On the night of October 19, 1984, then-RCMP officer Scott Deschamps survived a fatal small-plane crash that took the lives of six other passengers in northern Alberta. Critically injured, Deschamps spent a night clinging to life beside a campfire stoked by three other survivors. As the hours passed, Deschamps found himself writing a mental bucket list of all the things he had wanted to do but hadn’t done yet — earn a university degree, travel, learn to sail, learn another language, spend more time outdoors, have children . . . . Four months later, Deschamps left his job with the RCMP. In this passage from Carol Shaben’s book Into the Abyss, which tells the compelling story of the plane crash and its aftermath, Deschamps explains why:
During the crash I spent fourteen hours lying in the snow unable to move . . . . That environment facilitated a time of reflection which prompted my decision. I’ve always wanted to go to university ever since I can remember and I’ve never done it. I was always working. Now I realize that life is so fragile. People talk about the right to life. I don’t talk about the right to life; I talk about the privilege it is to live because any one of us can be killed at any time. It is so easy and it happens so quick. So if you haven’t done the things that you’ve always wanted to do, it’s time to do them.
In the years that followed, Deschamps crossed every single item off the bucket list he had created that night.
What will it take for you to do the same?
Life is short. Live it.