“You know, the ancient Egyptians had a beautiful belief about death. When their souls got to the entrance to heaven, the guards asked two questions. Their answers determined whether they were able to enter or not. ‘Have you found joy in your life?’ ‘Has your life brought joy to others?’” Carter Chambers. The Bucket List (2007).
Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson gave us a profound and introspective challenge in the 2007 movie. Had the concept of a “bucket list” really been named before? Surely, for centuries, people have said, “I would like to … before I die,” but did people make lists? Perhaps the ambitious of us.
For the last two weeks, my dad has been playing golf in Scotland. The Old Course. The New Course. North Berwick. And more. As he recounted in a phone call last week from Edinburgh, “it’s the trip of a lifetime. A true check on the bucket list.”
This made me a bit sad for a moment, as I am a tad sensitive about the thought of losing my father (but I know that it is a reality, which is hopefully far down the road). But, then the greater thought hit me: he’s finally taking the time to do things like this in his life! And why did he wait so long to start?!
Within the last 4 or 5 years, I penned my own list. I think I was aiming for the 100 Things To Do In My Lifetime. I didn’t make it to 100… but I have 46 inspirational things on my list. When I wrote it, I didn’t think I would be able to check items off for some time. But, a couple years ago, I pulled out the list (or, stumbled across it, rather), and found I could check off “coach a soccer team.” Tonight, I discovered I can check off “complete a triathlon” and “learn to shoot a handgun” … and I am very close on a few others.
Some of my list items are personal challenges (hit 75 on 18 holes; execute a full Thanksgiving dinner). Others are traveling feats (Sequoia National Forest; attend Carnival in Rio; fly fish Patagonia). And some fall into the “better person” category (mentor a child; learn sign language). Yet, every list must have some crazy ones (go platinum blonde; learn to Tango) … as well as some simple ones (plant a tree; paint a room in a house).
Why should we wait to make this list? Why do we trudge through life waiting for a better time, more money, more vacation, less stress, before we think about a list? Why aren’t we bringing joy to our lives while we can enjoy it? Life can change on the drop of a dime and will not slow down for you.
Start your list. The List of Living. And start checking things off now. Because life will not wait.
“We live, we die, and the wheels on the bus go round and round.” Edward Cole. The Bucket List.
Retro re-post of the day: Court (it’s a verb!).