By Gina Lu
When it comes to making the famous “Bucket List” of the things people want to do before they die, it might be worth pondering over the things that you have been able to do in your life. Consider this completed list, then compare it to the list of things a person with a physical disability would like to do.
Can you see the different priorities? Gratitude for what we have seems to be lacking in society. Even something “as simple” as getting a job can be quite high on the list for a person with a disability.
I have a vast amount of hopes and dreams for myself and thankfully with my high level of determination I have achieved many of them already. I have gone through all three levels of education. I have had the experience of living independently.
My passion has always been music. I have a Distinction in Grade Two of Acoustic Guitar and an Honour in Grade Five of Singing. In 2004, I auditioned for You’re A Star and in 2010 I auditioned for The X-Factor. I have also taken part in karaoke competitions and this year, it was my fifth time to take part in the annual Limerick’s Got Talent competition where I’ve displayed my song writing abilities by performing my own songs.
I have spent a very brief time in various radio stations. In the last year I became a member of the Walk in My Shoes Radio (formerly Upbeat on Air) team, a pop-up radio station which was created solely for the promotion of positive mental health. I have many more dreams to fulfill some of which are: becoming a successful singer and/or songwriter and working in radio and/or television production.
I have broached the topic of a bucket list with many of my able-bodied friends. Their replies for their own lists have ranged from travelling to Hawaii and Aurora Borealis to being part of a West End musical or singing the Star Spangled Banner at an American football game.
I recently asked my best friend (who is also able-bodied) about what was on her bucket list. This girl really lives life to the full and I highly admire her for it. She is certainly the perfect example of someone who is grateful for what she has and what she can do in life. She has already climbed the highest mountain of each province in Ireland, learned how to play the fiddle, has gone back to further her education. Items on her bucket list include pursuing her interest in Wood Carving and Set Dancing and one day visiting Iceland.
These three items on my friend’s bucket list are achievable by any able-bodied person; however the logistics of each goal for a disabled person are not as simple, especially when it comes to travel.
When it comes to travel, a person has a disability has so much to consider, things like: travel costs (if the person needs to bring a Personal Assistant, the travel cost is doubled), accessible accommodation and outings.
It wasn’t surprising to hear the bucket lists of friends of mine who happen to have physical disabilities. On one person’s list there was travel; on that same list there was living in her own apartment, which she told me she was in the process of doing. Another person had some great advice which was: “Start off small and work up. It might be going to a concert, going away with friends, a hot air balloon ride or fundraising for something. Stop putting things on the long finger!” One other person told me that she’d love to go to a rugby or soccer match as she had only watched them on television. One guy who told me he’d love to do a bungee jump in his wheelchair – it can be done! Now that’s what I call a goal!