Thursday, January 22, 2015

Kicking the Bucket List

In the last couple of years, I’ve been keeping a bucket list. No doubt that all started on a gloomy day when I’d heard some bad news about a friend and it hit me that I might not have forever to get things done.  Time to pick up the pace!  What hadn’t I done? Where hadn’t I been? Get at it! Of course, the list was endless.  

There was a time when my goal was: write a book. That changed to get published.  And then, stay published.  I didn’t have any idea that when I was able to finally achieve those things (and a few more) that dozens of new ones would spring up to take their place.  Can’t a girl have a break?  I found my bucket list started to loom, taking away from the joy in everyday life.

Many people seem to have fifty things on their lists. When they cross one off (say, perch on the edge of a live volcano or zipline between New York skyscrapers), they still have 49 breathing down their necks.  Climb a mountain! Learn Mandarin!  Swim with the sharks! Where’s the fun in that?

I’ve decided to dump that list! Yes. I’m tipping over the bucket (not the same as kicking it).  There are things I’d like to do, sure.  I’ll take vacations, but I don’t want to feel that my vacations are tightly scheduled or scripted or there’s pressure to keep up with someone else’s idea of a good time. But there are not many things that I want to HAVE to do.

Looking back, I realize how many of the activities I take for granted would have seemed like impossible dreams many years back. After many years of juggling jobs, education, family and writing, I now work at home.  I have just one job and it’s one that I love.

Maybe I need a reverse bucket list to appreciate what I love about my life.   Something like this:
Writing the type of mysteries I like to read

Being married to a man who loves to books

Enjoying a supportive family
Spoiling beloved dogs

Getting to feed the birds

Having fun with my friends (all readers and many are writers too!)

Collaborating with my daughter

 Reading what I want, when I want to

Having a bit of time to ‘play’ in the kitchen

Knitting up a storm.

Puttering in the garden or fiddling with flowers

I could go on, but you get the picture. There may not be visits to Buckingham Palace or Dubai, Porches or a weekend place on the French Riviera, but I wouldn't change things for the world. Well, possibly winter.

Full disclosure: I left out the piles of crumpled paper, the early rejections, the heart-stopping deadlines, the fallen souffles and the chair legs gnawed by the beloved pets or any differences of opinion about the book collector mysteries. Forget all that.

 I don’t want to trade my life for pie in the sky.  There are only two things that I really have on my current ‘Must Do’ list and that’s to get a good shot of the gorgeous pair of cardinals that flit shyly though our backyard every week and to finish the current Work in Progress When I get them done, I’ll share the news with you.,

What about you? To ratchet up that bucket list or relax and live in the moment?  There’s no right answer but I’d like to know what works in your life and what makes you feel lucky and grateful.  

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