There isn’t a better way to spend a day in New York City other than the Poet's Walk, often called the Literary Walk, located in the famed Central Park. The Poet's Walk is located on the southern end of the Central Park Mall and runs from 66th to 72nd Street.

As I stroll down the walk, the statutes of William Shakespeare, Johann C.F. von Schiller, Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Christopher Columbus and Ludwig von Beethoven transport me to another world. The lights of the office buildings of Central Park South, peering through the bare branches of the trees, give the feeling of an urban wilderness.

But there, on the corner, stands a big message screen, connected at the backend with millions of networked computers enabling anyone to post his or her thoughts on “things to do before I die.” Standing in front of the screen with millions of characters floating down the screen, I imagine our lives as streams flowing into the river towards whatever heaven lies in the mist beyond the falls.

We live, we die, but do we ever think of making a “bucket list” of things we wish we could do before we slide into the depth of darkness.

As a starting point to making a bucket list, one needs to be close to people, who are at the verge of crossing a line from existence to non-existence. For the last couple of years, I have come across many people passing through the process of palliative care.

Interestingly, these were the most incredible and fulfilling times shared with the departing and in the process giving me an in-depth knowledge of various lives lived, wasted and a bundle of dreams shattered in this painful journey of life.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. The process involves passing through an ocean of emotions, which start from denial, then the fear followed by anger, remorse and finally the painful acceptance.

At that point in time starts the process of growth and emancipation when one starts looking backwards at any regrets they had or anything they would have done differently; had they been given another chance to breathe in this world.

Interestingly, the wishes are more and less similar. They include the wish of having the courage to live a life true to themselves and not the life others expected of us, not worked so hard, courage to express ones true feelings, staying in touch with family and friends and finally a wish to have led a more happier life. It all adds up to understanding the measure of one’s life.

The essence of any good bucket list consists of experiencing all the good and phenomenal things the earth has to offer.

I generally ask my students a question; what is the most important thing in life to you and what is this entire struggle in life for? Invariably, the answer comes to be children or the family. How much quality time in a day you give to your children or the family for whom you work so hard? I ask! Hardly an hour or so is the reply by majority of them.

For the one’s our struggles in life have no limits are the most deprived ones of our presence. We are always present in their lives as an absence.

Brian G. Dyson, the former CEO of Coca Cola Company and presently the President of Chatham International Corp, very rightly puts it: “Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them - work, family, health, friends and spirit, and you are keeping all of these in the air.

“You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls - family, health, friends and spirit - are made of glass. If you drop one of these; they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for it.”

When we look back at our lives, we generally have a bundle of regrets. The longer we will stay on this earth; the list of these regrets will painfully rise. To put an end to this misery of remorse, a bucket list of things we ever wanted to do in life can change the meaning of our existence.

More importantly, the questions to ask are; have you found joy in your life? Has your life brought any joy to others?

In the end, when we will go to some final resting place, far away from the maddening noise of this world, we hope to wake up next to a certain wall with a gate, with a carter there waiting for us, vouching for our meaningful life and showing us the ropes on the other side of our invisible existence into infinity.

    The writer is a PhD in Information Technology, alumni of King’s College London and a social activist. He is life member of the Pakistan Engineering Council and senior international editor for IT Insight Magazine. He has authored two books titled Understanding Telecommunications and Living In The Grave and several research papers.