I've not seen the movie, but I hear that a 'bucket list' is a list of the things you'd like to do before you die--before you kick the proverbial bucket. This sounds like a great idea, to compile a list like this, right? Catchy name and all, but there is one problem: it theoretically leaves a person in a constant state of discontentment, always looking ahead to check the next thing off, always wishing the impossible dreams weren't so impossible after all. Alternately, if the bucket list one has compiled is reasonable and achievable, then what is left to life once everything on the list has been checked off? I've not made a bucket list, as you may have guessed, and I won't.
Instead, I would like to make a list (perhaps a heavily annotated one) of all the amazing and incredible things that I have already done. It is a list that can grow and be added to, rather than one that dwindles down to nothing while I wait to die. My list will come with many written stories, as rambling or concise as I want to make them, and when I am dead and gone, perhaps my grandchildren will read them and say, "Wow! I never knew Gram did that!" Or perhaps they won't care. Or perhaps they will read, but won't be overly impressed. No matter. I will have spent years of my life treasuring what I have done and have experienced and being grateful for all the wonderful opportunities I have had, instead of always wishing for something different.
I got to ride in a hot air balloon this weekend. ME! I went up in a balloon! In a beautiful high mountain valley with a checkerboard of farm land and pristine forests and a dark blue ribbon of a river snaking through it all, I floated on gentle breezes for nearly two hours! That's what brought this up for me. I must make a list and tell all the stories. It's not about creating a clever book that gets published, although I would love to do that one day; it's about making a record of my history. It's about expressing my gratitude. It's about reminding myself, when times are crazy and less than fun, that I've had an amazing ride. I've been so blessed. My life has been so rich.
When I kick the bucket, I want my family to know that I've had a full life. At the rate things have gone for the first forty years, my list will be huge. The collection of stories will provide bedtime material for a very long time.
I will begin my list here, and soon I will start writing all the stories, starting with my balloon ride, which is still with me, every time I close my eyes.
I need a name, though. I must admit, 'bucket list' is clever. What should mine be called? I'll move forward without a name for now. I don't have time to wait.
The List (a first installment and in no particular order):
riding in a hot air balloon
inner-tubing the Bitterroot River by the light of a full moon
riding The Route of the Hiawatha on my bicycle
camping out under the stars to watch the Perseid meteor shower all night
riding an ATV up to the top of a mountain at the peak of wildflower season
swimming against the current to a cave behind a waterfall
hiking in a rain forest
canoeing the Delaware River
looking out from the top floor of the Sears Tower in Chicago
crossing the Mississippi River on a very small, privately run ferry boat
smuggling Bibles into China
attending an Olympic event
night skiing in perfect diamond-dust powder
seeing Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables
hearing a concert at the Hollywood Bowl
falling in love and marrying
giving birth to my children
holding another woman's hand while she gave birth
riding a train across the country over Christmas
facing up to a pit bull that was determined to attack my daughter
riding in a helicopter
riding in a small propeller plane over a rain forest
swimming in the ocean
kayaking in Puget Sound at night
sailing in Puget Sound under strong winds
having a party in the middle of a frozen lake and watching the full moon rise
cross-country skiing across a frozen lake
making two dozen ice lanterns and lighting them all at once
visiting our national parks (so many!)
standing on a glacier in Alaska and admiring the blue ice
watching a bald eagle catch a fish out of the river
watching hoary marmots go sledding on a steep, snowy slope
riding giant waterslides
learning to ride a "wheelie" all the way down the street
competing in a two-man volleyball tournament and doing ok
riding a zip line into a lake
riding the sky tram up to the top of the mountain outside Palm Springs
riding every roller coaster I've ever met
running the bases at a major league ball park
climbing 'the big tree' over and over again as a kid
hiking across massive sand dunes
touring Hearst Castle
touring Malacanang Palace in Manila
riding a cable car all alone, all over San Francisco
staying up most of the night on Catalina Island
watching a double header baseball game from the very best seats at PGE Park
riding the BC Ferries to Pender Island and its environs
watching an entire night of Monty Python movies and sketches with friends
Ok, I need to stop for now, even though I've come nowhere near running out of items to list without much thought. Next up, the balloon story.
(True Confession: I closed this out, started to get up and do the dishes, then sat back down and doubled the size of the list.)
To Continue with Part Two, Click HERE.