Monday, February 28, 2011

The Not Bucket List

Have you ever thought about having a bucket list? Maybe you have already started one. Maybe you've checked everything off your list. I've been toying with the idea of a bucket list the past couple weeks. I don't know why, but it popped into my head recently that I ought to have one, and I've resisted the idea all at the same time. I've been trying to tease out my resistance, when part of the answer struck me. Via Facebook, naturally.
A friend of mine announced she'd been able to check something off her list. My first reaction to her choice was that it was certainly not on my list of things to do. But that's okay, that's why we all have our own bucket list. I'm glad she got to do one of the things she really wanted to do, even if it's not something I would make an effort to do. At the same time, given the same opportunity, I would take it, even if it's not one I would chase.
This is where my thoughts started to really percolate. If I had made a bucket list ten or twenty years ago, would I really care about the things I checked off my list that I had accomplished? Am I resistant to the list because I don't want to expend energy chasing something that won't matter in a decade? There are plenty of things I thought I wanted, and in retrospect, that is not me.
And, all of a sudden, the bucket list feels like life; and I begin to touch on my resistance. Life is nothing like I thought it would be as I imagined it 20 years ago. Not. a. single. thing. (I know, the period after every word to make a point is so tired right now, but I like it.) Part of my process as a spiritual being is to be able to embrace what is happening, and to let go of disappointment and expectation. It's useless anyway. I'm kind of glad I don't have a list of things I haven't done staring me in the face. Not to mention that I've done a lot of things I never thought I would. A thirty day challenge of Bikram Yoga would not have been on the list because I didn't even know about it even 5 years ago, and yet, I could put a check mark next to it. Calming down a gigantic angry horse also would not have been on the list, but I feel like a badass because I've done that. (My apologies to my more genteel readers, but I could not find any other word.) And, speaking of horses, riding a horse into the hills at the base of Petra in Jordan with a man who may or may not have had intentions of making me his tenth wife, also not on the list, but worthy of a check mark.
I like the idea of a bucket list. I like the idea that if we visualize goals, they are more likely to come about. I also like the idea that life is unfolding, and though it's not like I would have scripted it, it's been an adventure I wouldn't trade. I still may sit down and think about what I'd like to accomplish or see or do. It's a delicate balance: chasing dreams and living with hands and heart open wide. I haven't totally released the idea of a bucket list; perhaps, if I had one, it would contain only one item. For now I'm appreciating the free form life I'm living and tending my wide open heart. Where are you?

1 comment:

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