I have a milestone birthday coming up in a few years, and I'm already wondering how I'll measure my life when I get there. Not by my children, since I don't have any. Not by possessions; one quickly realizes that they can come and go far too easily. By love? That's a tricky one. I've had quite a few -- enough to write a book about (we'll get back to this later) and my two failed marriages are hearty fodder for pretty hardcore counseling, should I ever seek it one day. And yet I consider myself fairly lucky in this regard; with only a couple of exceptions, I'd be thrilled to see my past loves show up if I were featured in a '50s This Is Your Life episode.
I am surrounded by friends who are among the kindest, most decent people living, as well as sisters and nieces whom I would choose to be my friends if I weren't related to them already. My parents would never win any awards for parenting, but I've gotten to that point in my life where I wouldn't trade them for anyone else's. Besides, they managed to keep me alive this long, right?
But managing to live this long is not enough reason to pat myself on the back, especially in today's world when how we're supposed to look and feel is what we used to at least 10 years ago. Thus I've decided -- finally -- to give myself much to look forward to and aspire for and write it all down in a bucket list.
In case you haven't heard the term before, it's a list of things you plan to do before you hit a predetermined age. I'd never bothered to draft one before because I was content to simply live and see what happens while I'm doing just that. After all, something interesting always happened. But now I've realized that I need to actually MAKE things happen in my life -- and that it's never too late to make anything until you actually can't.
So what would be on it? Somewhere on top would be learning how to ride a bicycle; every year I say I'll finally do this but somehow I always get distracted and put it off for the next. This would be the most physically-challenging item on my list, I'm certain. I have absolutely no desire to run a marathon, climb a mountain, bungee-jump, or hurl myself off a plane high up in the air. NONE. WHATSOEVER. And when I finally learn how to ride a bike there will be no finish lines or stopwatches involved. Instead, think of a green basket on the handlebar and in it, a cute terrier of some sort, a bouquet of daisies, and a warm French baguette (in my mind the terrier never bothers to eat the daisies or the bread, by the way).
There will be no possessions involved, for sure. It would be so nice to live in a quaint cottage with wood floors topped with slightly fraying rugs, a brick wall in the living room with lots of books on the shelves, and a small but fertile garden where I can sit outside in the Spring with my man and our dog and cat -- but in a way I have that already. It's the happy place I go to in my head when the world gets a bit too weary for words. Besides, I've decided that material things have no place in any bucket list I make because my tastes can and do change (except for the house I just described).
There will be lots of learning involved -- a lifetime of it, in fact. I want to go back to school, maybe for a Master's degree but definitely for lots of classes.There will also be relearning: I want to rediscover my old passions for art and photography. There will be certificates for professional makeup artistry and esthetics, too. And there will also be music; perhaps I'll finally learn how to play an acoustic guitar.
I will travel -- although I'd have to be completely honest here and admit that I'd require some degree of comfort while doing so. We're not talking a stay at the Four Seasons or some fancy private resort here -- but if I could afford either then, at least once in a while, then of course I would choose to (It's MY bucket list!). As long as I have access to air-conditioning in the summer and a clean bathroom at all times, I'm good. I hope that's not too unreasonable to ask for.
And finally there will be writing -- a book, in fact. Perhaps it will be a book consisting of short stories or essays, but most definitely it will be about love and loss and how if one had truly loved and been loved in return then everything in life would have been worth it. Because even now, without my bucket list in hand, I know that I've had a pretty good one. After all, I'm still forward-looking and learning (hoping) to love each day more than the last.
Bucket list on its way soon.