Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Do you have a bucket list?

I was searching for something today and came across this column I wrote for my Mom Moments column. Just thought I'd share it as everyone is making lists of resolutions. :) It's from the Times on 2/13/11.

The bucket list is on my to-do list

Do you have a bucket list? Everyone should have one, I’m told. But I don’t. It’s not that making a list is that hard. It’s not that I'm lacking possible entries. I’m just still a little unclear on what to put on it. And it seems like it would need to be updated often. As you go about life, things change and your priorities change.

I had never heard the term until a few years ago when I watched a movie of that name that starred Morgan Freeman (one of my very favorite actors) and Jack Nicholson. The two men, who met in the hospital, became friends as they shared the contents of their bucket list (the list of things to do before you kick the bucket.) The two terminally ill patients set off to fulfill their wishes on a road trip.

I figure there’s a few ways you could go about it. Would you list the things you’d like to do and are easily attainable? Say, walking a 5K. Or things that you know are extremely unlikely and that you would find admirable, but would take a miracle for you to accomplish? Like running a marathon. Does writing them down make them more likely to happen? Or is it supposed to just be a huge wish list of what you dream could be if money were no object, there was no accountability and there were no roadblocks to prevent them from becoming reality?

I’d like to learn to play an instrument, but right now there’s not the time or motivation for it. So, do I write that one down or keep it off the current bucket list and put it on my retirement bucket list? How many bucket lists should you have anyway?

There are trips I’d like to take, topics I’d like to publish books on, skills I’d like to learn. There are things I wish I would have done, but the opportunity has passed, like wishing I’d had the nerve to wear a bikini back when I was a size 4, which I completely realize I will never be again.

I kind of feel like creating a list would make me feel pressure to get it done. The last thing I need right now is another “to-do” list of items that aren’t getting checked off. Maybe it’s something that needs to be done in baby steps. Write down one thing, accomplish it and then set a new goal. I kind of feel like looking down the line trying to be something you don’t feel like you can really be can be discouraging. And that’s not really what a bucket list is supposed to do. It’s supposed to foster encouragement and drive to do what’s out of your comfort zone.

I kind of like my comfort zone. I’m comfortable with where I am now and kind of enjoy the rollercoaster of not really knowing what comes next or if it will be something I can cross off my list. Being a mom means preparing for the worst and embracing the best – and knowing when the throw the plan out the window and just go with the flow. I think I’d rather go with the flow, than trying to change the flow. Maybe I’m just thinking too much into this.

For now creating the bucket list is something that has remained on the to-do list. Not the “to-do-before-I-die list” that is intended to be the bucket list, but the to-do list of chores. You know, the list of things you really don’t want to do. It’s wedged in between cleaning behind the refrigerator and re-organizing the sock drawer. It’s one of the things you kind of should do when you get around to it, but there’s no immediate rush. I’m in no rush to rush to do more before I die. Right now I think I’ll just live it as it comes, savor it and take what happens to be waiting around the next corner.

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