You only live once.
Well, at least on Earth, if you’re a believer.
Americans don’t seem too worried about dying. In fact, 37 percent of Americans plan to work until they die or are too sick to continue at their job, according to a study cited by CNN. One reason why Americans aren’t too fearful of dying is because they believe in an afterlife. According to a 2013 Harris Poll, 68 percent of America believes in heaven, or an afterlife, which they’ll go to once they pass away.
Still, life is for the living. And there’s plenty to do on this Earth until the clock strikes midnight on our lives. Here’s a bucket list for believers and faithful people alike, or even for those who have a fascination with religion that are interested in getting to know a bit more before they pass on.
Visiting the Holy Land is a must for believers. There are some recommended Christian places to see, as pointed out by I Googled Israel, including Jerusalem, Nazareth and Bethlehem. It might be well worth your while to see some of these sites and understand the context behind many of the bigger events in religious history.
“So, go,” wrote Joe McKeever for Crosswalk. “Traveling to the Middle East is as safe right now as it has ever been, and you’re not getting any younger.”
Learn more about spirituality
Daring to Live Fully, a spiritual and self-growth blog, pointed out 50 different things to do before you die that can increase your spirituality and make you more knowledgeable of Eastern religions. The list includes checking out things like Reiki, a healing faith and practice, finding inner peace, and taking up Yoga.
Meet religious leaders
OK, this one may be a little hard. Some religious leaders are hard to get by, since they’re usually heading up their church or touring the country. But Michael DeMocker of The Times-Picayune is looking to help you get there. In an article from April of this year, DeMocker explained the process of getting to meet the pope, and what you’d need to do to get that special blessing.
“All you need to do to get blessed by the pope is to: 1) get to Rome, Italy and 2) prepare to navigate a crowd of rock concert-size and fervor,” DeMocker wrote.
Go to China
You should definitely check out China -- it’s going to be one of the top Christian countries in the world within the next 15 years, according to The Telegraph.
Though the country remains mostly atheist, the tide is turning, and Christianity is slowly sneaking its way into the hearts and minds of the 1.3 billion people that live there, The Telegraph reported.
Try to better yourself
Forbes recently published a list of 40 different things to say to yourself before death, and these may be helpful if you’re looking to make things right in your life before you die. The list includes saying things like “I’m not finished” and “This is wrong” as a way of identifying problems and failures, and then bettering yourself because you’ve admitted them.
“Before you’re sprawled on your deathbed, there are some things you really have to say,” wrote Jessica Hagy for Forbes. “They’re not complicated. They’re not poetry. They’re just short sentences with big meaning.”
Patheos writer J.B. Wood recently re-read one of his old articles that highlighted a number of goals he wanted to accomplish in his life. After reading the article, Wood realized he had, in fact, conquered a lot of the things he set out for himself. But there were others he hadn’t, which made him begin to question his life’s direction. So, he decided to make a change.
“Maybe I’m just too comfortable with where I’m at right now. Perhaps I don’t have enough vision,” Wood wrote. “Or, maybe this was just another tacky and ridiculous motivational exercise meant to sell a book that tells us we are capable of far more than we will ever be able to realistically achieve in life.”
Read the Bible, cover to cover
According to a study by the American Bible Society, 88 percent of households own a Bible, with each house having 4.7 Bibles on average. And 37 percent of Americans read the Bible once a week, if not more, the study found.
So, yeah, the Bible is pretty popular. Give it a read, from cover to cover, and hear about all the religious stories that may affect your everyday life.
Learn about other religions
There are more than 4,000 religions out there in the world, with some being more common than others. So before you pass on, it may bring your mind peace to explore a few new religions. Deseret News National’s recent article looked at some religions that you might not know about, which should give you a good start.
Visit the most beautiful places
There are many beautiful places in the world, and they’re all worthy of a quick view. For believers, the Earth was created and crafted by the hand and paintbrush of God. So why not see some of God’s top creations?
Attend another church
Americans are sure attending religious services, but there’s plenty more that can be done -- including going to a religious service you’ve never been to before. You may pick up on some new messages and religious ideas you haven’t heard of before.
Go on a spiritual hike
Secular America is spiritual, according to an article from Deseret News National. A lot of people in the country find their spirituality while on a hike or adventure in the wilderness, which is something believers may find beneficial to do during the last years of their lives.
In fact, it can even help cure depression and loneliness -- something that affects 6 million Americans who are 65 and older, according to WebMD. And that’s something that one Quartz writer experimented with -- hiking to cure his loneliness. It worked, too.
Learn how to pray
There are a lot of ways to learn about religion. You could read some Muslim prayers, some Christian prayers or just learn about how prayers impact believers. Investigate different religious beliefs and practices to get a wider perspective of religion in the world.
Share your beliefs
OK, so, you’ve learned to pray in a new language, you’ve learned about another religion and now it’s time to share that with other people. Teach someone else about your religious beliefs -- maybe through some casual speedfaithing -- and spread the message of religion.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @herbscribner