WHAT'S ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
by Cara Marsi
Several years ago there was a movie called Bucket List starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. I’d not heard the term “bucket list” before, but as it turned out I had my own bucket list, only I called it “things I want to do before I die,” or TIWTDBID.
I’ve had this list for over fifteen years. It’s on a small slip of paper, now dog-eared, that I carry in my purse. I decided a while ago that I had to set goals for myself, things I wanted to do before I ended up in that nursing home. They say you regret what you didn’t do, not what you did. I wanted to have as few regrets as possible when I’m sitting in my rocker in that home. With one exception, I completed everything on my list. Through the years I crossed off a few items because they were no longer so important.
Let me share what is on my TIWTDBID list: go to England(did that); go back to Italy (did that); see Grand Canyon again (did that); publish book (did that); finish painting and renovating house (this will never happen and I’ve crossed it off the list);see Navajo lands (did this - spent four glorious days touring Arizona and Utah, all the while on the Navajo reservation); retire from full time work (done); rent a house at the Jersey shore (crossed off list. I love the shore and the ocean, but there are so many other places I want to see); drive the California coast (done); go back to Maine - this is the only item I haven’t completed. However, my werewolf paranormal romance, “Cursed Mates,” from Noble Romance Publishing, is set in Maine, so I sort of went back.
Now I’ve got to make a new list. Maine will be number one on that list. Number two will be to take another trip to California and see things we missed the first time. Something else that will be on the new list: visit Australia again. Seeing Australia wasn’t on my original list. I’d always wanted to go there, but never thought I would. However, a surprise multi-national family reunion in late 2001 brought me to Australia. I never knew until then that a huge branch of my family went to Australia from Italy. Now I want to go back and see more of this amazing country. So it goes on the list.
What other items will be on my new list? I’m not totally sure yet. I’ll have to use a fresh sheet of paper, but I’ll save that little dog-eared list I’ve carried for years. As I get older, the list shrinks, but the important thing is that I have a list. Another item on the new list will be to contract for more books and short stories. I’ve published four books and ten short stories. I would love to sell to a publisher who will put my books on bookshelves, but with the popularity of ereaders, especially the Kindle, having books in mortar and brick stores doesn’t seem all that important any more.
You’ll notice that most items on my list have to do with travel. I love to travel. During the past fifteen years, I’ve also been to other places that weren’t on my list. Hopefully, I’ll do lots more traveling. I’m sure there are those who have more exciting things on their list, like jumping from airplanes or bungee jumping, or taking a boat ride along the Amazon. It doesn’t matter what’s on your list. The important thing is to have goals and write them down, then work to accomplish them.
As in anything in life, stretch your imagination, but be realistic too. And don’t beat yourself up over the things you didn’t accomplish. There are times when you have to accept that some things aren’t going to happen. Like the song says, “you have to know when to hold them and when to fold them.” I crossed off the Jersey shore house without regret. We may not have completely renovated the house we live in, but some things have been done, and it’s a beautiful old house, a little worse for wear in spots, but someday we’ll sell it and someone else can finish what we started. And I’m okay with that.
So, what’s my point? I have several: think about what you really want to do before you’re in that nursing home, then write it all down. Don’t wait till you’re too old to do what you want. You may never get the chance. (I don’t mean this to be a downer, but good planning never hurts). Do it now. You may have to revise your goals as you go along, and that’s okay. Some goals, upon completion, may disappoint, like not seeing as much of California as I’d hoped. That’s okay too. I’ll go back there. Like the other song goes, “dream the impossible dream.” Know what you want to do and forge ahead. These are all good life lessons too.
What’s on your bucket list?