Saturday, May 15, 2010

Are you a list maker?

I make lists on a regular basis.  To do lists, grocery lists, gift lists, lists of phone calls I need to make, of emails I need to send- if there is a list that can be made for day to day life- I probably have made at least one.  It's all part of being a planner.  But there are two lists that I cannot seem to make- the Wish List and the Bucket List. 

I am sure that everyone knows what a Bucket List is- but in the off chance that you don't- it's the list of things that you want to do before you kick the bucket.  It's also a FANTASTIC movie with Morgan Freeman, Jack Nicholson and Sean Hayes- I recommend everyone see it.  I have been trying and trying to do these two lists for some time and I just can't commit.  What I am hoping to accomplish today is to figure out why I find this so hard. 

When I think of a Wish list- I take it very seriously.  I mean- I have a list of things to do when we win the lottery, but it's entirely different from a real Wish list.  A wish list for me has to be things that I really wish for that are attainable.  I think part of the problem for me is- I almost feel like making such a list would make me really ungrateful for all of the blessings that I have in my life.  I have been so fortunate that wishing for more seems greedy.  I have a wonderful family, we both have good jobs, a roof over our heads, clothing, food, medical care; we have enough to meet our needs and a few small luxuries- and so many people don't have one of these things much less all of them.  I am also torn in terms as to what kind of things I would wish for.  Can you tell that this gives me no small amount of stress? 

As for my Bucket List- of course the first thing holding me back is that if I make one- that means I have to acknowledge my own mortality.  I mean really?  Who wants to think about dying?  I am not one of those people who believes that we are closer to death each day.  I feel that we should live every day as if it is our last.  I don't want to creep toward death.  I want to enjoy every minute of my life.  What if I do make my bucket list and then I complete it?  Does that mean the I am ready to kick that bucket?  I surely hope not.  There is also a little bit of fear holding me back that directly correlates with my illness.  When I think of things that are "worthy" of going on a Bucket List- there is a little, niggling thought in the back of my head that wonders what happens if I am physically unable to complete the things on my list?  For example;  many, many years ago my father and I talked about taking a horse/donkey trip down the Grand Canyon for my 18th birthday.  When the time came- I was engaged to my husband, working full time and had other priorities in my life.  Now, almost 25 years later- I wish we had made that trip.  Not only do I wish we had made that trip; but it would be a great item for that Bucket List.  Of course- when we talked about that I had never even heard of Rheumatoid Arthritis; and Fibromyalgia was not on my radar.   The little voice in the back of my head says "Don't put THAT on your list- you would never make it!"  I know that I am physically more challenged than I was at 18- where will I be in another 25 years?  The little voice sneers at me and says "Are you going to take a wheel chair down instead of a horse?"  and that stops me in my tracks. 

So there we are.  That is my quandry. 


Anonymous said...

I've never made a wish list or a bucket list, either, Jules. As far as wishes go, if they're for "things" I want, then like you, I start feeling selfish and spoiled if I try to list them. These are things I don't need; having them would be nice (say, my "perfect" house in the "perfect" location, for instance). I already have a very nice house, and while this isn't the place I want to live my life out at, there's certainly nothing really "wrong" with it, and I am very fortunate. I have everything I need, and if I get to a point where I cannot have ANYthing else, well, I'm probably already set for a lifetime. ;) In addition, I don't know about you, but the material "things" I want tend to change with time -- and my list would probably never stop growing, once I started it. To me, making a wish list is a sort of useless effort.

As for the bucket list, though I don't have one, I do have places in the world I'd love to visit or even live someday. And there are a few things I'd love to do, too, like take a voyage on a research ship to the Antarctic. I'd freeze my patooties off and probably be so gimped up by rheuma in the cold that I'd have to be carried up to deck to see them, but I want in the worst way to see those mysterious, beautiful, white, blue and purple icebergs with my own eyes. Why? I've no idea, but this is one of those things that I've longed for for many, many years.

I don't see the idea of a bucket list as a concession to death or an admission of readiness for it at all. Instead, I think such a list is a celebration of life, of wanting to fit into the time we have as many joyous and wondrous experiences and places that we can. Very few of us will ever be able to fulfill that list, but part of the joy is in the trying.

I think you should GO on that donkey ride into the Grand Canyon. Don't worry a bit about how you'll manage it with rheuma or fibro; that's something to worry about when it happens, you know? And if you discover that riding a donkey or mule down those fabulous, steep trails just isn't going to work, then, dammit, DO it in a wheelchair! Why the heck not? The chair is merely a tool to GET you where you want to go, right? And no one would ever think to question your courage or determination in doing it, in spite of the obstacles you face. In fact, everyone will cheer you on!

Bucket lists are hopeful things, not morbid things. I hope you'll be able to make one, since lists are something you love. And then I hope you'll be able to scratch the items off, one by one. After all, isn't hope what makes it all worthwhile?

Have a wonderful Sunday and a kind workweek, my friend. And smile.

Jules said...

You are so very wise Wren. I count you amongst my blessings. <3Your perspective always makes me think- in a good way.

The icebergs would be amazing to see-for me from a distance- I do NOT like cold (hence fleeing New England after 20 years). I hope that you get to go- and I hope I get to read about it and enjoy the photos. <3