By Regena Handy
Ever since Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson did the movie, people have been talking about it. The bucket list. You know what I’m talking about, of course, whether or not you’ve seen the movie—the things you want to do before you “kick the bucket.”
I made one myself when I retired. Listed at least 50 items. I think I’ve marked off maybe two of them. Obviously not making much progress considering I retired in 2007. At this rate, I’ll need to live until about 2200 or until I’m 250 years old. Don’t see that happening.
It’s interesting to hear what other people have on their own list. Close friends recently reserved a convertible to drive the Florida coast to Key West. Was just one of the things on our bucket list, they said.
Social media is full of pictures of trips or accomplishments that are often cited as part of such a list. A lovely young woman that I know recently posted her list: perfect husband, check; perfect job, check; perfect house, check. I smiled when I read her note, hoping her fortunate husband had put a very big check on his list for a wife with a grateful, positive attitude.
Just for the fun of it, I purchased a book about creating your own list. (It was on sale, really cheap.) I was simply curious as to what others would suggest.
To me, some of the listings were funny or even silly. Wear something that would normally embarrass you in public. Shucks, I do that every time I go to Walmart. How about this one? Create your own superhero persona. Already enough delusional people in the world doing that one, I think. Bless their heart. Then there’s the suggestion to pull a really fun all-nighter. I was never an all-nighter kind of girl but these days going to bed early with a good book sounds fun to me.
Several suggestions did appeal to me, however. Drive or take Amtrak cross-country. Have one of my novel-length manuscripts published. Visit Ireland. Learn to play the autoharp. (Okay, I added that last one.)
Out of curiosity, I polled several acquaintances. There were simple responses such as to go trout fishing again and the wistful “see the White Cliffs of Dover but I don’t fly”.
The majority of my contemporaries want to travel and gave answers as vague as “see the world” to specifically “visit Yellowstone during the winter when there is snow on the ground.” One person said they’d never ridden a roller coaster. Whew, now there’s one I’ve done and can mark off. Several times over, in fact.
As expected, the younger generation’s list is more ambitious. Go to college. Get married. Have children. Own my own home. Have a successful career that I enjoy. Have my own business. I am cheered to realize I’ve attained many of their aspirations and perhaps my personal list of accomplishments is not so meager after all.
As you know, you can find anything on the internet, so I Googled the most popular bucket list items. Skydiving and bungee jumping ranked high. Run a marathon. Swim with dolphins. The one that especially appealed to me was to set foot on all seven continents.
We’ve all heard the saying that it’s not the things we did that we regret, it the things we didn’t do. I don’t know if that’s true, for surely most people have some regret over past decisions. But I do think most of us also regret the opportunities we missed. You know how we can all talk ourselves out of things. Too busy, too expensive, too far away, too cold, too hot, etc.
So what’s on your bucket list? Just maybe its time to check off a few more of those items. Or a lot of them. Like the book I bought said, “Let’s get started, there is living yet to be done.”