Monday, January 14, 2008

The Bucket List

This past weekend, Alice and I went to see The Bucket List. For those of you not familiar with the concept of the movie, know that a “Bucket List,” as the film coins it, is a list of things one wants to accomplish before “kicking the bucket.” It was a heartwarming enough movie, but that’s not what I want to focus on in this post.
I want to focus a bit more on those things we want to experience and accomplish in life.

The summer after graduating from high school, at the suggestion of a friend who’d also graduated that year, I made a “bucket list” of my own. I might still have the list around here somewhere. I remember finding it a few years ago and checking off a few items, laughing at the ridiculousness of others. Anyway, the point is that I never go back to that list unless I randomly come across it when I'm moving...again. All those well-intentioned goals that my 18 year old self could muster just aren’t at the forefront of my mind, anymore.

Which isn’t to say I don’t have an informal bucket list mulling around somewhere in my brain--things I never write down--other things which I am sometimes painfully aware I desire. But somewhere along the way I’ve become more laissez faire about what happens in my life. It's as if I've said: Education. Check. Landed the job. Check, check. If an opportunity happens to nudge me, I typically bite. But this "something’s rotten in the state of Denmark" kind of feeling has been nibbling at me since finishing college, and I think it might be that I’m no longer actively going after goals with a specific game plan. These days, my life functions in routines. And so the week goes on and Monday bends into Tuesday which slides into Wednesday and so on. I spend my days yearning for weekends or dreading the ends of weekends. And one day looks not much different than any other.

Now, thanks to the late, great John Lennon, we all know that life is what happens to us when we’re busy making other plans. And old Johnny boy nailed that sucker on the head if ever something were nailed on the head. Because, plan as we might, life is what it is. And sometimes that means sacrificing that list of goals we wrote when we were 18.

I have a friend in her late 30’s that never married or went to law school like she wanted. She currently is guardian to her niece and nephew; and she, along with her sister, cares for her elderly parents. Yes, it is not entirely too late for her. But I see this kind of thing happen all the time. Priorities shift. Sometimes, the people in our life need us more than our dreams do.

I guess that is the way it is with dreams. They are of a fickle stuff and accomplishing them requires a desire stronger than any other distraction.

I am still not sure which camp I reside in—if I am pro-bucket list or pro-living one day at a time. I think I teeter somewhere in between. After all, if I remember anything about that first list I made the summer after high school, it is this: the last goal I wrote on that list read, “Allow this list to change as I do.” Perhaps that allowance for life's everpresent change is the trick.


Blackeyedsue said...

Talk about food for thought.

I don't really think too much about my dreams. I am kind of living my big one right now. I think once the poopy diapers and the sleepless nights and my days as a kid-driver are over, I will start the dreaming again. For now I am focused on three little peoples dreams and their daddy's dream.

Oh, I just thought of one, DH is taking me to Italy for our 15-year anniversary. That will be in four years. Then my dreams will all be crossed off.

I guess I need to make a new list.

LovingTheChaos said...

Very interesting post.

My therapist says I need to start wanting things again. She wants me to create a "bucket list" of sorts of all the things I want in life, hope to attain, people to have in my life, etc...the key, she says, is not being too attached to any of it....just putting it out there for the universe to provide...sort of thing.

Anyway...I sat down and started my list. I ended up having a good 1/2 hour with myself dreaming of what possibilities are out there for me. I started to think about things I hadn't thought in quite some time. It all felt good...then I said..."if it happens great...if not...what fun it was thinking of it."

I think to have the list is important for progression of the soul...and to work on it slowly and steadily. I like how you put the always changing piece to it. :)

Love ya

The Rookie said...

Sue, hurray for Italy! Also, this dream you're living is the biggest dream of all. Hands down. :)

Chaotic Sister, dear--I am glad you're going through that activity...sounds like you've got a keeper of a therapist.

Alice said...

Wow. So much to think about. I don't think that I have ever had an official "bucket list". However, there are a few things that have always been something I have wanted or kind of expected I would do. Maybe that is wrong of me?

I appreciate the "allow this list to change as I do". Essential for all of us.

Thanks friend.

Adele said...

My bucket list today is so simple and simple-minded -- I have to get rid of my big bucket or else!! So I'm back on the starvation trail, for the sake of my business, etc.
Kind of tiring to hear, isn't it?