Friday, October 23, 2015

The Bucket Life

Every time someone asks me if I have a bucket list, I cringe.

I finally figured out why.

I don't have one because I feel like it implies that I'm living a dull life and the only way I'd change it is if I got some really bad news and realized my time was short, so I'd suddenly throw caution to the wind and go do everything I ever wanted to do. Maybe that's a harsh way to look at it...but that's me.

I'm not sure how much the movie "The Bucket List" contributed to my feelings, but I do know I had this reaction long before I saw the movie.

"Billionaire Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) and car mechanic Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) are complete strangers, until fate lands them in the same hospital room. The men find they have two things in common: a need to come to terms with who they are and what they have done with their lives, and a desire to complete a list of things they want to see and do before they die. Against their doctor's advice, the men leave the hospital and set out on the adventure of a lifetime."

I don't have a problem with this part of their story: "a desire to complete a list of things they want to see and do before they die"

But here is where they lost me: "a need to come to terms with who they are and what they have done with their lives"

I don't like the idea of waiting until something serious comes along and threatens your identity causing you to scramble for your pen and paper and totally change your life's trajectory. 

I want to live my life in the now and decide now who I want to be and what I want to do and then spend my days doing and being. No line between what I am now and what I would do if I ran out of time.  I call it 'the bucket life'. I grab hold of all that I can right now and put it in my current bucket.

For instance.  Say I wanted to take a trip across the U.S. on my motorcycle. I think doing that would bring about a certain feeling of satisfaction and freedom. It would be 'out of the norm' of my current path, so therefore, it would feel amazing.  There is a sense of "I can't do this until certain things are in place" in that 'bucket list' mentality. If it's on the bucket list, I am waiting until something serious catapults me into the wherewithal to make my wish happen.

After all, I would need extra time, money and who knows what else to be able to travel all the way to CA on my motorcycle.  I might not ever have all those pieces in one place at the right time. I'd have to be retired, but then I might not be in good health. 

But in the 'bucket life' analogy, I take a ride in the evenings, through the valley where I call home.  I see the changing seasons, I get to stop and talk to friends out in the fields, I go for ice cream and I spend time with my husband. I experience the feelings in my current reality that I would have if I rode across the U.S.  

Having a bucket life mentality instead of a bucket list mentality has more to do with attitude. Embracing each moment you have right now and making the most of it. Bringing the 'list' items into your current 'life' as much as possible.

IF I had a bucket list, one item might be to do Christmas concerts all across North America - a Portraits of White Christmas tour.  But the truth is, I am getting so much enjoyment out of doing just one that I'd feel completely satisfied if I 'kicked the bucket' tomorrow because the bigger list is already a part of my present reality in a small way.

So I say, fill your bucket with all that you can and embrace each moment fully, right now.