Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mrs. Linklater Starts A Bucket List

The average life expectancy for someone my age [66] is about 78 years. Assuming I survive any more wellness attacks by my overzealous local police department, that means I have just twelve years to finish doing all the things on my bucket list. Except, wait a minute, I never made a bucket list. In fact, like almost everybody else, I'd never heard of a bucket list until they made a movie about it. 
     There is a reason I didn't have a list. I didn't think I needed one. I never felt like I was missing out on anything I wanted to have or wanted to do. I especially haven't had a sense of urgency since the docs put me on beta blockers to keep my heart from beating at Mach II. [Beta blockers -- now there's an underrated drug with a host of off label uses that deserves its own entry.] 
     It may also help that I'm not a high maintenance person, so my dreams tend to reach for the low hanging fruit. You need a ladder to reach for the stars. Meanwhile, there is a 24-hour 7-11 only six blocks away, with a freezer full of Ben and Jerry's available at all times, so I can easily lose my focus. 
     I have also never had a longing to meet famous people, [my recent Gerard Butler episode aside], perhaps because I've serendipitously met a few celebrities, spent some up close and personal time with them and, guess what? They're usually not any funnier, better looking, more intelligent, or nicer than my regular, day-to-day friends. 
     I've never had an urge to bungee jump off the Eiffel Tower or Devil's Tower. Never gave a moment's thought to climbing up or down the seven or eight highest mountains in the world. Nor have I felt the need to get a boob/nose/ass job. Since I'm almost six feet tall, I've also never felt inclined to have sex on a train, plane, or, for that matter, in an automobile. Which doesn't mean I haven't done some of these things, just that I wasn't inclined. 
     For inspiration, I took a look at what other people are putting on their bucket lists. There's even a blog with bucket list ideas HERE. To give your own list a jump start, the blog authors spot you the first ten:
1. Write a script for a TV show. 
2. Do stand-up comedy.
3. Write a children's book. 
4. Go camping.
5. Ride a gondola in Venice
6. Learn how to salsa dance.
7. Host Saturday Night Live.
8. Visit a Renaissance fair.
9. See the Mona Lisa at the Louvre.
10. Witness a solar eclipse.

The first thing I noticed about this list of ten is that, in one form or another, I've been there, done that. Except host Saturday Night Live. [No thanks.] In the interest of full disclosure, when I saw the Mona Lisa, she wasn't at the Louvre. That smirking bitch was at the Met in 1963. 
     On reflection, I think the best reason to do the other things on the list is if you do them with a hot date. The entire day I spent at the Renaissance Fair, my mind was on the after party.  
     In fact, I think if you added "with a hot date" to anything on a bucket list, the quality of the experience would improve exponentially. Witness a solar eclipse "with a hot date."  Ride on a gondola in Venice "with a hot date." Learn how to salsa dance "with a hot date." It's like adding "in bed" to the fortune in your Chinese almond cookie. 
     BUT -- I digress.
     Even though 100 seems to be the working number, I'm not sure I could come up with that many things I want to do before I die. But there are some things I'd like to do more than 100 times.     
     The first is to hold a grandchild's hand. Aw-w-w-w-w. My own grandchild. *Sniff*. Meanwhile, my young nephews and niece make wonderful surrogates. So I will have plenty of practice if the time comes.
     The second is to shoot pictures from a helicopter. I could easily do that 100 times. In 100 beautiful places across the world. The Grand Canyon, Hawaiian Islands, Vancouver, Yellowstone, Aspen, Scandinavian Fjords, any big city. If you want to add some extra bells and whistles, get Harrison Ford to be the pilot. Or cover my costs. 
     The third is to start a Cookies and Milk program for latch key kids. Fresh baked cookies and milk delivered by grandmas to kids who are alone. This could be extended to homesick young men who are tired of ordering pizza. 
     The fourth is to finish my documentary on 100 women of the sixties now in their sixties -- before I turn seventy. 
     The fifth thing is to get a law passed that makes wellness checks cost the cops $100 -- make that $1000 -- every time the alleged victim was alive and well at work. 
     The last thing is way too serious for this entry, but here it is anyway: Break ground on the first of 100 safe houses for battered women and children. There are only 500 beds in the entire Chicago metro area of over 7 million people. There are 20,000 DV calls per month. Every community of 30,000 people across the country should have a safe place for survivors to go. The reason for this altruistic gesture on my part is mainly so people like me stop getting calls at midnight from battered neighbors and friends because they have no place to go. Who needs their crazy husbands pounding on the door anymore?
     Funny how when you start thinking about this stuff, more ideas start popping up. Like adding a stone fireplace to my house. I miss lying on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate, reading a book, and listening to the crackle of a roaring fire. Those portable outdoor fireplaces you can get now are great in the summer, when you can lie under the stars in the hammock and toast marshmallows. But it gets nippy standing around trying to fire up the logs when it's minus 5. 
     Of course I can always just make a cup of hot chocolate and stare at this picture:



Donna said...

My entire bucket list is made up of places I want to see. Being on a limited budget and married to a man who hates travel (except on the motorcycle), I don't picture myself getting to go to many of those places. Since I've done so many of the things I wanted to do, I won't complain.

Remo said...

I think Anne will second your fee-structure on the wellness checks, although she was more appropriately (under)dressed for the occasion.

I recently found a job for fire-watcher in a national forest. It's a 45 minute drive from the nearest town to get to the trailhead, a 2-mile hike to the lake, a 30-minute trip across the lake to the tower trail and then a 6-mile hike to climb 400 feet to the tower location.

And they PAY you.

Remo said...

correction: The vertical climb on the 6-mile hike is 4,000 feet.

I'm still interested.

jharding said...

I think that the fact that you can't add any of the typical bucket list items to your own list is great. It shows that you've led an amazing life and you still have so much time left to pursue other things. I hope you are able to do those things that you love 100 times. Good luck!

Chris said...

If I am going to write a bucket list of things I haven't done that I want to do, I think the opposite is in order too.

A "f*** It list"
A list of 100 things that I currently do for whatever reason, that really don't add anything to my life except drain time, energy, and effort away from doing the things on my bucket list.

Adirondackcountrygal said...

I found a new person to read! A funny one too! My bucket list mostly comprises of travel, but I would like to parasail, zipline thru a jungle, jump from a perfectly good airplane and go down the Amazon in a boat!

IT IS ALLY said...

This is an awesome post.

If I ever make a bucket list it is definitely going to be the "with a hot date" kind - also, why would 'go camping' be one of the first ten? Seriously? I would put "get blind drunk on rum and wear a pirate hat (with a hot date)" above 'go camping.' And that was just the first thing that came to mind.

IT IS ALLY said...

ps you might like - along the general bad art line