In the wisps of my memory, I pick at a loose thread.
And gently tug.
The memory unwinds bit by bit as each fiber of the filament sees the light of day.
Remembering Chicago…a girls’ trip with book club…deep dish sausage pizza…kissing a handsome Italian stranger on St. Patrick’s Day…exploring a vibrant city…celebrating my 40th birthday…shopping on Michigan Avenue…a bucket list written in jest on a napkin from a bar.
Ah, a telltale sign of the beginnings of middle age: a bucket list.
The list of things to do before one dies. Stuff to do before you kick the proverbial bucket.
Teenagers don’t think of life that way. Young adults don’t either.
But those of us who have hit the middle years come to a sudden jaw-dropping realization that time is fleeting – ephemeral – and that there is not nearly enough of it in one lifetime.
In the desperation to prove that we really have LIVED, we craft for ourselves a list of incredible things we want to do before we die. If we manage to accomplish these things, you see, the theory goes that we will have fewer regrets upon our death bed. We won’t have wasted the precious minutes of our lives.
While I do recall a few of the items from the bucket list I started in Chicago, and I fully intend to see that I achieve at least most of them, my true bucket list should not just include the things I want to DO before I die, but the things I need to stop wasting my precious minutes doing while I live.
So, I propose that we should all craft a Reverse Bucket List.
For the rest of my life, I refuse to spend one single solitary moment:
- holding on to anger and resentment – Why should I let it poison my todays?
- reading a book I don’t enjoy – Why waste that time?
- letting fear hold me back – What do I have to lose?
- spending far too much time making a simple decision – Don’t I have something BETTER to do with that time?
- dashing through life with such haste that I miss the beauty in this world – the tiniest flower, the most intricate spider web, the smile of a stranger – each represents a miracle in this world. Wouldn’t it be marvelous to allow each one to make my ordinary days extraordinary?
And on a lighter note, no more:
- listening to political robocalls on my phone – hang up already!
- putting up with rude people – I can just walk away…
- actually reading the junk mail – recycle bin, here it comes!
- playing nice with the snarky PTA mom who will just talk about me the moment I turn my back – no more artificial niceties.
- liverwurst, okra, or scrapple – life’s too short for food I don’t love!
If I honor every thought in my Reverse Bucket List, even if I never see the aurora borealis, climb to the top of Machu Picchu, or eat fresh mozzarella crafted by hand by an Italian artisan, my life will still have held fulfillment.
Treat each day as a gift.
Isn’t that what prevents regret?
Kimberly is one overworked, overwrought mother juggling two active boys, one neurotic dog, and a rubber chicken. By day, she’s a librarian extraordinaire. By night, she’s a carpool chauffeur, Food Network junkie, resistant exerciser, and single mother who isn’t raising criminals. At Rubber Chicken Madness, she blogs about her high adventures in transforming teenage boys into confident young men, treasuring her imperfect life, and figuring out a way to use her minor in Philosophy to generate income.