Thursday, October 15, 2015

Re-thinking the Bucket List

            The idea of a bucket list has always caused me concern. It’s not that thinking about the completion date of said list bothers me. Rather, it’s that it smacks of a sort of desperation, of things that must be done before that deadline (no pun intended). Like, “Before I die, I have to hike the Pacific Crest Trail . . . visit the Taj Mahal . . . write a bestseller.”  Also, to me, a bucket list suggests something finite. Each time we check off an item, we empty our bucket a little more. Eventually, it’s completely drained . . . and then we die.
            I guess, for people who are planners or goal-setters, traditional bucket-list thinking is fine. But for people like me who sort of ride the river of life, bobbing and bouncing with the current, that kind of thinking induces guilt. Like we’re rudderless if we don’t compile a list and  slackers if we don’t complete it.
            So I’ve given it some thought and have re-designed the bucket list for those like me. Traditional thinking is that you fill a bucket with all the wonderful things you want to accomplish and then you empty it item by item. But for us less intentional folks, you start with a completely empty bucket and fill it as you go. You leave yourself open to experiences that you never considered. Sometimes you’re pleased or thrilled with the results, sometimes disappointed. But wouldn’t it have been the same with a pre-filled bucket?
            All this bucket-thinking began with reflection on the travels and events I've experienced over the past few months. I would have never placed any of them on a pre-determined bucket list. They weren’t sojourns to lofty or exotic destinations or grandiose fetes which would make the news. And yet I discovered places I never knew existed, learned fascinating facts about the history of our country, made dear new friends, enjoyed family moments, and took in awe-inspiring vistas. In fact, I had so many bucketworthy experiences, I’m going to have to get a bigger bucket!   
          Some of the memorable items I've recently added to my bucket  . . .
Amazing Luray Caverns in Virginia
The luxurious Greenbriar Hotel in West Virginia.
Did you know a government bunker was underneath it?
Celebrating with family in
Sunriver, Oregon
Hiking in Sedona, Arizona
A gorgeous sunset right here in Oklahoma!

Metolius River, Oregon

Fishing with grandsons ...
in our own backyard (practically)


For Walking Dead fans, a shot
from the streets of
Senoia, Georgia, where the
show is filmed
In Savannah,Georgia beautiful
Forsythe Square
In Atlanta,
the desk and typewriter on
which Gone with the Wind
was created
Also in Atlanta, a serene stroll
through historic Oakland Cemetary
The view from Dowdell's Knob, where FDR often
went to picnic and reflect

Friends and fellow travelers,
Sam and Linda Jones posing
with bronze statue of
Franklin Roosevelt at
Dowdell's Knob

The Little White House
at Warm Springs, Georgia,
the place of FDR's death