Munira Premji

Photo by Chris A. Hughes
Photo by Chris A. Hughes
January 25, 2013

Every couple of years, my daughter Sabrina and I would watch one of her favourite movies, “A Walk to Remember“.  It is a story of two high school students, played by Shane West and Mandy Moore, who are forced to interact with each other in a drama club.  In spite of their differences and personalities, they begin a relationship.  He finds out that she has a wish list and helps her make those wishes come true.  As their relationship progresses, she confides to him that she has terminal leukemia    He continues to fufill the wishes on her list, such as her wanting to be in two places at once and building her a telescope so she can see a comet.  He also fulfills her top wish of marrying her in the same chapel her parents got married in.  We eat a lot of popcorn when watching this movie to contain our emotion.  And then we talk about love and wish lists.

And then a few months ago, I was flipping channels and watched another movie, “The Bucket List“, about two terminally ill men, played by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, who escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a list of to-do’s they want to accomplish before they “kick the bucket” (die).   The movie made me laugh and cry.

Lately, I have been thinking about my own bucket list; of things I want to do with my life.  I have found this a tough exercise, because I am not quite ready to “kick the bucket”.  And then it occurred to me that it is healthy to dream big, whether you have cancer or not.  There is something wonderful and satisfying about designing your life and living the life you choose.

Since today is my birthday, I will share my evolving bucket list with you.  Some are practical and doable; others are wild and crazy.  And I’m okay with that.  Thomas Edison once said, “If we did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.”  I intend to astound myself!

My bucket list:

  • watch a baseball game at (1) Wrigley Field in Chicago, and (2) the new Yankee Stadium in New York
  • take a Mediterranean Cruise
  • write a book
  • go to a B.O.B. concert (or Rihanna, or Bruno Mars)
  • be on the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation Board of Directors
  • be an ambassador for stem cell transplant and research
  • watch Oprah Winfrey’s show in person
  • learn to swim well
  • skate on the Rideau Canal
  • learn to dance the salsa and merengue
  • record a CD of Qasidas (Central Asian devotional hymns)
  • continue my experiment with cooking
  • live in Florida for two months each year
  • be a speaker at TEDtalks
  • do my Masters in Organizational Development
  • have the Property Brothers design my home
  • go to Jamatkhana every day, mornings and evenings
  • meet the personalities I so admire, starting with Michelle Obama,  Dan Bylsma, Bill Gates, Ramin Karimloo, and others
  • do impromptu 30 minute coaching sessions with people on the streets of Toronto to showcase the value of coaching
  • organize an annual “Celebration of Life” day around the world for people to celebrate what’s great in their lives
  • show my husband every day how he is the best thing that has ever happened to me
  • redefine how people view cancer and cancer patients
  • be a cancer survivor so that I can see my kids get into the master’s programs of their choice, get married and live happily ever after.  I want to be around when Sabrina writes her best-seller book and when Shayne starts his own company, “Amani Capital”!

Upon reflection, I have always had a bucket list – just never called it that or committed it to writing.  Some of the accomplishments from the past include: walking on the Great Wall of China; climbing half-way up Mount Kilimanjaro; getting my coaching accreditation; peering over the Grand Canyon; recording two CDs; starting my own business; auditioning for the Wheel of Fortune, and volunteering for causes that matter to me.

It’s easy to live the status quo and say that you don’t have time to create and do the things on your bucket list.  I take inspiration from something I read in Life’s Little Instruction Book.  “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Louis Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein” .

So go ahead.  Create your own bucket list.  I dare you to design your life!


  • […] For inspiration, I looked at my bucket list from 2013: […]

  • Meenal , February 8, 2013

    Belated bday wishes…will remember and wish you on time next year and the following year and the following and following….. 😉

    • Premji Family , February 15, 2013

      love the focus on the many following years to come…….thanks!

  • Anonymous , January 30, 2013

    Happy belated birthday, Munira – I miss you so much, especially your coaching! It was a real inspiration to read your bucket list – a few weeks ago, I was reflecting on what I still wanted to do, and really struggled for ideas. Your list has inspired me. Be sure to add more to your list as you start to check some of the items off! 🙂 Love, Patti.

    • Premji Family , January 31, 2013

      Hi Patti! How wonderful it was to chat with you today. I so enjoyed our conversation – – there was so much to catch up on. Hopefully we can continue it again REAL SOON!

  • mylegacytoyou , January 28, 2013

    Dearest Munira,
    You look amazing…! Love your Things-to-Do list. (I won’t call it the “Bucket List” for knowing the author I expect more adventures to come in the future. You will not stop from there!) In line with your current list, let me join you in swimming, dancing, and writing. When I swim I will think of you. I will perfect my salsa steps for you. I will put together a collection of poems that you’ve been encouraging me to do for sometime. Let’s keep a track of each other’s progress and cheer us along the way… I remember your last birthday and how you were so excited and bubbly like a little kid. Your family at Sanofi was there, and with such eloquence and flair you expressed how each one of us enriched your life. You turned your shining eyes on me to say that I was your friend, confidante, and best work buddy, when it was my turn. To date, I treasure your words Munira…and the mental picture of your glowing self. Your greatest gift is the ability to make everyone around you feel special. Thank you for caring so much. Happy belated birthday!
    Love you.

    • Anonymous , January 28, 2013

      Deva! Did you notice the necklace in the picture – – its the one you made for me! I am so thrilled that you will put a collection of your poems in a book as part of your list – – I will be first to buy it – – you are one gifted poet! Thanks for reminding me about my birthday last year – – it brought back strong memories and wonderful emotion. I love you dearly, Munira

  • Anonymous , January 27, 2013

    You are beautiful and will always be:) happy birthday to you Munira! Many many more to come..may Allah shower you with excellent health, happiness and success. Amen.
    Ps always look forward to reading your blogs:)
    You are absolutely inspirational. I’m actually starting to think about my bucket list. Btw, I have seen both the movies you mentioned.

    • Anonymous , January 27, 2013

      Aren’t those great movies? Please share your bucket list with me when you have thought about it – – I would love to see it! Thank you for your wonderful wishes and prayers. I feel very blessed!

  • rashida , January 26, 2013

    A happy belated birthday….may all your wishes come true 🙂
    A beautiful picture…although we have not met…I always read your blogs and follow your progress….you are amazing…may Mowla grant you the strength and health to achieve all that you wish for..ameen.
    My one wish is to meet you personally….soooon 🙂
    My prayers and warm wishes always for you and your beautiful supportive family (what a blessing).
    Vancouver B.C.

    • Anonymous , January 27, 2013

      I would love to meet you in person as well Rashida! Thank you for your kind words, your support and your encouragement.

  • Nimira , January 26, 2013

    Happy Birthday Munira! You look great and your wonderful spirit really comes through it all your blogs. Wishing you many happy returns and many, many happy birthdays. all the very best always – Nimira

    • Anonymous , January 27, 2013

      Dearest Nimira – – I am so ready for a visit with you! What days and times work for you? It would be great to catch up. Thank you for your birthday wishes!

  • Mina -Vancouver , January 26, 2013

    Happy Birthday Munira, Best wishes and prayers for your good health, long life and success in all your ventures and of course your bucket list, you will do it, You Are a Survivor, go for it. Take care and God Bless

    • Anonymous , January 27, 2013

      Hi Mina – – I would love to know what’s in your bucket list! Thank you for your heartfelt wishes and prayers. What a survivor you are!

  • Yasmin jiwani , January 26, 2013

    Happy Birthday, Munira, and may you have many more. Thank you for sharing your blog with us. I am very touched by your courage and inspiration. May Mowla fulfil all your wishes. Ameen.
    Yasmin 🙂

    • Anonymous , January 27, 2013

      Hi Yasmin! Thanks so much for the birthday wishes. I feel blessed because everywhere I look I find courageous and inspiritational people – like you – around me!

  • Anonymous , January 26, 2013

    Happy Birthday Munira and I say that with a lot of respect as I can only imagine you as Mukhiani Maa at Willowdale, which is where I would see you when I came there occasionally.

    I can fulfil one of your wishes. I could teach you to be a better swimmer. I am in Dar at the moment and will be returning home to Toronto first week of March. Please let’s touch base and work on crossing this off your bucket list. I live in a Condo and we have a pool there. I used to be a swimming instructor at the Aga Khan Primary School in Nairobi when I was 18 and at that time “showed off” my students to Begum Salima when she visited. I still swim and would love to share that passion with you.

    I read Sabrina’s blog about the visa line up at the airport and could totally relate to what she was saying. As I have been here to Dar a few times now, I know what to expect and just take everything in stride, like needing a generator at our head office here so I can send you this e-mail.

    Take care.


    • Anonymous , January 27, 2013

      What an incredible offer Naz! I am floored! Yes, I accept with gratitude! Hopefully, I will be out of the hospital and my hickman line will be removed by the first week of March so we can start swimming lessons. Thank you for giving me something wonderful to look forward to! Much love, Munira

  • Anonymous , January 25, 2013

    Happy Birthday, May Mowla fulfill all your wishes especially the ones on your bucket list. Ameen.

    Tasnim, Nizar Faiz and Gulbanoo Habib

    • Premji Family , January 26, 2013

      ya ali habib family! how are you? i spoke to afzal today and it was so fantastic to get reconnected! thank you for remembering me today. i so appreciate your wishes and your prayers. Special hug to mamaa!

  • Dilshad Nathoo , January 25, 2013

    A very very Happy Birthday to you Ms. Sweet 16 cause baby that’s what you look like in this photo. Young, vibrant, gorgeous, beautiful, happy and full of life!!!
    And by the way….the bucket list you have just shared, well for YOU my dear, everything on that list is possible.
    May your life be filled with lots of good health, happiness and fulfillment of all the things on your bucket list. Ameen!! This is my birthday prayer for you today and always.

    With all our love,
    Arif, Dilshad, Nareesa and Tahara

    • Premji Family , January 26, 2013

      actually i do feel 16 sometimes! you are good for my ego and my soul dilshad! now, with your proclamation, i totally plan to make that bucket list a reality! thank you for your birthday prayers. i accept them with gratitude.

  • Narmeen , January 25, 2013

    Many many many happy returns of day and prayers for good health and long life
    I admire you for your courage

    • Premji Family , January 26, 2013

      thanks so much for your prayers and support narmin!

  • Anonymous , January 25, 2013

    Happy Birthday Beautiful Munira… Sending wishes of endless love, happiness and joy in your life. I can’t wait to hear how much of your bucket list you have checked off by your next birthday. You continue to inspire always!

    • Premji Family , January 26, 2013

      dearest renee! ok we have to get together! are you back from florida? what is your week looking like next week? i have a clinc appt on wednesday and chemo on friday we cld get together any other day. i do miss you!

  • Shyrose Visram , January 25, 2013

    YAM, Love this picture of yours! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!!! I hope the coming year brings Peace, Happiness, Contentment, Great Health, Barakaat and many wishes on your Bucket List!!!! Ameen…. Love and Hugs, Shyrose. P.S. I am the one who sent you that quote about how The Will Of God will not take me, Where the Grace of God wont protect me.

  • Anonymous , January 25, 2013


    Happy Birthday to you, may all your dreams and wishes come true, ameen! You will definetly be there for Sabrina’s wedding and also do the opening ceremony for Shayne’s “Amani Capital” guess what!!!!!!! you will also be running around those grandkids and spoiling them rotten before you send them back to their parents. Munira, I too have a “bucket list” and my first wish would be to meet you in person, you have been my inspiration, I look at life differently now and sincerely admire you for that, it has made such a difference in my life. I will check out the movies too!
    Saira Nasirdin

    • Premji Family , January 26, 2013

      thanks saira. from your mouth to god’s ears! i have so much to live for and hope that the treatment is successful. your support has meant the world to me!

  • Anonymous , January 25, 2013

    Mukianima, you look just beautiful in today’s picture. Wish you a very happy birthday and many many happy returns of the day! Our sincere prayers for you and your family on this special day – may Allah grant you ALL that you’ve ever wished for and much much more, and may He always remain at your side.
    Lots of love from

    Shamim & Zul

    • Premji Family , January 26, 2013

      Hi Shamim and Zul! How are you? I have not seen you in while and miss those hugs! I so appreciate all your prayers….

  • Anonymous , January 25, 2013

    Happy Birthday, and Many Many more to come1
    You’ll be able to achieve these and do a grand old job!!!
    Beautiful photo … keep smiling… lots of hugs!

    • Anonymous , January 27, 2013

      I can’t stop smiling! Plan to work toward that lofty bucket list!

  • Anonymous , January 25, 2013

    Happy Birthday …. and Many Many More to Come!!!!
    I know you’ll be able to acheive these things, and you’ll do a grand job of them TOO !!!!!!
    Keep smiling…. beautiful photo. lots of hugs xoxo

    • Premji Family , January 26, 2013

      thank you so much for taking the time to write anonymous! the picture is from a photoshoot i did this morning by a friend from “The Nerds World” i have not been able to stop smiling today!

  • Shehnaaz Mohamed , January 25, 2013

    Happy birthday and may all your wishes come true. I saw the movie “bucket list” a few years ago and it is one of the movies that you never forget.
    Good luck with your bucket list and i’m sure you will accomplish it and will add more to it. I can see you doing that.
    Don’t think we thanked you yet for the invite- but we had a great time at your place for your annual shin dig, wish we could have stayed for longer.
    Hope Sabrina is having a good time in Dar- I’m very jealous- and it’s so cool that she is doing work there.

    • Premji Family , January 26, 2013

      hi shehnaz! beautiful day today – – spent it with nagib! birthdays are meant to be celebrated and be one week events! it was really great to host your family at out home. i skyped with sabrina today and she is having a grand, old time doing work that is meaningful for her

  • Anonymous , January 25, 2013

    Munira, First of all a very happy birthday to you, may all your dreams and wishes come true,
    Ameen! I see you doing all the above things, you will definetly see Sabrina getting married,and you will do the opening ceremony for Shayne’s “Amani Capital” and guess what!!! you will also be running arounds those grand kids and spoiling them rotten
    !! Munira I too have a “bucket list” my first one would be to meet you in person, you have been such an inspiration in my life! I really admire you. I will rent those movies and watch them too!! popcorn not to sure lol!!! maybe pizza! Have a great day dear! Saira Nasirdin.

    • Premji Family , January 26, 2013

      hello saira says! would love to hear from you about what you thought of the movies. great to hear from you! i had an amazing day today, chemo and all! bit anxious about my ct results and upcoming stem cell transplant mowla obviously wants me to experience a whole lot more stuff! enjoy the weekend!

  • Anonymous , January 25, 2013

    First let me say “HAPPY BIRTHDAY”! Do you remember what you were doing on your birthday last year? I do.

    I agree with Julie, I can see you doing everything on your bucket list too. Having said that, I’m thinking I need a coach. No anyone? ha ha ha


    • Premji Family , January 26, 2013

      i so remember my birthday at sanofi and the surprise food and goodies! life was so simple then. call me about coaching!

  • Carmella , January 25, 2013

    You are so right. We take for granted that each day is a gift and we shouldn’t waste it but plan to live our lives to the fullest. Fulfill those dreams, reach for the stars and embrace life. I’ve also done a few on my bucket list and still have a great deal more. I know you will get to all those on your list. Would love to be with you at a taping of the fabulous Oprah!!! It’s on my list too!!!

    Keep laughing we need your voice!

    • Premji Family , January 26, 2013

      ok its a date! i hear oprah will be in edmonton and calgary in the next week or so! would love to hear more about your bucket list. and i hope to attend the big picture seminar if i am well

  • Vanessa Orr , January 25, 2013

    Happy birthday, Munira! You are as amazing as ever and I have no doubt that you will do these things and many more! Vanessa

    • Premji Family , January 26, 2013

      hi vanessa – thank you for believing in me! hope you are doing so well and life is unfolding for you as it should……

  • Julie Nunes , January 25, 2013

    Gorgeous photo! I can see you doing everything on that list and then some.

    • Premji Family , January 26, 2013

      i like your spunk. its contagious!

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