You are never too old to create a bucket list.
A friend shared that her 87 year old mother recently wrote a bucket list. I immediately thought of all the things this woman has already accomplished, and loved the fact that she has a full list of things she still wants to do! Among the things on her list is a visit to the Italian dining emporium, Eataly. So, her daughters will take her on an excursion into Boston and she can check Eataly off her list! How fun is that? A beautiful day in the city with her girls AND eating AND shopping! Proof that a bucket list doesn’t have to include a walk on the moon, it can be as simple as a day out to someplace you’ve never been, with the people you love.
The sweet notion of an elderly person creating a bucket list inspired me to think about my list. I think the more adventures I have, the more adventures I want, and the longer my list becomes. I am likely to need a Sherpa to cart my list around by the time I am 87!
The term “bucket list,” or list of things to accomplish before you die, comes from the phrase “kick the bucket.” In the days when people were executed in the town square by hanging, the executioner would kick the bucket away, thus allowing the poor criminal to hang in the noose. We spend our whole lives knowing that we will kick the bucket at some point, and want to fulfill dreams, goals, and desires, before our final hour. Hopefully, that won’t be in the town square by hanging!
I also like to think that a bucket list is a host of things that will metaphorically fill up your bucket of life, before it gets kicked out from under you. What are the experiences and wisdom that you gather along the way to help you reduce the “regrets list” and add to the “bucket list?”
I am happy to report that my bucket runneth over with an incredibly happy and healthy life. I have a beautiful family and loving friends, and am fortunate to be totally satisfied with all that I have.
But, hey, what’s the harm in buying a bigger bucket?
My Bucket List
So, let’s talk about the tangible things, the ones daydreams are made of, the bucket list that I hope to have completed before I am 87, so I can write a new list at that point.
First, I’ll tell you what is definitely NOT on my list: skydiving and bungie jumping. My daughter has done both these things and I consider one family member’s bravery and risk enough to cover us all. Here are some priorities, and not in any particular order…
1. Machu Pichu/Rainbow Mountain, Peru - I love ancient. Ancient sites, ancient ruins, ancient art, ancient civilizations. Something about being on the ground and touching stone that has been there for thousands of years is mind boggling to me. I get breathless thinking about it! I have had the very fortunate experience of visiting approximately two dozen countries around the world and have seen incredibly old stuff! Those sites all thrill me, but the mother of all, for me, is Machu Pichu. Not sure why, but it has long been very high on my list. Who doesn’t want to see an Inca temple built for an emperor in the 1400’s? Lots of people. The travel and altitude make it a challenging trip and not everyone wants to go. So, it has been a more difficult trip to plan. You need the right time of year, the right amount of time off from work, and the right people to go with, and of course, the right amount of money! I hoped I would hike Machu Pichu before I turned 60, however, that is not going to happen, so, I need to make a clear plan. I have to be in good shape, so it better be soon! Rainbow Mountain near Cusco is a newer tourist phenomenon, and just recently made it onto my list. I might as well go while I am in Peru, right? Snow covered the site until a few years ago when, sadly, global warming melted the snow and revealed a colorful terrain. The hike is not treacherous, but apparently the altitude is very intense. The crowds are growing, and travel bloggers are warning tourists that it is becoming too popular, too quickly. So, again, I better make it to Peru sooner, rather than later!
2. Learn French – Mais oui! I studied a little French in middle and high school, my daughters speak French, I have taken a tiny bit of adult ed French classes, I have been to France, and I just want to be able to have a conversation and understand what others are saying when we visit French speaking countries! It’s that simple! I don’t need to be fluent by the time I am 87, but maybe if I put my mind to it, I can achieve my objectif! I have had Rosetta Stone on my computer for years and never touch it. So, I just loaded the Duolingo app on my phone. It is going to teach me French for 10 minutes every day! See how I was just inspired by my own blog? Bravo!
3. Taj Mahal – India! I know, huge, right? The Taj Mahal represents the dedication of a man’s love and grief all wrapped up in gorgeous white marble. So stunning, I would love to touch that beauty in person. India is also not for the faint of heart traveler. It’s another trip that requires a lot of time and the right companion. I have one in mind, and she and I have a lot of plans, so, again, I better get cracking!
4. Learn Photography – Ugh, this is a painful one for me. This is something I really want to do and never seem to have enough time. I secretly wish I had become a photographer at an early age and spent the last 35 years working with National Geographic or Travel and Leisure. I missed that boat, but it’s never too late! I have a really nice camera and a really talented photographer for a daughter. Those things combined with a few more beginner classes and maybe, eventually, I can take good photos without being in Auto settings!
5. Stonehenge – This is one of those desires to see the ancient that I have had since early childhood. I am very excited to report that I have actual plans to visit Stonehenge this winter! I promise to share pics and tell you all about it.
6. Run a Half Marathon – Honestly, I am not sure I can still have this on my list. It used to be the NY City Marathon. I gave up on that idea years ago. Then I decided to do a half marathon and now I’m not sure if my injury recovery plan will allow for that kind of training. So, I am keeping this item on the list, but with a clear understanding that I will have no disappointment or regrets if I have to eliminate it. Maybe it should go on the post-87 list?
7. See the Aurora Borealis – My dentist was raised in Finland. His father was a scientist who spent his entire career studying the Aurora Borealis. He has shared his stories with me over our lovely bonding time when his hands are in my mouth and his hygienist is suctioning my saliva. The timing is critical in a trip like this and the location is key. Obviously, there are many places from which to catch the phenomenon, but there are no guarantees at any of them. To increase my odds, I would like to visit the Northern Lights in February some year, while resting comfortably in a warm glass igloo in Iceland or Finland. Who wants to come?
8. African Safari – This is a must. Enough said.
9. Travel Everywhere else; Seychelle Islands, Easter Island, Japan, Bhutan, Australia, Bali, etc. You get the idea.
OK, there you have it. It’s not a very long list at all. Only nine things to help fill my already overflowing bucket. I think I can get it all done before 87. Or, at least before I’m 88.
Excuse me now while I pour a cup of decaf and do my 10 minutes of French for the day!