A Survivor's List: Things to Do Before You Die

By Neal Broverman

Originally published on Advocate.com October 31 2012 3:00 AM ET


“Stop procrastinating. Immediately take that trip you always wanted. The year before Skip died, we visited Venice, fulfilling our dream. And, as unlikely as it may seem, it’s a good time to get a dog, as long as there will be someone to continue caring for it. Our Rover brought love and energy that fought the gloom. And now that Skip is gone, Rover is helping me.” —Charles Dean, surviving spouse of Clyde “Skip” Phillip Wachsberger, author of Into the Garden With Charles, a memoir about growing old and falling in love


“My highest priority would be to continue to challenge the church to reverse its evolution into an exclusive institution and become what it was meant to be — a witness to God’s radically inclusive love for all people. On a more personal note, I would spend high-quality time with my sons, sisters, and friends, creating memories that would keep me close to them after I’m gone.”
—The Reverend Marilyn Bowens, author of Ready to Answer:  Why “Homophobic Church” Is an Oxymoron, which recounts her journey as a gay Christian from a fundamentalist background



“If 2013 was my last year on earth, I would grab my wyfe and head on a road trip across the U.S. to visit our friends in different states, camp, fish, eat, and gig. Finally, toward the end, I would invite my family and close friends to join us in Costa Rica at their famous sloth sanctuary for a few weeks, because dying surrounded by sloths, both adult and baby sloths, has got to be exhilarating, peaceful, and add to my chances of enlightenment. Can you imagine dying during a major squeefest?”
—StormMiguel Florez, an Americana-folk musician who recorded the album Long Lost Sun, which draws on his experiences growing up queer, transgender, and Mexican-American



“Because of my long-term relationship with HIV, I’ve done my best to live every year as if it could be my last, although now I try to balance that with the possibility that I might live until 90. Happily, I would not have significant regrets. I would continue to write, to speak, and teach. However, I would be much more extravagant in certain areas: I would fly first-class and stay in the best hotels during the extended weeks that I would use to travel to certain of my favorite spots, a beach in Brazil, a rice paddy in Bali—and some places I have not yet been to in Asia and Africa. I would rent a villa in Tuscany and invite my favorite people as guests. I might get married!” —Robert Levithan, psychotherapist and author of The New 60: Outliving Yourself and Reinventing a Future, and a columnist who writes as “The Ethical Slut”