Honestly, it never occurred to me to have one, a bucket list, that is.
A few days ago across my Instagram feed I read that a friend’s young son crossed two items off of his bucket list: riding an elephant and zip-lining through the Panamanian jungle. I must admit, I am impressed. Then earlier today, while skimming my newsfeed, the following headline caught my eye: “Woman adopts dying dog, treats him to bucket list.” Really? A dog gets a bucket list? As part of his doggy bucket list, Chester (that is his name), the fourteen-year-old hospice dog, received extra treats, oatmeal baths, and a photo shoot. Go Chester! Of course he has a Facebook Page, from where I gleaned much of this information, and also learned that Chester passed away a few hours ago. R.I.P., beloved dog!
I have spent the entire day perched in front of my laptop reading and then analyzing early twentieth century literature (um yes, B-O-R-I-N-G)! I wrote three critical analysis essays, and appropriately MLA-cited all of them. I think I may just have nodded off telling you this. Anyway, because I am taking an online course, my teacher (Dr. Professor) emailed me (I have yet to meet him). He stated that because I am doing proficiently in his class, he will not be giving me much feedback and that he will be leaving me alone. ALONE? Let me tell you that being left alone with authors such as Tennessee Williams, T.S. Eliot and Willa Cather can do. Reading their sad, bleak stories, plays or poems, after sad, bleak story, play or poem can flip one’s sad and melancholy switch! My switch is definitely flipped. My mind is filled with thoughts like the old farmer who drops dead alone at his farm and the most hopeless and dysfunctional Glass-Menagerie family. My head is spinning and my brain is all a-fluster.
Moments ago I decided to take a break and take the boys to dinner. They ate. I bought a salad. And as we walked home, Kyle reached out, grabbed my hand and asked,
“Mom is something wrong?”
“Nope. Just homework brain.” I said and continued, “my brain is in the zone, the super focused homework zone. And if I leave it, it is really hard to find it again.” We all laughed and continued walking. They get it. And I think Kyle and I are as determined as I am for me to graduate. As a mother, I want to finish this goal once and for all. I need to show them that they can accomplish anything too (rule the world).
Wait a minute.
Doesn’t graduating from college qualify as a bucket list item? OMG, I have been bucket-listing and I didn’t even know it.
I was curious. What is a bucket list? And really, I thought bucket lists were for humans, more specifically, humans who are currently terminal (dying). We all saw the movie, right? And the movie’s IMDB synopsis clearly supports as much: “Two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die.” I actually thought bucket lists began as the things you want to accomplish when you are close to death (terminal). I am happy to report that the idea of a bucket list has morphed its way through our cultural lexicon. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a bucket list is “a list of things that a person hopes to experience or achieve during his or her lifetime.” Fantastic!
There is absolutely nothing out of the ordinary about dying dogs or adventurous young boys making a list of their own. (Ok. In truth, I am still confused about the dog.)
As of now, I believe that we have established that graduating from college should be on my bucket list, right? That being said, completing such a perfunctory goal feels well, perfunctory, a to-do list, if you will. If I wrap my head around say the movie-version of a Bucket List than the entire concept moves from to-do to fun. Get it? I also realized (after writing this and while on a walk with Kyle) that there is a correlation to bucket lists and stating your intention. Remember that super popular book (from 2006), The Secret? Wikipedia reminds me that The Secret “is based on the law of attraction and claims that positive thinking can create life-changing results such as increased happiness, health, and wealth.” Maybe the lady who wrote the book (Rhonda Byrne) stole a little from the idea of a bucket list. Simply put, a bucket list, like The Secret (as cheesy as it may sound), is just another way of putting it out there. When you list (or state your intention), crazy impossible seeming things, like riding an elephant in Southeast Asia, or graduating from college, actually happen.
Reach big and all I must admit that I have always felt a little uncomfortable stating my intentions. And then when I shake the silly insecurity out of me, I see that a bucket list is a really healthy and fun way to give our life purpose. I believe that everyone deserves to dream crazy big, and that every one deserves to achieve their dreams! So why not bucket list? Ok. I think I will. Without much effort I know that at the top of my bucket list is travel, (which I think most people know even if I have not statement my intention out loud — wink, wink). I wish I could be more specific regarding travel (and I will try). The truth is, if I am exploring a new place, I feel like I have accomplished the impossible. Does that make sense? And then my random wanderlust begs the question,
“can you retroactively add things to your bucket list? I say, yes. Absolutely! Why not?”
Before I state mine (or retroactively adjust mine — wink, wink), what are your bucket list dreams? Maybe I could steal some of them. I am completely open to suggestions and thank you!
Beth’s Bucket List:
- [check] Hawaii
- All of the Hawaiian Islands (so close — still need Molokai and Lanai)
- Paris/stand at the top of the Eiffel Tower (this is my true, little-girl-dreams-bucket-list item and we are going there next month)
- Graduate from college (you know I have to do this. I am very very close.)
- Visit Rome and Giolitti (truth be told, this will be a revolving door bucket list item)
- Ride an elephant (in honor of a very adventurous young man)
- Travel to Southeast Asia: Singapore, Viet Nam (river cruise) and Thailand
- China, Thailand, and Taiwan
- Iceland (longboarding there like Walter Mitty because the boys want me to — and of course visit Christian and Mallory)
- Peru and Machu Picchu
- Climbing to the top of Mt. Timpanogos, Utah
- Remain standing while riding a surfboard (in Hawaii, of course)
- Australia and New Zealand (go to the place Hobbits and Elves lived — ah-hem, or filmed a movie)
- Waterski on Lake Minnetonka (hometown goal)
- Travel via land and or sea through the Fjords in Norway
- Vist the Hotel Koener in Luxembourg because I am related to the owners.
- Ski in the Dolomites (for Eli)
- Live overseas (Asia or Europe, specifically France)
- Canoe the Boundary Waters, Minnesota
- Go to the Faroes Islands because Matthew Workman makes them seem very cool.
- Visit Mont Saint Michel, France
- Visit Every state in the U.S. (getting close)
- Africa (I am a little nervous about a safari, but will do it for Dave and the boys)
- A Mediterranean Cruise (I think. In theory I really want to do this. Maybe just visit the Mediterranean.)
- Climb to the highest point of every major place we visit.
- Get Sponsored for travel writing (Kyle gave me this one. What a great and supportive kid.)
Then I asked Dave to give me his bucket list. I love it. I am glad we are married, because his list is really cool.
Dave’s Bucket List:
- [check]Visit the world’s cheapest Michelin Starred restaurant (Tim Ho Wan, Hong Kong)
- [check][check] Stay in the world’s tallest hotel and swim in the world’s highest swimming pool: (currently The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong)
- [check] Travel around the continent in a VW camper van
- Fly around the world (in first class, stopping along the way)[beth here. I am happy to participate in this list item]
- Raft the Grand Canyon
- Visit Cappadocia and other sights in Turkey
- Own (or subscribe to) a self-driving car
- Hike the Inca Trail (Dude, I just learned that the Inca Trail goes to Machu Picchu. How cool is that? Dave and I can combine list items.)
- Glacier National Park chalet hiking
- Mountain bike from Telluride to Moab
- Travel around the continent (again) in a better camper than a VW.
- Do the “island hopper” between Honolulu and Guam
- Stay in an overwater bungalow in Asia somewhere
- Go on an African wildlife safari
- Visit all the National Parks in the system (half way there)