After seeing the movie The Bucket List with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson years ago, I remember talking about it and even making a mental list of my own bucket items, but at the time I never actually wrote anything down. Truly, it just didn't seem important enough. I knew that the things I wanted to do could change a hundred times over the years so why limit myself to a list when, instead, I could just be open to whatever came along in life? One example is the time I won a single ticket to the first game of the 1988 World Series between the LA Dodgers (my team) and the Oakland A's. Yes, this means I was there, in person, to witness Kirk Gibson hit the winning home run! A great moment in Dodgers history and I was there, but I never could have planned that.
At some point in the first month following my diagnosis, I decided to sit down and really try to create a bucket list thinking it would give me a goal to focus on. The first few items were fairly obvious for me, things like dance at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, ride the London Eye, drink champagne in France and visit Venice and Rome. However, all the really important things involved having more time to spend with my family, to see my son grow up and reach his life's milestones, for him to find true love like his dad and I have, and to become a man he is proud and happy to be. Really, those are the only things that matter on that list so, once again, I didn't bother to write them down. These are things I hope to be a part of, hope to watch unfold, but there is no way to really know what life will bring and I still don't feel the need to limit my options or worry about what I could miss out on because of a "what if"….
I also realized that, other than more time, I have already lived the majority of items that might be found on a bucket list. I learned to SCUBA dive and to snowboard and to surf, I rappelled from rocks and mountains (albeit smallish ones), and I went para-sailing. I have been to 44 of the 50 United States and to 12 countries outside of the US. I have been to the top of the Empire State Building, the Seattle Space Needle, and the St. Louis Arch. I have seen amazing and beautiful works of art by some of the great masters in history as well as newer artists whose work just spoke to me. I have been to Broadway plays, to concerts, to National Parks including Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone. I've traveled by airplane, train, car and cruise ship. I learned to ride a skateboard, a horse, a motorcycle and I've driven some of the nicest cars on some of the most beautiful roads in California. I made good friends from coast to coast and have shared fun times and experiences with them over the years.
I have traveled to beautiful places, historic places, places of wonder, and I have definitely seen amazing sites. I have met incredible people from different cultures, listened to their stories, and enjoyed their history. I have been daring and had numerous fun and exciting adventures. I have eaten exotic foods, I swam with wild dolphins and sharks and sea turtles and sting rays and eels and more tropical fish than I can count, all out in the open oceans. I followed my dreams and had two careers that I really enjoyed. I met and married the man I love and have shared so many amazing moments in this life with him including the best adventure of all, parenthood.
Most importantly, I have truly lived and loved and continue to do so each day! I'm not willing to limit my dreams or experiences to a list that I wrote out of fear of missing out. One thing I know for sure, I will never feel that I have missed out on this life! Instead, I made it happen. I walked through the doors that opened before me (and the ones I had to kick down), I took chances on new opportunities and embraced change rather than fearing it. I cannot see any reason to stop now, so I will stay aware and available to new adventures until I am done and will continue to make life happen in ways that are meaningful to me!