The Bucket List is a 2007 American dramedy film directed by Rob Reiner, written by Justin Zackham, and starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. The main plot follows two terminally ill men (portrayed by Nicholson and Freeman) on their road trip with a wish list of things to do before they “kick the bucket“.
Since the premiere of this movie in 2007, bucket list has become the common term for the things you wish to accomplish before leaving this earth. I just Googled it and found 71,500,000 responses! I’d say that makes it pretty common terminology!
Butch, my husband, and I have now both reached the magical age of qualifying for Medicare. Is that cause for celebration or lamentation? Mourning feels like a constant companion these days lurking behind every shadow and dark rain cloud. We have lost all of our parents, most of the aunts and uncles, a sibling, and this year for the first time several very close friends our same age as well as some much younger. When the phone rings, no one rushes to answer for fear that once again we have a funeral to attend. In fact earlier this week, Butch suggested going shopping! (For those of you who know Butch, you can only imagine how shocked I was to hear him say that.) He needed some new “funeral clothes”! So off we went into the strange world of sport coats, dress shirts and dress pants finding the store where you buy 1 and get 1 free on everything including ties. Two hours and $1500 later (we saved $971) he has his new funeral wardrobe including a wool topcoat would you believe? That my friend is only the tip of the iceberg.
Facing your own impermanence here on earth takes a while to become a reality. You never know what it might be that happens in your life that finally makes you stop and truly believe that your life is not going to go on forever. It may be a diagnosis, the death of a close friend, death of a parent, a stroke, death of a sibling or even a child. Whatever does it, when it happens all of sudden the bucket list comes into play. How much time do I have left? What do I want to do or experience while my health and life last? Where do I want to go? What kind of impact/difference to I want to have or make? And the list goes on . . .
As a couple, we do not have formal documentation of a bucket list. But as the weeks and months go by there is evidence building that between us there is a quiet understanding of a “list” out there somewhere. Perhaps we are writing it as we check off the items accomplished. There seems to be a “his” list, a “her” list and of course an “ours” list all of which we agree upon. Here are a few examples of what I mean:
In January Butch’s name was drawn as the winner of a Seven Day All Expenses Paid Caribbean Cruise for two. I entered his name in an honor a caregiver contest never believing that in a million years he would win! Well he did! His response was, “Have them draw again and give the trip to someone else. I really don’t want to go.” The new winner is a 32-year-old breast cancer survivor single mom with two boys. She and her caregiver, who is her mother, will be taking the trip. We both agreed that we would rather do something we would both enjoy. So it was not on the list. See how this works? We are doing a fourteen-day Alaska and Inside Passage Cruise in July that came up after we passed on the Caribbean. Only difference is that is something both of us want to do and our own pocketbook will be paying the bill. This was on the “ours” list.
Shortly we are leaving on a two-week trip to the west coast not to see the sights but rather to enjoy the company of friends and family that we have not seen for a while. Time waits for no one. We’ll enjoy the sights with those we love as we go. What can be better?
Butch is a recreational pilot. Another words he does it because he loves to fly. Airplanes have been a part of our life as long as I can remember and as long as I can remember the plans have always included owning a Dehavilland Beaver. As of last week, we do!
My dream was to write a book. It is written and published.
As a result of surviving breast cancer, I began to support other patients on their own emotional journeys with the help of Hastings Breast Cancer Support Group (www.hastingsbreastcancer.com) by the creation of the Voices of Hope DVD series for patients and their caregivers. We are making a difference in the lives of many women and men. Without Butch’s support and understanding, I would not have the time to do this. He knows the importance it has for me.
We never know what tomorrow will bring so we’ve decided to live our lives for the living and have gratitude for each day that we are given. There was a story once about living your life to the fullest and sliding into your grave exhausted, satisfied with your accomplishments and happily saying, “Wow God, what a great ride” rather than “I wish I would have. . . . . . . . . “.
Have you started accomplishing your bucket list?