An old friend recently posted a bucket list on Facebook: one that asks you to check off all of the things you have and haven’t done in your life. The list included a variety of items including travel to many places, relationship statuses, and a number of things that brought back vivid reminders of my misspent youth. I say misspent because at the time it seemed that I was doing nothing and going nowhere, with lots of free time on my hands to enjoy life. Some aspects of my teen years can definitely fall into the raucous category. But as I think about those days now I realize how much they have helped to shape the adult I eventually became.
Having done a few things in my life that I may not choose to share with the public (or with my adult children) does not make me a bad person. It makes me human. Don’t get me wrong, I would definitely not go back and do those things again. But when the question arises about whether I have ever done something that could have killed me and I honestly have to answer “yes,” it does give one pause. I have some extraordinary memories that I am proud to share with some exceptional people who are still my friends after all these years. We lived through those things, and came out on the other side (amazingly!) intact and stronger for it. That doesn’t necessarily make me proud of everything I have done, but it does make me who I am now.
A recent conversation with a co-worker reminded me that because I came of age during the 1970’s the decade itself most definitely helped to frame my personality. It was a time of great experimentation for many people my age and just slightly older. Those who grew up in the bookend decades of the 60’s and 80’s absolutely have a different perspective. While many of us fall into the Baby Boomer generation, that doesn’t do enough to frame our personae. The 70’s represent both disco and heavy metal. They were the post free-love era of the 60’s and the pre-conservatism of the 80’s. It was a time of turmoil in our country and as teens we felt all of that. We responded with some rather wild behavior, which I will not detail here for your reading pleasure.
So sure, I did some things back then. We had fun. Luckily, we lived to tell about it. In reality, it feels like a different life than the one I have lived for the past few decades. I often feel like my career moves have created a series of lives as I moved from radio news reporter to the non-profit world and into communications and marketing. It is gratifying to have carried some important people with me throughout these transitions.
Once all those memories were rekindled and considered, I got to thinking about what my bucket list would look like now. What else do I hope to accomplish before this life is over? There are still lots of things on that list: travel, making a difference, travel, writing and other creative pursuits, and (did I mention?) travel.
So many places to go and so little money! That is the sad story of my life right now. If we won the lottery the very first thing I would do is make travel plans and drag my husband along for the ride. I would love to see places in the USA that I have read about but never visited, would love to see more of Canada, and would love to get to several European and South American countries. I would like to think that in some small ways I have made a difference for others, especially for my family, but always feel there is more I could do: more volunteering and more of being a change-agent for something positive in my community. Not sure what that is right now, but there must be something. Writing, photography, sewing, and other creative projects are always, always, always on my “to do” list. I have been writing quite a bit lately, just not sharing it with others. Often writing is a way for me to think through my feelings on a particular issue, but if it’s a controversial or sensitive subject I may not share it for all to read if I don’t feel like starting some type of firestorm online.
If only the need to earn a living didn’t get in the way! Just think of what you could do with the freedom to make choices! Financial and personal freedom could lead to some extraordinary options, don’t you think? The reality is that most of us live our lives in a hurry, rushing from one task to another without really taking the time to savor and enjoy much of what we do. The older I get the more I long to slow the pace and spend more time doing absolutely nothing. It might feel like being a teenager again, except without the cute body and wrinkle-free face, and without the head-long rush into dangerous situations without even giving it a second thought.
In some ways, my wish list has remained the same since I was a young girl: I would love to live in an RV and travel the country, writing about where the road takes me and who I meet along the way. That’s the real crux of my bucket list: travel, write, and take pictures along the way, and if I find someone I can help in some way on that journey it’s all the better. How soon can I leave?