I’m not fond of the term Bucket List. I think it’s a crass way of reminding yourself to live life today and not put off the things you want to do because life is too short. But I appreciate the intent behind it, especially since having children. Life seems to have a way of getting away from us when there are little mouths to feed and chase, and we forget all the things we hoped to do with our own lives.
Do you remember the dreams of your youth, the dreams you had before real life responsiblities? The kind of dreams where anything and everything was possible? Dreams that were fuelled with promise and excitement. You had your whole life ahead of you and the only obstacle is living at home. Sometimes I do, especially when I reflect on the passage of time and how quickly our lives become enclosed in a box of routines and expectations.
I recently finished reading Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. Beyond the fact that it is a delicious and exquisitely written tale, I found myself thinking quite a bit about one part of the book. Elspeth dies and leaves her London Flat to her nieces, twins Julia and Valentina, who move from Chicago to live there. Julia is particularly delighted at the opportunity to go on adventure and live in a different part of the world, far away from their parents.
I went to university only a 40 minute drive from my hometown, and though I lived on campus for a short time, I could often be found at home on weekends. After graduation, I got married. I was young, and ready to embark on my career. Though we didn’t have children until we were married for more than five years, we spent the early years building homes and careers. We travelled yes, but not extensively and not in the way I had always thought I would. We settled into life in the same small town I grew up in to raise our family. And life moved on. Ten years later we have built two houses of our own, we have prosperous and successful careers and two beautiful boys. I am blessed.
But when reading, Julia’s enthusiasm and youthful zeal called to mind the fact that I had never done that, even though I had always wanted to. I was struck that there were so many things I believed I would do in my life and have never have, and how I truly have no plan to do them. So I thought I would share some of them with you here—record them for posterity, but also as a reminder that I have much life to live and plenty of time to make them happen.
- I’ve always wanted to spend a year living and travelling in Europe. Now I hope to share that someday with my children.
- What’s a meal without a lovely, fragrant glass of wine? I’d love to spend time becoming a true wine connoisseur, not a sommelier, just to have a better knowledge about pairings and the qualities of a good wine.
- School has always been an important part of my life. Learning, growing, changing and building my capacity. I want to study for my Masters in Professional Communication. I hope I find the energy to do it!
- I’d like to read poetry, really steep myself in the study of it.
- Slowly I’ve started to learn the benefits of meditation, I’m hoping to become good at it and to make it part of my daily routine.
- I want to learn to be an authentic Italian cook and grow a vegetable garden. And I want to be good at it, really good at it. And feed my family with ingredients that I produce!
- I want to become a runner. It’s not about running a marathon, just running regularly for my health and for my peace of mind.
- I’ve always wanted to open and run a children’s book store. I don’t actually think this will happen, but it’s one of my greatest desires.
- I want to rent an RV and drive all around North America with it. Yes, this is true. (And yes, Jana, I suppose it is in the fashion of Walter from Franzen’s Freedom). My husband just wishes I’d give up the RV and go for a motorcycle.
None of this is particularly dramatic. I’m not a dramatic person. In fact I’m quite a homebody, with just a flicker of the travel bug. But it is about living life a certain way, filling it up with comforting and wonderful experiences. I find listing them here therapeutic and invigorating. How about you? What’s on your list?
Image: ‘the green bucket‘ via a Creative Commons license.