29 August, 2013

The Bucket List, Part I

Several of my blogging colleagues have been writing about "bucket lists" - those lists of things you want to do at least once before you die. They have me thinking, but I remain uncertain about having such a list. First, I don't intend to die. Ever. Second, it somehow sounds unappreciative of all that I have been allowed to experience in this wonderful world - that it isn't enough.

"My goodness" is the expression that comes to mind when I consider the array - the places I've seen, things I've done, people I've met. I probably can't even remember it all - although much of it might not have been on a bucket list to begin with. It just happened along the way.

My list MIGHT have had any of the following: walk on the Salisbury Plain and gaze upon Stonehenge; view the rose windows in the transepts of Notre Dame; raise children; take the train from London to Paris through the "Chunnel;" drive across the Golden Gate Bridge; take a flight in a hot air balloon; view the golden mask of Tutankhamun's mummy; design and construct a house; earn a Ph.D.; climb a tall lighthouse; drive the length of the Blue Ridge Parkway; go to the top of the Empire State Building; love a woman; take-off and land an airplane; get catapulted from an aircraft carrier; land on an aircraft carrier; pilot a plane doing barrel rolls, spirals, and loops; Rome; Florence; Venice; descend hundreds of feet into a salt mine; see the White Cliffs of Dover; walk through the ruins of Pompeii; visit the Berlin Wall; see a play on Broadway; go to the Grand Old Opry; have an evening tour of the White House and look into the Oval Office. I'm not going to mention concerts I just had to see or the famous folks with whom I've met.

I do, however, want to emphasize that "might." I'm certain that if I were making a bucket list when I was thirty, some of these experiences would not have been on it. After all, the things I've done could go on and on, but at some point it becomes simply a list of very special experiences that I might not have actually selected for a bucket list when I was younger. In reviewing that list, I have to admit I'm not quite sure where that transition lies.

And that has me wondering about the rules for bucket lists. It doesn't seem to have existed as a term until the 2007 Rob Reiner movie The Bucket List. "The main plot follows two terminally ill men (portrayed by Nicholson and Freeman) on their road trip with a wish list of things to do before they 'kick the bucket.' " In that context, the list isn't made until later in life when, in retrospect, you realize time is getting short and there is a lot of life you never got around to. So ... I'm left to wonder if you can have such a list when you're younger.

Then again, I'm not younger. I'm half way through my 60s, and I guess I am getting to that point. Perhaps it is time for a list, time to focus, time to find the joy.

But not today. Stay tuned.
See also The Bucket List, Part II