Saturday, August 2, 2008

My Bucket List

I have decided it's time to compose a Bucket List. You know...a list of all the things you want to do before you kick the bucket. Okay, I guess it's obvious that I've just watched "The Bucket List" with 2 of my favorite actors Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

But you have to admit, it's one heck of a concept, and it seems like the ultimate goal setting exercise.

I'm 41 so I figure, best case scenario, I have about 40 years (give or take a few) to accomplish everything on it. Well, that is if I take after my dad's side of the family. My mother's side of the family can't seem to get anymore than 10 days past their 70th birthdays.

No kidding. When we buried my mother's only brother, who died exactly 10 days from his 70th birthday a few years back, I remember being unnerved that everyone was walking across the graves of their parents. I was trying to be as respectful as possible, taking up a position behind my mother, which was coincidentally on top of my grandfather's footstone.

It was then I had a "movie moment" ... you know, those moments when everyone is intently focused on the clergy/speaker/wedding party, etc... and someone in the back says something really stupid, really loudly and everyone in the congregation turns to look? As I caught the heel of my shoe in the engraved Masonic emblem, I glanced down and saw that the date of his death was, get this, 10 days after his 70th birthday! I gasped...loudly...causing an awkward pause to fall over the graveside service.

So, worst case scenario, I have 29 years...and 10 complete the items on the list.

All my life I've joked about things I'd like to accomplish before I die. Silly, inconsequential stuff...learn to play piano, see Paris, learn converstaional Japanese, write a novel. Now, after having given it some serious thought (and a stroke scare in January), compiling this list of goals doesn't sound like a bad idea.

Once, a family friend attended a seminar about obtaining your dreams. After serving as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, Richmond became an attorney, but kept his pilot license current, serving as a helicopter pilot in the Reserves. His office was always fun to hang around and he told the most interesting stories, smattered with corny jokes. He was very smart and enjoyed expanding his horizons with classes and seminars and such.

At this seminar, the instuctor handed out 3x5 cards, on which he asked everyone to write down what their dream job would be if money were no object. Richmond jotted down that he would like to own his own helicopter piloting service. Then the instructor told everyone to write down how they would go about obtaining this dream job, still keeping in mind that money was no object. Richmond quickly mapped out what would be needed. Then the instructor told everyone their next assignment was to go out and obtain that job! He told everyone that money IS NOT a factor if one really wanted to reach a goal. Needless to say...Richmond began piloting for a helicopter service that flew employees back and forth to oil rigs in the Gulf. I do not know if he ever reached his goal of owning his own service, but I know that he was very happy from that point forward. A few years ago, he died from complications of sleep apnea.

This story springs to mind whenever I think of lofty goals and how I should not give up on them.

I read somewhere that when you are setting goals, you should have a few that you can't obtain. That if all your goals are ones that you can actually reach, that you don't strive for them as much. That contridicts the idea behind creating a Bucket List, since the list should contain obtainable items.

I plan to have a few items that are subject to interpretation to be crossed off as I see fit. I noticed that in places in the movie, the characters were creative with the items on their list. The whole discussion of the origin kopi luwak (which, conincidentally, I already knew about, being in the coffee biz myself) though funny, would not make me laugh til I cried, but it was a heck of a punch line.

Unlike the movie, I plan for my husband to join me in many of them. Probably the sentimental ones, like having 10 grandchildren (a project mainly for my children!) and watching the sunset from the porch of our mountain top retirement villa. There are sure to be some silly ones too...real "Lucy and Ethel" moments, as I intend my best friend Cyndi, 4 years my junior, to join me on quite a few items. What good would the list be if I can't share it with those I love?

As I start to compile this list, I urge you, my reader, to check out the book film writer Justin Zackham is publishing by the same name. Zackham compiled the Bucket Lists of indiviuals ( actor Morgan Freeman included) from a broad spectrum of culture.

I plan to share my list with you as it forms, because part of setting a goal is having others keep you accountable to them.

That said, here is the beginning of Joy's Bucket List: (in no particular order)

Write a Novel (and publish it!)
Write something that will be read widespread
Surf the North Shore
See Paris
Scuba on the Great Barrier Reef
Represent Alabama at one of The Big Three
See all 3 of my children find the love of their life
Own my own business
Enjoy at least 10 grandchildren
Drive on the track at Talledega
Meet Kathleen Turner
Run for political office
Restore an antebellum mansion
Go on safari's a work in progress...

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