My confession: I don’t have a Bucket List.
My confession expanded: I don’t see the need for a Bucket List.
My confession to its conclusion: Bucket Lists seem constricting to my sensibilities.
Yes, I know! Having a spread sheet in Excel of ALL THE THINGS for a Bucket List is very chic, very hip.
I’ve often said that I live a small life. What I mean to express is that what comes my way, in my space, I’m happy to have. What I don’t do is make a to-achieve list before I, um, kick mah bucket. When I think of a Bucket List I wonder, “What’s the point?” No really. I think that every. stinkin’. time.
Before those of you who have a Bucket List grab the torches and pitchforks, I should explain myself with a biographical story.
Once upon a time, in the wondrous state of Texas, there lived a young mommy. She was happy. She was raising her family. Every day she was hustlin’, hustlin’.
As she was moving through her life, she noticed a weirdo spot on her leg that seemed to have changed. Off to the doc she went. The doc poked and looked and declared her A-OK! The young mommy wasn’t convinced, so the doc cut that spot off and sent it to other docs.
Word came, by phone, when the young mommy was in the midst of cleaning the toilets. She had to sit down and shake the disbelief from her head: C-A-N-C-E-R. Melanoma to be precise.
Back to the docs she went. Back to get clean margins and talk of life expectancy and odds. The docs told her she’d have to wait for weeks for the results, but Young Mommy went all Terms of Endearment on their asses and she knew within one week that it was stage one with no spreading to far away organs. As her oncologist predicted, “You’ll live to be an old woman.”
There was much celebrating and crying from the sheer relief, as all she could think about during that horrible no-good week was the family, the young son, she would leave behind if the news turned dire.
Yep. That young mommy was me. At one point in the week o’fun between discovery and diagnosis, the docs told me the worst case scenario was that I had six months.
It is no exaggeration to say that Husband and I took care of business in that one week. I mapped Boy’s eduction and what would be needed, so that Husband could continue with our original plan. Our estate was settled. We made our horrible, painful, crybaby peace with what might befall our lovely little family. We told family and friends. We controlled the chaos as much as we could.
Then, a blessed grace that I could have never earned, bought or begged: “You’ll live to be an old woman.” For the record, when I heard my oncologist declare such a bold statement, his words were not his own, they were straight from God. No one will ever convince me otherwise.
The other amazing grace I was allowed during that excruciating week: I understood in a pinpointed moment what was important and what was hubris.
The sins of others I had held tight: dissolved.
My sins: forgiven.
The day to day nonsense of my world, the self-centered, demanding, WHAT ABOUT MY NEEDS, seemed comically ridiculous.
Here’s a few fun facts about Melanoma:
* Melanoma can only be cured by excising the tumor completely.
* There’s no chemo that can touch it, nor radiation that works towards a cure.
* You either get it all out with knives, or you suffer until it spreads and kills you.
* Most people have no idea it’s one of the few cancers that doesn’t have a hopeful course of action towards cure.
Talk about a HOLY SHIT moment. Um, yeah.
My life went from broad gray paintbrush strokes to fine-tipped color markers. Suddenly, I knew what mattered. Suddenly, I had all the answers to the questions we ask ourselves our entire lives. Suddenly, I could see.
Want to know my biggest regret? Wanna know the one thing that has stayed with me all these years later?
I had denied myself way too much chocolate cake.
I kid you not.
WHAT A WASTE! I should have had MORE CAKE! This, of course, was a literal and figurative revelation.
I had been so worried about tomorrow that I had neglected today. Today, every now and again, I am reminded that my vision is too focused on tomorrow and I eat cake. Seriously.
Seems too simplistic, right?
Of course you should plan for tomorrow. I’m a huge proponent of planning. The one thing you can find me doing is making a list of all the things I plan to do. While there are definitely things I would do if offered the opportunity, I’m not pining for random goals. I don’t spend time wishing for and building a bucket list.
I almost had it all taken. I almost bought the farm. I came thisclose to being six feet under.
BUT, I’M STILL HERE!
What a stunning surprise.
The other reason I don’t waste my time concocting an arbitrary list is because I’m busy living where I am, baby. My life might be small in terms of world travel or experience, but I’m livin’ large in terms of where I’ve been planted and it suits me; my small life makes me happy.
I’ve had friends die too early from disease. I’ve lost family. I’ve witnessed too much pain to worry about a list.
I gots to live now, here, with all I have in me, and not worry about checking off a life’s to-do list.
Gives me the freedom to be who I am, where I am.
Boots anxiety, over a trendy list, to the curb.
Allows more servings of chocolate cake.
My Bucket List = no Bucket List.