Like millions of other Baby Boomers, I went to see Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson work their way through a “Bucket List” of things they wanted to experience or accomplish before they died. While it’s always been a little tough for me to sit through two hours of Jack Nicholson at one time, the premise of the movie was thought provoking enough that I started my own less ambitious “pail list” after I saw it.
So far, I’ve come up with 38 things I want to do. I did have 40 items at one time, but anyone will tell you that a bucket list is a little fluid. What seemed like a good idea in 2007 doesn’t seem like such a good idea in 2008. Or a place described in a travel magazine in 2005 is now making headlines because a tsunami thundered through and wiped out the entire population—except the chickens who sensed the wave was coming and headed for the hills. Or maybe it’s somewhere that tourists currently get an exchange rate of 2 cents on the American dollar and a bowl of noodles costs $45.
So for whatever reason, my pail list has a tiny tide that goes in and out depending on the mood. I won’t share my entire pail list, but items that I believe will stay on it are:
1. Go on a New England cruise up the east coast past Maine, Newfoundland, down the St. Lawrence River, and end up in Quebec City where we will wander out in the countryside and find Tom’s French-Canadian roots
2. Walk the Dells River Walk that opened in Wisconsin in 2004
3. Fly over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter
4. Go to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia
5. Commit to health: walk every single day and never eat after dinner for the rest of my life
6. Belong to a book club
7. Play with my own grandchildren
8. Teach a night class for one semester at Kauai Community College in Lihu’e, Hawaii (or whatever teaching load is enough to pay the rent on an ocean-side condo during that semester)
Some items on the list are very do-able; some are very pie-in-the-sky; and some are really going to happen (see #7!). There’s nothing on the list that would probably float someone else’s boat, but it’s fun to dream a little, even if the image of Jack Nicholson sometimes pops in uninvited into my daydreams.