct 27, 2013 9:28pm

Awesome post! I am a cancer survivor and have been known to throw around the old verb, "Fuck It!" Cancer gives one a whole new perspective about life and what's important, and it reminds us to get off our butts and JUST DO IT! Your attitude will take you a long way in your healing journey. Sending positive energy your way Warrior Woman!

anonymous Oct 27, 2013 2:54pm

Double wow. Yes, having survived a betrayal of the most intimate kind, trying to get rid of some F***king doubt and anxiety and depression (and yes, normally I AM a happy person) I am more than ready to begin my F*** It list. So…for whoever wants to join me in the ether world…let's create a "F***K it Day (after all they have a Hallmark Day for just about everything else)…it will RULE!!

anonymous Oct 27, 2013 11:18am

Wow! Thank you so much!!! This is what I needed to hear today!

anonymous Oct 27, 2013 8:48am

No need to reply, because you must be exhausted about right now sharing the love back with everyone! I'm on the brink of something in my life, and when I read words like yours, I'm inspired to keep poking at myself to roll over, get out of my pajama pants, and (fill in the blank). You see that fill in the blank part is what I'm on the brink of right now. Not sure what it is yet, but it's coming. Thank you! Ginormous hug flying your way.

anonymous Oct 27, 2013 5:55am

Thank you to all who have read and to all who have written. Your words have moved me. I am truly honored and grateful. Thank you

anonymous Oct 26, 2013 8:11pm

Best elephant journal article ever! You rock!

anonymous Oct 26, 2013 7:03pm

Thank you to all who have read and to all who have written. Your words have moved me. I am truly honored and grateful. Thank you, thank you, thank you

anonymous Oct 26, 2013 6:28pm

You are my she-ro…keep writing, Wonder Woman, the world is in desperate need of your ballsy-take-charge-inspiration and advice!

anonymous Oct 26, 2013 3:44pm

I never really thought about it until now, but for some people there is something about a deadline that makes them step up. Thank you for reminding me how precious life is, thank you for your courage and most of all your ‘fuck it’ attitude! I think it would be quite something to know you! Much love. C

anonymous Oct 25, 2013 11:31pm

Love this. So full of life! Looking forward to reading more 🙂

anonymous Oct 25, 2013 12:15pm

Wow… thank you for your writing. Makes me feel alive!

anonymous Oct 25, 2013 6:32am


anonymous Oct 25, 2013 5:53am

Thank you to everyone! You've brought the biggest smile to my face!

anonymous Oct 25, 2013 4:54am

Wow! You keep on living it lady! What an inspiring story. I wish you the best in all that you do or don't do!

anonymous Oct 24, 2013 8:23pm

You’re my hero I of the day. Month….. No, year, definitely. I’m with you l, darlin’! FUCK IT!!!

anonymous Oct 24, 2013 8:15pm

Never, ever, start listening. Love your writing and you!

anonymous Oct 24, 2013 8:10pm

love it! 🙂

anonymous Oct 24, 2013 7:21pm

Reading you definitely feels like opening that firefly jar: refreshing as a waterfall, washing us with LIFE, HOPE and COURAGE.

I wish more people could have the power and ability to write and pass their LIGHT on just like you do.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Warmest cheers from Brazil.

(And from here and thanks to you, starting my own f*-it-list right NOW.)


    anonymous Oct 24, 2013 9:01pm

    Thank you!!! Wow, Brazil! Definitely on my Fuck It List of places to go!!

anonymous Oct 24, 2013 4:50pm

I love you

    anonymous Oct 24, 2013 9:00pm

    Love you too! You are a light in this world and I thank you!

Read The Best Articles of March
You voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares.

Kathleen Emmets

Kathleen Emmets is an avid music lover and yoga enthusiast. She believes in seeking out the good in all things and being her most authentic self. Her articles have appeared in and Kathleen lives in East Norwich, NY with her husband, son, 2 cats and dog. She does not necessarily love them in that particular order.