Last night over a delicious dinner of epic fried Chinese proportions, I mused with my darling fiancé, Andy, about the ‘Top 30 Countdown’ list and all the fun (and prizes!) it has brought us so far.
In my appearance on The Price is Right last Wednesday, I described the list as a “bucket list”. In some ways it is a list of things to do before I kick the bucket but, really, “bucket list” implies so much more. After all, this list was not created by me, it was created by 30 inspirational friends and family, so most of the challenges would have gone unmet had I been left to my own devices until my ultimate demise.
It got me to thinking about what my real bucket list would look like. What do I desperately want to get done before I run down the curtain and join the choir (of the tone-deaf) invisible?
It’s quite a question.
There is something intimidating about the life-or-death status attributed to this most pleasant of dinner party conversation topics. Life’s simple pleasures are not what this is about. You couldn’t, for example, add “Read a good book” to your bucket list. It would have to be something more like “Read the top 1000 books of all time” or, better yet, “Write the top 1000 books of all time”.
Good luck with that.
I’m all for dreams and aspirations, but I’m also a realist at heart. I was born with equal parts “glass half full” and “glass half empty” DNA, so I kinda ended up with this “get me a measuring jug and we’ll settle this once and for all” mentality.
As a result, I believe that one’s “bucket list” should include anything they want to do in their life. Let’s face it, most of us can’t even make time for that one good book on a busy weeknight so, what hope is there that we’d suddenly find time to pen a masterpiece?
The reality is, the big things are often more memorable, but it is the little things that make up a life and define who we are.
It’s just like that old story about the philosophy professor with his jar of rocks, pebbles and sand. In the story, the professor’s aim is to explain that if we fill up our lives with the small things (the “sand”), there will be no room for the big things (the “rocks”). In other words, we should take care of the “rocks” (family, friends, health) first before we start worrying about who cut us off at the intersection and who took the credit for that big project at work.
When it comes to filling buckets rather than jars, I say just whack it all in there together. If it starts filling up, just shake it around a bit and you’ll find there’s always room for more. Better yet, start emptying the sucker! Poke a giant hole in that bucket and start ticking some things off. Switch off ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ and get back to ‘The Great Gatsby’ before Leonardo DiCaprio comes along and ruins the ending for you. Put down the Domino’s menu and order from the Nepalese place instead. Forego your daily coffee and start saving your pennies for that once-in-a-lifetime trip you’ve always dreamed of but never planned. In other words, make one little choice today that will make it different to yesterday.
When it comes to my own list, there are a few big things I’d love to tick off before I start pushing up daisies:
- See my favourite band, the Barenaked Ladies, live for the first time (better yet, hitch a ride on one of their annual ‘Ships and Dip’ cruises)
- Start a family (better yet, start a smart, successful, happy family)
- Write a book (I might even tick that off this year if I can stop procrastinating!)
- Live and work overseas (another Top 3o challenge! You all know me too well…)
Then there’s the medium stuff:
- Travel the World until my blisters get blisters
- Go on a driving tour of all the ‘Big Things’ in Australia
- Become fluent in a second language
- Own a house with a secret room and/or passage
And lastly, the small stuff:
- Go outside for long enough this Summer to develop an acceptable level of skin opacity
- Continue to work on becoming a calmer, happier person
- One day be one of those pregnant women who’s keeps running until their knees literally buckle under the weight
- Make treasure hunts for my children like my Dad did for me
I’m pretty happy with my list so far, and the best part is I’m 100% confident I will tick off each and every thing on that list before I shuffle of this mortal coil. I could always be hit by a bus I suppose, but, if I am, I’m gonna make damn sure it’s on the streets of Rome…
Or, out the front of the “Big Wine Cask” in Mourquong, NSW.
For now, let’s just pretend we’re at a dinner party and we’ve just finished our entrées and that hideous conversation about politics and religion….
Big or small, what’s on your bucket list?