When I Grow Up vs. The Bucket List

I had lunch with a good friend today. We sat in the sun in Little Tokyo Square and marveled at this tiny little old woman who must have been at least a hundred years old, maybe four foot ten inches, and ninety pounds. She had the MOST incredible fur hat – enormous, gigantic, FABULOUS! You could only see her from the mouth down and she had a bag of cream puffs that she was devouring with insane gusto and a cup of coffee from the same bakery that we were eating at. She was marvelous.

We watched her in awe and wondered if there would be any point in our lives when we could consume a bag of cream puffs with wreck-less abandon. At one point in this conversation one of us even went so far as to quote Goldie Hawn from First Wives Club “I should just have the nerve to let myself go… like you two!” (If you have not seen this movie, bring up your Netflix account and do so immediately… I’ll wait…)  My friend brought up The Bucket List, which I found to be a desperately disappointing film. I’m not a big fan of Jack but Morgan Freeman is a master. I found the story trite and simple in a not-good way. As in many (many, many) things, the concept was there, but the execution was tragically flawed. But here is where I ended up…

The Bucket List, not the movie, the idea… is a concept which overlays a To Do List onto your life. Now, I am not opposed to a To Do List, I use them every day, several of them in fact. But a To Do List by nature is a listing of items that must be done in a specificed amount of time that we basically need reminding of doing because, to be perfectly honest, we aren’t that thrilled about doing them… like picking up the dry cleaning and remembering to buy vitamins. Furthermore, The Bucket List is predicated on the notion that we are going to die and there is a sense of a race against time and nature. I accept the inevitability that we all have to give in to the natural order of the universe and therefore pass away. But, let’s face it, that’s depressing. I’m thinking that I’d rather not taint my ideas, hopes, and plans on something that is inherently, well, sorrowful.

Instead, the When I Grow Up List is elementally founded on hope, youthful idealism, and the notion that there are endless possibilities. Do I realize that it’s too late to be a “real ballerina?” I do. Sort of. I will never be employed by Paris Opera Ballet as a dancer. That’s perfectly okay. Most importantly, because in my heart of hearts, I don’t want that life. But can I take ballet lessons? Yes! Could I dance on stage with an audience? Yes! Apparently I could even audition for a small local company if I worked hard enough. I can still enjoy a life that is filled with dance rather than place an X in a check box on a To Do List and consider that item completed!

In the end, I would rather add to and gather about me new things, ideas, skills, and knowledge rather than strike out items as all over and completed as I traverse this life.

How about you? Bucket List or When I Grow Up List?

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