Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Like the Bucket List, Only Different--Very Different

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.


Mister Ed T said...

How about "Basket List!" You keep adding to it like a basked of flowers.

I'm old enough to start having "bucket list" thoughts.

My autobiographs, close to done, sort of, is a bit like your list. Needs more work though.

Amber said...

You are my hero. :)

alison said...

I really enjoyed, "riding every roller coaster I ever met." That made me smile.

Sherry C said...

To quote They Might Be Giants: "

So either I'm dead and I still haven't done anything that I want, or I'm still alive and there's nothing I want to do."