I’ve been thinking about my Bucket List a lot lately.
I don’t know if it’s about getting older and hearing the actual beat of your heart in your ears almost all the time. I don’t know if it’s watching your kids marry, have children, and then observing them navigate all those narrow precipices you already edged along when you were young and they were clinging to your back, chattering excitedly in your ear. I don’t know if it’s realizing, with a mixture of surprise and dismay, that pretty much every, single thing you promised yourself that you would accomplish when you were 20 has evolved into a long list of missed opportunities, forgotten dreams, and unattainable goals. I know that the best motivational speakers in the world would exclaim, “NO GOAL IS UNATTAINABLE! NO DREAM IS FORGOTTEN! IF YOU CAN SEE IT, YOU CAN DO IT!”
We all know that this is a load of crap the size of the tallest Egyptian Pyramid. Not everyone can attain lofty goals, realize dreamy dreams, or take advantage of every opportunity. Life simply gets in the way. Responsibilities are something most of us (except you, entire Trump family except Tiffany, and you, Steve Mnuchin and your vile-looking wife who is obviously vying for the part of Cruella Deville in a 101 Dalmations remake) take very seriously, and they just happen to interfere with dreams of traveling the world, eating delicious delicacies, going to Harvard and living the exciting life of a scientist on Antarctica. None of those are really my dreams or goals, by the way. I’d like to visit Antarctica for maybe 48 hours, but practice science there? Nope. I’ll sit back here in my warm house, admiring those who do want to live the life of a frozen, popsicle scientist. I never wanted to go to Harvard; hell, I didn’t want to go to the college I did matriculate at for one awful year but I simply couldn’t afford the school I wanted to go to. See? Boston College = unattainable goal. As for traveling the world, there really are only a handful of places I would like to see. Asia is not one of them, and given that it takes up a large chunk of the planet, I guess you can safely assume that I don’t wish to be a “world” traveler.
See how easily I segued back onto the subject of my bucket list? That was crafty of me. I am a brilliant writer. Quit laughing. I can hear you.
I think that bucket lists should be firmly anchored in reality. I suppose that there are those who would disagree – motivational speakers at the top of that list – but if you have this desire to do something before you die so much so that it lights a fire under you and pushes you to reach for it, it should be something that isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility. That means that those of you pining away for Prince Harry need to discard that objective on your list because he has picked his bride and it is not you. Conversely, if you want to go to one of those places that has the Virgin Mary Statue that cries real blood tears and if you pray at her feet and anoint yourself with the blood you will be cured of whatever chronic malady (**cough cough**stupidity**cough**) you have, maybe you should first consult a doctor (psychiatrist). It’s perfectly fine and probably great for your sanity to “dream a little dream” and entertain daydreams of winning the lottery, but when it comes to a bucket list, I think realism should count. The point of having a bucket list is to actually be able to tick each thing off before you croak, right? Well, marrying someone in the Royal family is probably not going to happen for you. One, you aren’t related to them. Two, you’re not Royalty yourself. And three, even if the first two don’t apply, the fact that you’re sitting here, reading my blog, means you aren’t famous or at least notorious, so that takes you out of the running for Prince Harry or even a footman for the cousin of the nephew of the godfather of a Duke somewhere in that crazy mashup of Windsors and Mountbattens and Cromwells and bears, oh my!
With realism firmly in place, I have considered my bucket list carefully. I don’t have a lot on it. I mean, reality, right? Every, single item on my list is going to involve time, money, and careful coordination. I have none of those. I must first get those. The coordination thing is probably never going to happen for me, especially if I persist in wearing flip flops everywhere I go, including outside during an ice storm. That’s a story for another day. Time and money are relative things; both can be made if one tries hard enough. I think I have a damned spiffy bucket list.
I want to visit Ireland, Scotland, and Great Britain. I would like to see where my ancestors lived, and enjoy all the local attractions, touristy things, as well as go off the beaten path to find some real beauty.
I want to visit Scandinavia and, in particular, go during the best viewing time of the Northern Lights. I honestly have never seen something quite as beautiful. I also want to stomp around like a Viking and utter mysteriously “If it is the will of the Gods” and see if I can observe some Skarsgaards in their natural habitat. And yes, to walk along the same paths that My Precious, Tobias Forge, has walked along would be super fine, too.
I want to skydive. Yes, I am afraid of heights. This should not matter. I once told a precious, little, 4 year-old girl that a part of life was “facing your fears” and that if she could sleep through the night in her own bed with only the light of her night-light, she would be facing her greatest fear, which was of course the dark. When she ran into my bedroom the next morning and triumphantly announced that she had conquered her demon, my heart contracted and then exploded with a love and pride so enormous, it is amazing that I don’t have congestive heart failure now. The idea of the earth racing up to meet me as I pull a rip cord and hope it engages just sounds like the scariest, most exhilarating thing I can imagine. I have faced much bigger fears in my life. Playing chicken with the ground doesn’t need to be one of them.
I want to visit Australia and spend time with my best friend, my sister from another mother, Belinda….and I want to hold a flying fox and feed it mashed up banana. Those are actually two separate things, but I can think of no one else who I would like to experience the wonder of meeting a fruit bat with than my soul sister.
I want to leave this shitty town I have lived in nearly all my life and never return. Oh, I know, I’ll get flak for this from those who truly love this town, but the thing is, I don’t. I never have. I have felt like an outsider all my life, tethered neither nostalgically or spiritually and wishing for a place that would envelop me in a hug and knock on the door of my heart and say, “I’m here. Let me in.” Last summer, I found it, and it is Virginia, near the beach. I would like to explore the shore of the Eastern seaboard a little and ultimately land somewhere reasonably warm. I have felt similar stirrings near the water in New Jersey and New York, but Virginia fairly shouted “WELCOME TO FANTASY ISLAND!” in a Mr. Rourke voice when I arrived. It is on my bucket list to live there, and if I can do that sooner rather than later, then I would be very content with clicking off the rest after this one goal is accomplished.
I want to visit California and rest upon its Pacific shores. I want to watch a sunset and marvel at the beauty. That’s a pretty simple one.
I want to see Elton John in concert. My love for him is longstanding and well-documented. I cannot believe that I could be in awe of him for so long and never took the opportunity. He’s getting older, and so am I. This one needs to happen fast, before one of us breaks a hip and can’t do concerts anymore!
I want to publish a novel that is read by more than just my friends and family. No, I don’t want to be Anne Rice or Stephen King famous, and the idea of fame is actually pretty terrifying. I would not do well on a book tour. Another author who I hold in the highest regard, Jenny Lawson, she of The Bloggess fame, has mostly overcome this kind of fear and has shared her struggles with her followers and I so admire her for it. That struggle? It is so real. Me? I just don’t think I can do it. I would be more of a JD Salinger-type writer, shunning publicity and shying away from cameras. If I received a decent amount of acclaim, I would insist that black-cloaked body doubles be strategically placed to direct the press away from me whenever I needed to go somewhere. The world would question whether or not I truly existed. One might ask, “Well, how would it be a bucket list item if no one knows who the fuck you are?” and the answer to that is that I would fucking know and it’s my bucket list, so fuck off.
I suppose it’s a kind of standard bucket list, really. I tend to be more imaginative about the things I know I can never do, rather than the things I really want. Truth be told, I would never place something like “I want to meet this famous person” on a bucket list because they almost always do not live up to your expectations. We forget that famous people are human beings (except for the entire Trump family, who are Orcs, and Steve Mnuchin and his nasty wife, who are shape-shifting demons) and that they are capable of behaving just as humanly as we do. Pathetically so, in some cases. Yes, 3/4 of the male population in Hollywood, I am referring to you.
Now it’s your turn. “Wait!” you’re exclaiming, “Is this an interactive kind of thing? I actually have to do something? I am used to reading your shit while in my underwear and hiding out in my bed! What in the actual fuck?”
Yes, you are being asked to engage with me. I’d love to know what’s on your bucket list. Look, this could be lots of fun! Plus, it’ll be in print and I can come back to you later and ask you, “So, did you do it yet?” Accountability! I can actually MOTIVATE you. And I promise to do it in a non-irritating way. Suze Orman or Oprah I am not. Those bitches make my head hurt.
So c’mon. Indulge me. There’s a little reply thingy below. I’m waiting.