It’s almost the end of the year, and time for that making resolutions conversation. Personally, I am not a resolution person, instead I am someone that has a bucket list. Resolutions to me are a set of rules to improve behaviour. I would like to think we consider this all year round. Bucket lists however exist to remind us there is still so much to do. A list can be added to. A list can be ticked off, even slowly, and it can be as short, or as long, as you like.
Goals are not part of my bucket list, at least not directly. For those not familiar with the idiom, Keith Cronin says that it is “a list of things you want to accomplish before you kick the bucket. (And for those of you not familiar with what “kick the bucket” means, it’s a reference to an ancient – and anatomically challenging – romantic ritual involving a large bucket, three pairs of oversized steel-toed boots, 12 gallons of tapioca pudding, and 23 well-trained river-dancers, preferably double-jointed. Honest.)” Still confused about the meaning? Read on.
Whilst I enjoyed Keith’s humorous approach, in simpler terms, a bucket list is a compilation of items that we want to experience just once before we die. Where the boots, tapioca and dancers come into it, I really don’t know. I do know I created a bucket list years ago. I kept it simple and under different categories – travel, attending the performances of people I consider icons (subjective here, remember that), play an instrument, and get published. Bucket lists tend to be selfish. Selfish is good because it pushes us into doing.
Early in December I talked about my vision for my writing future. My original wish on my bucket list was to be published. I was, years ago, in a magazine, a newspaper, and a poem in a newsletter. I ticked that one off a long time ago, but the seed had been planted, and the push into more is happening as we speak.
I wanted to teach overseas, travel and learn Italian (it’s not enough to grow up speaking it). I ticked these off and discovered teaching English as a Second Language was where my passion lay, and secondly, travel would be the inspiration for my romance series The Unexpected Series (sorry about the word series repetition). Can you see what I mean about selfish? We do things and they lead to other things that ironically are beneficial in unexpected ways. Teaching in Italy was a heritage bonus.
A bucket list is whimsical, close to the heart. I wanted to see Sinatra, Cher and Barbara Streisand in concert. I paid a small fortune to see Frank. I cried at his first note, heck I cried when the orchestra started playing the introduction. Tick. Big tick. Selfish tick.
After a night out with my daughter in Melbourne in October this year, I took a shower before bed. My phone rang. My daughter proceeded to harass me to hurry so I could check who called. Curious but not worried I took my time. If it was family and urgent, they would try her phone. The strange harassment continued through the door, until I finally came out of the bathroom. I should have known something was up. I took the phone, looked at it and became incoherently incoherent. OMG was repeated at least a thousand times. There on my phone were two tickets to see Cher at the Rod Laver Stadium. Another tick, a huge tick and unexpected. The concert was fantastic, my daughter was and is, simply the best. Hmmm, a Tina Turner song and it turns out I saw her in concert and in real life at an airport. I can give me another tick. I like concerts.
But wait, there is more. I began wondering if the making of a bucket list seeps subconsciously into our minds and subtly guides us towards our desires. Or is it the other way around? I checked through my bucket list. What about playing an instrument? I had a flutter of a recollection. In 1998, while in Italy studying Italian, I took a tour. Staying in the Lake Como district in a fancy hotel (discount prices for winter) I found myself in a discussion about a group called The Gypsy Kings, a little too obscure for people in Australia at the time, and for me, to ever have imagined seeing.Having gotten friendly with our tour guide Anna- a fellow Gypsy Kings fan – and the muse for one of my characters in Unexpected Obsession, I found out the group were performing privately for an English Insurance Company, at our hotel. Anna and I did what any insane fan would do, we crashed the festivities and drank expensive champagne, too much of it because I jumped on stage as only a middle-aged groupie can, threw myself at the lead guitarist who valiantly tried to keep on playing. He stopped once to call me crazy because I had started plucking the strings, thereby preventing him from doing his job. Like I cared, I was playing a guitar and on stage. There’s my instrument. Hey, it’s my blog and I say it counts. Huge, huge tick.
I have been within touching distance of Gregory Peck, Roy Orbison and Hugh Jackman so hang on, Barbra Streisand, I might make it to you yet. Listing our desires in that bucket list sets us up to make them, and so much more happen. Damn it. I should have put writing a best-seller on that list. Is it too late to add it on? What do you want in life? What’s on your bucket list? Can they work together to help you achieve your dreams? Let me know. Don’t worry if I am busy, I’m just adding to my bucket list. I have a few years left and I don’t want to waste them.
See you next time,
P.S. My other two children need to get a move on to move up in the favourite child list or they might miss out. (I don’t have much but they don’t know that).
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