Monday, July 07, 2008

Bucket List

You know how when you cry---I don’t mean a few tears—I mean bawl like a baby? I recently watched “The Bucket List”—and that was just what I did. I had one of those “ugly cries” that I haven’t had in a very long time. I am not sure where this came from; it was either a natural response to a movie about inevitable death or vent up emotion that I had not released in a long time, but either way—I was moved.

At this point in my journey, I rarely visit those moments of my life that were immediately pre- or postmortem with Don. I do this—on purpose as to not unduly disturb the reality my mind has created since his death; yet, I have momentary lapses that coerce me to once again face the demons of mortality. Watching this movie was one of those times.

Both of the men in the movie (Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson) have only been given a short time to live. Freeman remembers an exercises he had to do in college where each student was to create a “bucket-list”—a list of things they wish to accomplish before “kicking the bucket”, so these two men create such a list and set out to complete it before their imminent death. Of course there is no happy ending in such movies, or in life for that matter, but I continue…

After viewing the movie—I asked Kent, “What would be your ‘Bucket List’?” None of his answers were a big surprise, but I did learn something about him. He wants to see the world. He would like to tour the continents or SUBA-dive the entire universe. I have thought about this notion for a few days and have come up with this preliminary list.

Marsha’s Bucket List
1. Tour the Mediterranean – visit Italy, Greece, the Egyptian pyramids
2. SCUBA dive in someplace exotic. (Grand Cayman, Cozumel Mexico 7/09)
3. Learn to speak a foreign language well enough to converse with the locals.
4. Serve on a mission trip with my family.
5. Participate in a sprint triathlon or 1/2 marathon.
6. Read all 100 books on the National Endowment for the Arts “Big Read” list.
7. Write something lasting for each person I love.
8. Teach in the inner city.
9. Name a star.
10. Memorize poetry so I will have it to recite at appropriate times (rather a romantic notion)
11. Visit the rain forest.
12 Zip line somewhere warm.(Jamaica 7/2009)
13. Have something I have written published for real.

Some find this a morbid exercise. I find it a hopeful one. It makes me aware of what is left to do and the fact that finding joy in the journey is as important as the journey itself. George Bernard Shaw wrote the following that sums up the…

True Joy of Life

This is the true joy of life.
The being used for a purpose
Recognized by yourself as a mighty one.
The being a force of nature
Instead of a feverish, selfish
Little clod of ailments and grievances
Complaining that the world will not
Devote itself to making you happy.
I am of the opinion that my life
Belongs to the whole community
And as long as I live,
It is my privilege to do for it
Whatever I can.
I want to be thoroughly
Used up when I die,
For the harder I work the more I live.
I rejoice in life for its own sake.
Life is no brief candle to me.
It is a sort of splendid torch
Which I've got hold of
For the moment
And I want to make it burn
As brightly as possible before
Handling it on to future generations


Lisa said...

Since my list looks a lot like yours (Minus the SCUBA diving part), maybe we'll get to do a few of them together! Like, for instance, if you brought me along on your trip to Greece!

Okay...seriously, Cheddars some day this week or next? Email me!

Suzanne said...

I can help you with your bucket list, come teach for me for an entire week! :) I will give you my frosh/soph class! They would love you!
Plus, I could teach you Spanish so you could actually speak with some of my TPI students and hang out with Daysi at a salsa night.

KMY said...

Great post, Marsha. Thank you for the reminder of how a bucket list can give you a new focus on life.

I need a bucket list. Since retiring, I feel like I no longer have goals or a long-term vision for my life. Transitions have always been like that for me. It's time to change that.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Marsha, Tanja and I could teach you Dutch, French or German.

This is a beautiful do-able list....I hope you got started on it!

Good luck,