Not a bucket list



A year ago today I lost the most important person in the world to me. I wasn’t sure if I’d want to mark the anniversary, because every day is marked. Every day I think of him. I find comfort in nurturing the parts of me that were also part of him. In the wise words of a cartoon, “I am only gone from myself, not from you.” Our relationship continues.

The anniversary feels like a turning point, though. One where I need to look forward more, inward more, avoid as much as I can the numbness of grief and be more deliberate about what I want from life. He’s always going to be part of me so the best way I can honour him is to be me.

I don’t like the term bucket list or its implication. I’m too adaptable to circumstance and open to random opportunity to believe there are things I must do before I die, and I don’t believe death should be the impetus for action — life should be. I’m not much for grand gestures or needing a constant adrenaline rush, so much of what living fully means to me seems too light to carry all that weight of MUST DO BEFORE I DIE.

But that’s semantics. I do have, floating in my head, a changeable list of things I’ve long wanted to do or see. Today it’s time to pin those things down in literal form — like, Excel spreadsheet form — mull over whether they’re really my priorities or just things that once appealed to me or sounded like they should, and deliberately work on making them happen, re-evaluating as time goes on.

I won’t share all of this literal not-a-bucket-list publicly, but here’s some examples:

  • Improve my Spanish again, starting with taking a conversational course in the coming year
  • Find a place soon to regularly practice yoga that doesn’t namaste or Lululemon me to eyerolling death
  • Travel more. Possibilities in the next 5 years or so: Turkey, hopping across Europe, Galapagos, Haida Gwaii, New Orleans, Newfoundland, whatever comes up
  • Write for pleasure every day, no matter how little or how unshareable
  • Take a helicopter ride

You can hold me to these actions … but you’ll notice I gave myself the re-evaluate card as an out. I wouldn’t be fully me if my list of what fills my bucket didn’t include doubt about its permanence.

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6 Responses to Not a bucket list

  1. Jennie says:

    I keep a so-called bucket list on my Blackberry. Sometimes things come up and I’m like, “Oh yeah, I’ve always wanted to do that.” Writing it down helps me remember. My list is less self-improvement … way nuttier. Some examples:
    * Make a sock monkey
    * Hack a digital traffic sign (probably to provide some warning about zombies)
    * Join a handbell choir
    * Write a book
    * Spend St. Patricks Day in an Irish pub
    * Go on a walking tour of England.

    Anyhow, I like your list. I love your writing. You’re lovely.

  2. Lisa says:

    Thinking about you today. Love the idea of a “unbucket list”. Mark might be able to help you out with the helicopter ride (he’s knows a guy, who knows a guy)…

  3. caroline says:

    If you need a travel enabler, keep me in mind!

  4. Diane Wild says:

    Thanks guys. Love the list Jen. I’ll have to suck up to Mark more Lisa. And ditto Caroline.

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