“Bucket List” has become a word for “list of things to do before you die, or ‘kick the bucket.'” Cancer patients Carter (Morgan Freeman) and Edward (Jack Nicholson ) coined the term in The Bucket List movie. I have a personal bucket list. Everyone has (or should have) their own personal bucket list. You’ve probably been asked what you would do if you only had x amount of time to live. It’s difficult to remember in the grind of living that life is a cul de sac, a dead end. What would I do if I was suddenly presented with the expiration date for my life?
1. Make it right with anyone I have wronged (or been wronged by): I don’t want to shuffle off this mortal coil with a laundry list of people who hold grudges against me or against whom I hold grudges. They say you can’t take it with you and I don’t want to; I want to enter the great beyond with a heart empty of everything but love for others.
2. Make my loved ones feel how much I love them. How that will manifest itself, I’m not sure. Knowing my family, there will be tears and laughter. Maybe it will just end with a loud family game of ‘Scattergories’. When Edward (The Bucket List) wrote: “kiss the prettiest girl in the world,” I’m sure he had no idea in what wonderful way that wish would be granted.
3. Travel. See the world. Visit the places I’ve only read about. Truth is, if I knew I had one month or even one year left to live, I would scrape up whatever money I had and book passage on the next banana boat. For Edward it was the Valley of Nepal and Mt. Everest. But he had lots of money. For me, it may mean working my way through the capitols of the world selling balloons on street corners. But that’s cool, because my philosophy has always been simple. I’m a ‘loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou’ type of woman.
4. Meet people. In my travels, I don’t want five star hotels. I want to see people and life. Dr. Leo Buscaglia wrote the best book in the world on travel: The Way of the Bull. That’s how I want to travel; by staying with local people in their homes. Eating what they eat. Living as they live. John Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley is another of my travel definitives. I don’t want to tour Asia, Europe or South America. I want to live them.
5. Do a season of Shakespeare. I was bit by the acting bug years ago. Not Hollywood. Not television. Theater. There’s a world of difference. Performing for a live audience is energizing. And it could be another playwright: Ibsen, Dickens, Thornton Wilder, Tennessee Williams or Gilbert and Sullivan. When I tread the boards, wear the greasepaint, make my exits and entrances, I feel alive. Acting is an aphrodisiac and an elixir.
6. Open and staff schools in impoverished areas. Provide vocational and academic instruction. Teach life skills: nutrition, cooking, sewing, literacy, gardening, sustainable farming methods, carpentry and construction.
7. Set up partnerships and cooperatives amongst local farmers. Help them to command a fair market price for their goods. Support small, locally owned businesses. Help local people take back what was stolen from big business.
8. Empower the needy to support themselves. Build, supply and staff an infirmary in Darfur. Build an adequate sewer system employing local labor in Calcutta. Start a library in Guatemala. Help some local women establish a cottage industry. Build reservoirs and wells. Erect houses of worship to comfort the downtrodden.
9. Leave my children a legacy of peace. Before I bid farewell to those I love, I want to make sure that they have the tools they need to live happy, well-adjusted lives. I don’t ask that the lives of my children be worry free. That isn’t possible. I would just like to know that so far as was possible with me, I gave them the best that I had as a mother. I would like to know that I will see them in whatever form the hereafter takes.
10. It would be nice to hold a grandchild. It’s not exactly something I can accomplish on my own, but I would like to last long enough to be a grandmother to someone.