Published on April 18th, 2016 | by Lesley Paul0
Living My Bucket List
I am a list maker. My desk is littered with sticky notes, the note section of my phone is packed with “things to do” and I put reminders in my phone calendar. I make grocery lists, “honey-do” lists for my husband and packing lists for my kids when we go on vacation. But I do not have a “bucket list”.
“Bucket list”: a list of things that one has not done but wants to do before dying.
An Internet search will reveal hundreds of “bucket list” ideas of exotic places to visit, marathons to run, lessons to teach, foods to eat, skills to acquire or mountains to climb. Everyone should create and aim to complete a “bucket list”. It’s a way to ensure we live our lives to the fullest. Or is it?
A cancer patient who is given a terminal diagnosis may be told to make a “bucket list”. At some point in our lives we might feel it’s time to start getting something accomplished in life other than the traditional education, employment, marriage, and family routine. A bucket list may be a way to deal with this mid-life crisis.
When I was young, I was certain that I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was going to be a fashion designer, was going to write a best selling novel and maybe run a restaurant. In high school, my goals became a little more realistic: accountant, novelist (again) and pharmacist, the latter being my final landing spot. I was also going to be a career woman; working until my mind told me I would need to quit.
But, then I got married, got a dog and had two wonderful children. This was not part of my “story”, but it seemed to be the path that life was supposed to follow at that time…or was it?
My “story” has taken me to the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, the Alps and the desert. I have travelled through much of Europe and even lived there for a year. I am not a professional athlete, but I have completed three triathlons and three marathons. I have run a successful business. I have a wonderful family and lots of friends. My life is full.
But every once in a while life takes a turn that is unexpected and priorities change. Dreams and ambitions that once shaped my entire being aren’t broken but they have been altered. No longer is my career my focus. My family is the center of my life.
Some may say that life can get in the way of our hopes and dreams, but I like to think that at some point life becomes more of a “refocus”. Sometimes it may be an opportunity that arises, or an unexpected change that shapes the path that we travel. Sometimes we have to choose the other direction of the fork in the road.
So I ask myself: how can I create a “bucket list” when I have no idea when I am going to “kick the bucket”. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of activities I hope to complete before my last day, but life is too short to stress over it or another list!
For now I will continue to enjoy the time that I have on this earth dealing with the opportunities and challenges as they arise. Although my story looks very different than the one I wrote three decades ago, it is still a happy one. And it does not include a “bucket list”.