Recently, I was having lunch with a good friend. We talked about the usual things – her family and mine, our current pursuits, and our upcoming plans. As I was sharing with her what I’d like to do, I realized that I have a ‘bucket list’. I never thought of my list of things I’d like to explore as that. And I know that my list is exactly that.
I don’t really like that term. I know that it comes from the idea of listing all the things any of us would like to do before ‘we kick the bucket’ – shuffle off this mortal coil, leave permanently – however you’d like to put it. Yet, for me, ‘bucket’ brings to mind ashes of burnt out dreams and the detritus of living – like so much junk and residue of living which has been collected until such time as it can be thrown out. And, to me, no matter how pretty the bucket might be decorated, it is still something which gets kicked around and away from being underfoot. It’s a repository for everything we promise ourselves we will do when there is enough time and/or money to do it. Then we go on with our daily lives and forget about our list until, occasionally, we might sit down and think about it and say to ourselves, “Oh, yeah! I would really like to do that.” Or we get stuck in enumerating everything else in our lives which must take precedence and, in doing that, we are not honouring ourselves and putting ourselves first in our lives: as if we just don’t matter enough to ourselves. And even while we put our wishes on hold, we keep adding more to the bucket.
And I’m remembering the woman who shared my mother’s semi-private room in the oncology ward in the hospital. She and her husband had put all the travelling they had wanted to do on hold until their children were grown and the husband had retired. Once both of those conditions were met, they would finally do what they had always wanted to do. And it never happened. Oh, their children were grown and out on their own crafting lives of their own, and the husband finally retired. And then this woman fell and broke her hip. Once she was in the hospital, tests were done and she was diagnosed with bone cancer. She never got to live out her dreams. I remember seeing her husband’s face when he spoke of all that they had not done together and all that they would not now be able to do together. There was such sadness in his eyes.
This week, I finally wrote down my ‘bucket list’. I put it on paper and have put it up in my study so that I can see it each day as I sit down to work. It’s in plain view. And I’ve started to whittle away at it. I’m not going to live my life with interests unexplored, creativity not tried, gardens not seen, cathedrals not toured, shopping not done, travelling not done, performances not experienced. I’ve finally asked myself, “What am I waiting for?” – winning the lottery, someone else’s permission, a sign from on high that it’s okay to put myself first?
The only thing that can keep me from doing the things on my bucket list is me and the belief I’ve held that I don’t matter and that I don’t have the right to do what I want when I want to do it. Just like I did when I decided to go to Decloaking™ in New Glasgow when I knew that I had to do what I knew was for ME, I’m choosing ME now.
And it’s time to delve into my bucket list. Can’t wait to write about what I experience.