Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Bucket List

A couple of years ago, my husband and I went to see the comedy ‘The Bucket List’, starring Jack Nicholson (a grumpy millionaire) and Morgan Freeman (an intellectual mechanic). It’s a movie about two terminally ill men sharing a room in the cancer ward, both of which have been given about a year to live. At first they don’t care much for one another, but eventually they become friends (you know this is inevitable since these two men are the main characters in the movie). So when they finally kind of like each other they each compose a bucket list – things to do before you ‘kick the bucket’ – and head off to an around the world adventure to fulfill each wish (funded by the grumpy millionaire).

It wasn’t the most realistic movie in terms of the disease, since anyone who has been very sick (or knows someone who has been very sick) will tell you that getting through each day with the emotions, the symptoms and the treatments that go with cancer is difficult enough, never mind having the abundance of energy required to fly around the world, climb a mountain or skydive. But ‘The Bucket List’ is a movie. And it’s fictional. And on top of that it’s a comedy, so it doesn’t have to be realistic. Because if it was realistic, it would certainly not be a comedy since it would be depressing.

But I digress. As usual.

Getting back to the point of this post, what I wanted to say is that as we were driving home after the movie, my husband and I got to talking about what our own ‘bucket lists’ would consist of. I mean, what are some of the things we’d like to do before we die? Not that we’ll actually do all of them, especially the ones that require what we don’t have much of: money. But it doesn’t cost anything to dream, so why not make a list just for the fun of it. And not everything on the list is unattainable, so who knows what the future may hold.

At first I thought about listing very unusual things, like reading people’s thoughts or moving objects with my mind (telekinesis) or being able to see ghosts or time traveling. You know, abnormal and interesting things. But since life is much too short and I don’t see anything in the works for time traveling, I decided to concentrate my efforts on things that I may be able to experience in my lifetime.

Here is my list:

1) See Some Of The World

...or most of it...

There’s no doubt about it, I love traveling. I wish I had more time and definitely more – much, much more – money to see as much of the world as possible. Some of the places I’d want to visit are:
AustraliaNew ZealandFiji
TahitiBora BoraCook Islands
IrelandItalyThe Netherlands
SwedenSwitzerlandUnited Kingdom
Vatican CityThailandIndia
British Virgin IslandsSaint LuciaCayman Islands
Turks and CaicosUS Virgin IslandsBermuda
Cayman IslandsSouth AfricaEgypt

States in the US: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas

Canadian Provinces: British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Alberta

A little bit of an ambitious list, don’t you think? I probably could name a few more places but let’s see how much of this I can fulfill before I kick the bucket. I’d be happy if I could get to visit 10% of what I’ve included above.

2) Walk Through A Desert

Okay, maybe not through an entire desert, which is a little extreme. But I’d certainly like to see one up close, dig my feet through the sand and maybe even – what the heck - ride on a camel.

3) Go On A Safari

I get excited just at the thought of going on a safari to observe and photograph big game and other wildlife. This would be a super cool experience.

4) See Gorillas In The Wild

I’d love to plan a trip to Africa to see the mountain gorillas, the largest and rarest of the species. These gorillas have thick black hair, large jaws and teeth, and the males can grow to 6 feet tall. This would be an amazing experience!

5) Jury Duty

This may not seem like the most glamorous thing to add to a bucket list but I’d really like to experience jury duty. But not just any type. I want it to be a notorious case, one that everyone is talking about. I want a lot of courtroom drama, interesting witnesses and exciting evidence. Of course, I wouldn’t want it to last too long (I do have a life, you know) and I wouldn’t want it to be a gory type case where I’d have to see really disturbing evidence that would totally freak me out. I’m being a little picky, I know, but it is my list and I can add whatever I want to it.

6) Meet Some Of My Favourite Writers

Since I am such a voracious reader, it would be really exciting to meet some writers whose books I’ve read, such as John Grisham, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, Nicholas Sparks, Anne Rice, Mary Higgins Clark, Joy Fielding, Wally Lamb, Janet Evanovich, Jeffrey Archer, Robin Cook and James Siegel, just to name a few. And if each writer would show up with a copy for me of all the books they’ve ever written when we’d meet, well, that would be nice.

7) Build A Pond In My Backyard

Okay, this is probably the first thing so far on this list that is possible to do both from a time and financial perspective. It’s fairly affordable and not too difficult to build, especially when you have as handy a husband as I do. We have discussed adding a pond to our backyard, but only after we’ve taken care of certain priorities around the home. This may happen one day, although not for awhile.

8) Publish A Magazine Article

I don’t see myself ever sitting down to write a novel since I just don’t have the discipline for it, but I do see myself pursuing some type of writing, with magazine articles being at the top of the list. Perhaps I’ll look into this at some point.

9) Add A Solarium To My Home

This is a little more expensive than the pond, but certainly something I’d love added to our home. I can just imagine how wonderful it would be to sit in a room surrounded by glass and an assortment of houseplant that would thrive in a room with abundant light. I don’t know if we’ll ever get to this project – mostly because of the financial expense – but one can certainly dream about it.

10) Adopt A Child

This is the big one, and something that’s been on my mind since my early adult years. I have a blessed life and would love to share all this with a child (maybe even 2 or 3) starving for a home and a family, something no child should ever be deprived of. I never got around to this earlier in my life because my first marriage (husband included) was not exactly what you’d want to write home about. But my second marriage (and definitely the husband included) is a match made in heaven. Sharing what we have with children that are searching for the type of love and stability we have to offer would surely be one of my greatest accomplishments in life. This is something that is attainable and definitely worth pursuing.

Okay, so there you have it. My list is not as extraordinary as some that I’ve seen on the internet, but it suits me. There are other things I’ve thought of like swimming with dolphins, whale watching, camping, horseback riding, learning to play an instrument, volunteering in an old age home, volunteering in a women’s shelter; some easily attainable, some less so. Hopefully I’ll get to experience some of the things I’ve included above. We’ll see.

So, what’s on your bucket list?

Photo from SXC


  1. That's a great bucket list, Martha. I hope you're able to fulfill a lot of it. I think for certain you could publish magazine articles---I love your writing. Writer's Digest comes out with a new book every year that lists potential markets for writing with addresses and such, so maybe you should get Santa to bring you that and get started!

    I won't list my whole bucket list here, but for sure I'd like to travel someday. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I've never traveled much beyond my state of North Carolina (lack of funds) but I would very much like to see the U.S. and Canada someday. And, of course, I'd like to write a novel. Even better would be writing a novel and actually getting it published. Or writing a novel, getting it published, and selling the movie rights for a million dollars and retiring early to finally travel in the U.S. and Canada. :-) But even just finishing a novel would be very satisfying.

  2. Years ago, I found that making lists of things you wanted to accomplish is a start to making such materialize. Once you see them on paper, dreams put to words, it is easier to work toward your goals.

  3. Thanks for the tip about Writer's Digest Beth; I will definitely look into it. The problem with me is that I don't push hard enough for something I really want to do - like writing. But I've reached a point in my life that I think "Well, it's now or never". After the holidays, I think it's time to get a little serious about this.

    Anyway, don't feel bad about not having visited many areas around the world. It's quite an expense that most of us just can't afford. If I had enough money, I'd be bouncing all over the world. What would happen to my kids then? And Bailey!? What about my husband? Oh, I suppose I'd take him with me... LOL...

    Hey, if you write a book, I will be at the bookstore the day it's available for sale! I think you should go for it. You definitely have a wonderful writing style that should get published. And when you do get the millions and want to visit Canada, make sure to stop over here in Kingston.


    Nell Jean, you are absolutely right about the lists. I do that sometimes; write down what I want to do and post it somewhere where I can see it. It’s a constant reminder of what I’d like to do. Some of the items on my ‘bucket list’ will never materialize, not for lack of wanting, but for lack of funding. I don’t mind; that’s just the way it is. But I will make it a point of trying to accomplish the other things on my list. Might as well do it while I still have time – and energy!

  4. Love this post - mine is quite similar, and boils down to mainly travel. I love seeing the world, meeting new people and letting new atmosphere soak into my skin.

    The problem with quick jaunts is that you only catch a glimpse of a place, not enough to get to know it really. I'd love to be able to spend six months or so in Canada and take longer trips lasting four to eight weeks to each destination. To sit on a bench and people watch and eat how locals eat, not just hop in and out.

    All my other dreams are sort of one big dream: the dream lifestyle. I'd live in BC on a decent plot of land, in a solid log home with a wood stove. It would have a second story loft for bedrooms, open and airy. It would have a pretty great kitchen, and a large mudroom area for all the hobby stuff storage. It would have lots of self-sustainable features like geothermal or solar heating and well water.

    I'd use part of the acreage to have a small animal sanctuary - just a home for older homeless cats and dogs that are always around rural areas. Sort of a revolving spay and release program, with a permanent home for those who need it. Hopefully there is a kind vet nearby who'd charge good rates. :)

    Ideally I'd live there about six to eight months of the year, either working from home or ideally (since I won the lottery and all) not working at all :) I'd travel the rest of the time, slowly seeing the world. How's that for a fantasy?

  5. Tatiana, sounds like a dream life. And you know, if I won a lottery (I mean mega bucks), the first thing I'd plan is a trip around the world. I'd grab hubby and we'd disappear for a year or two to explore the world. I'd also like to stick around in a place for a long time to get to know the locals, learn about the culture, live with the people, and so on. That would be quite an adventure!