Do you have a bucket list? The point of a bucket list is to identify the stuff you would like to do before you die. Of course, it should be stuff that’s actually possible for you. For example, having a fling with Johnny Depp doesn’t belong on my bucket list because, as much I might like to do that, I know it just ain’t gonna happen. On the other hand, items on a bucket list shouldn’t be so doable that they aren’t a challenge, either. They should stretch us to accomplish those things in our lives that bring us a feeling of completion. As I see it, the point of making a bucket list is so that we will live life to its fullest, with no regrets.
I’m on my third bucket list now. I keep doing most of the things on my list, or my desires change, and then I have to throw the old one out and start a new one. I remember that my first bucket list, which I wrote when I was in my 40s, had thirty items on it. Now I’m down to ten.
1. Retire in good health.
2. See the Grand Canyon.
3. Travel to Italy.
4. Find an extraordinary man to share my life with me as I grow old.
5. Enjoy a close relationship with my (as yet unborn) grandchildren.
6. Learn to paint with watercolors.
7. Sleep in every Sunday morning for at least a year.
8. Can my own home-grown vegetables.
9. Spend a week at a spa.
10. Have a home in the mountains.
That’s all very doable. And yet, I’m starting to realize that the best reason to stick around on this planet as long as possible isn’t so I have time to scratch items off a bucket list. It’s so much more than that. It’s being able to look back on the glorious triumphs as well as the miserable failures of my life with thanksgiving for the ways those experiences have shaped me. It’s cherishing the ordinary days and the contentment they bring. It’s an awareness of the times when I have spent myself in love for others without holding back, and because of those times, knowing that my life has been worthwhile. And it’s trusting that in big and small ways I’m always in the process of becoming the person God created me to be.
Maybe the real gift of getting older is the realization that life is about more than scrambling to get it all done before we die. It’s about being grateful for all we’ve been able to experience along the way. Within the past few years I’ve taken up residence in a grateful place. It’s more than enough for me. I know that, whether I accomplish all the items on my bucket list or not, when I finally kick that bucket, it will be full. Yes, I'm grateful.