By Linda Lovely
I don’t have a single item on my bucket list.
Does that mean I’m ready to kick the bucket? Or do I plan to sit in my pajamas and stare into space until I exit the planet?
Neither—not by a long shot. Actually, my empty bucket list just means I want my days to be happy and fulfilling wherever I am.
Let me explain—first by sharing a definition of “bucket list.” I’d planned to post a very different blog until I shared my ideas with my husband. Robin Weaver, a critique partner, had suggested it would be fun to list the top items on famous literary characters’ and authors’ bucket lists. For example, Dr. Watson’s number one desire might be solving a complex crime before Sherlock got out of bed. Or Edgar Allen Poe might want to see ravens go extinct before he does.
My husband questioned if these examples were truly bucket list eligible. “For something to be on a bucket list, doesn’t it need to be totally within your power to make it come true?” he asked. “Otherwise isn’t it just a plain-old goal?”
Hmm. Good question. I have lots of dreams. Like most writers, I’d like one of my novels to hit a New York Times’ best seller list. But making that happen isn’t within my power—even if I write the best book I’m capable of producing. There are lots of other factors beyond an author’s control from genre trends and timing to getting noticed by influential reviewers.
Perhaps travel tends to top so many bucket lists because it is often within one’s own power to make it happen. If you have money and are healthy enough to board a plane, you can enjoy some of the world’s most magnificent sights, sounds and tastes. You can listen to jazz in New Orleans. Eat freshly baked croissants in a Paris café. Hike in the Swiss Alps. Nightclub in Mexico City. See a Broadway play. Ride horseback in the Rocky Mountains. Sail in the Caribbean.
Hey, what do you know? I’ve been lucky enough to do all of these and more. Maybe that’s why specific travel goals aren’t on my bucket list.
What I want for the remainder of my life is to remain open to possibilities. Exotic travel? Maybe, if an intriguing opportunity comes along. But I’m more concerned about the quality of time I spend with my family and friends whether we’re playing cards at our kitchen table or walking the beach at the coast. I want to keep laughing and I want my characters to have lots of adventures. Perhaps that’s why my bucket is empty. I can share plenty of adventures with my imaginary friends as well as the people I love.